UUA Revises FY15 Budget
My fellow Unitarian Universalist,
You may recall that in June of this year, just prior to the start of our General Assembly, the UUA’s Leadership Council was informed of a significant shortfall in the projected income for fiscal year 2014 (FY14 ended June 30th). This shortfall in income would also affect our projected income for FY15. I immediately informed the UUA’s Board of Trustees about this situation, and together we agreed that the Administration would submit a revised FY15 budget by August 1st. We did so, and I am pleased to inform you that the Board of Trustees unanimously voted to approve that revised FY15 budget at their meeting on Aug. 7th. I would now like to share with you information on how the Administration addressed this budget challenge.
UUA leadership considered many options in order to trim $1.3 million in expenses from the FY15 budget. Through budget reductions and slight increases in projected income, $900,000 of the overall deficit was addressed. UUA leadership asked the board to bridge the gap with $400,000 from our endowment that will eventually be repaid. This request of the board allowed us to take the long view in our budget deliberations and to avoid draconian cuts that would inevitably harm the excellent work, the innovation, and the momentum that now characterizes the work of the Association.
Some of the adjustments for the FY2015 budget include:
- The vacancies left by the retirements of Stefan Jonasson, Director of Growth Strategies and Large Congregation Support, and Wayne Clark, Director of Congregational Stewardship, will not be filled.
- Four full-time positions were reduced to part-time positions with benefits including Program Associate for Ministry to Youth & Young Adults of Color; Religious Education & Music Professional Development Associate; Raiser's Edge Administrator; and InterConnections Editor and Contributing Editor for UUWorld.
- The Administration is asking the General Assembly Planning Committee to provide a $50,000 subsidy for UUA staff travel to GA to offset a small portion of the costs which in years past have come from UUA staff budgets.
- The UUA board will make $50,000 in cuts to governance expenses, including reducing the number of in-person meetings for boards and committees in favor of videoconferencing and other technologies.
- UUA Bookstore revenue projections have been increased by $20,000, and the UUA is engaging a merchandising consultant to help improve sales.
- Travel budgets will be reduced, and a new policy is being developed to standardize subsidies for home internet and cell phone costs.
Please be assured that the core functions of the UUA will continue to be fulfilled through the reallocation of some staff responsibilities in the months ahead. Providing stewardship resources for congregations remains a top priority, as does our commitment to faith development professionals, congregational leaders, and youth and young adults of color. InterConnections, while ending as an ongoing publication, will be available through its archives. And Raiser’s Edge, as our main database, will continue to be supported.
These decisions were difficult to make, especially since they required us to consider staffing levels as one option for budget cuts. I hold strongly to the conviction that our people make up the best staff the UUA has ever had. While I am pleased that we avoided implementing any layoffs, I regret that we had to make the staffing changes described above. Doing so, however, was a necessary step in creating a budget that is achievable and sustainable for FY15 and beyond.
Our work is only made possible through the generosity of Unitarian Universalists everywhere. We are grateful to all donors, including our generous congregations, for continuing to support the work of the UUA. I speak on behalf of the entire UUA staff when I tell you that your UUA staff remains committed to putting our values into action each and every day.
The Rev. Peter Morales