Board Report, January 2016
The Board continues to practice the promises we have made to one another and to Unitarian Universalism. As we become a more diverse team we are taking time to question our assumptions. We are striving to be courageous and direct as we live into our commitment to embody and help to build the Beloved Community. We are learning to lean into our discomfort, to confront one another honestly and to acknowledge how much we have yet to learn.
- We strengthened our practice of process observation by pausing more often to reflect on our own biases and on the need for inclusion and empowerment.
- We received a report from the Journey Toward Wholeness Transformation Committee outlining their efforts to evaluate and support Unitarian Universalist efforts in support of Black Lives Matter, and began to consider how the Board can best fulfill the promises we’ve made to be reliable partners in the work.
- Welcomed an initial report from our Re-Envisioning Covenant Task Force, challenging us to consider changes in our understanding of membership and in how we meet and make decisions in the interest of focusing our efforts toward ministry and mission.
Stewardship is central to the Board’s concerns. At this meeting we deepened our understanding of the challenges of developing and managing the resources of the Association.
- We received a progress report on the Annual Program Fund and on a Task Force that has been convened to consider how best to strengthen our core fund-raising efforts.
- Agreed to contact congregations to encourage them to be more generous with the UUA.
- Established a Board restricted “Innovation Fund” that sets aside unrestricted bequests to provide the administration funds for new and creative initiatives.
- Helped assure the maintenance of 24 Farnsworth by setting aside the cash needed to fund depreciation on the building.
- Reduced the draw on the UUA Endowment in order to preserve the fund.
- Received a report from the Audit Committee on their Enterprise Risk Management strategy that helps us mitigate the danger of unforeseen threats.
- Welcomed an overview of UUA staff compensation showing that our lowest paid workers are paid above market with a $15 an hour minimum wage and generous benefits and that our highest paid workers are paid fairly but below market with equally generous benefits reflecting Unitarian Universalisms commitment to economic justice.
- Encouraged the administration to work to shape the development of Boston’s Innovation District in which our headquarters building is now located in just and balanced ways that include low-income housing.
Though governance is the overarching duty of the Board it includes specific tasks. At the January meeting we:
- Reviewed the framework established for the upcoming election for UUA President, welcomed the Reverends Sue Phillips and Alison Miller, the candidates nominated by the Presidential Search Committee, and began to consider how we might align the depth of consideration inherent in the campaigns for President with the need to reconsider and refresh the ends of the Association.
- Initiated the creation of a Moderator Search Committee by charging the Appointments Committee to begin to assemble the team and by specifying the attributes needed.
- Fulfilled the requirements of Section 3 of our policies by reflecting formally on Board performance and determining areas for improvement.
With deep appreciation and regret we received the resignation of Vice Moderator, Susan Weaver, and enthusiastically expressed our appreciation for her excellent work in behalf our Unitarian Universalism.
The Rev. Terasa Cooley, UUA Program and Strategy Officer, who is stepping down after many years of dedicated service, offered her reflections and hopes to the Board and received a standing ovation for her vision and her ministry among us.