The General Fund
All gifts that are designated to the General Endowment Fund are deposited fully into this Fund. As described above, gifts that are undesignated or designate “the church” as beneficiary are allocated 50% to the Endowment Fund and 50% to the Church's General Endowment Fund. If such an undesignated gift exceeds five percent of the current annual budgeted Church expenses, the voting members of the Church determine the allocation of the 50% that is not directly deposited into the General Endowment Fund. Current policy allows 5% of the General Endowment Fund to support the general budget each year. This comes out of accumulated earnings rather than the original investment (principal). The Church's constitution protects the principal of the Church's General Endowment Fund against expenditure. Only under the most pressing of circumstances with a clear determination that no reasonable alternative is available, may the Church, by a two thirds vote of its membership, spend any principal.
The Social Justice Fund
The Social Justice Endowment Fund was created specifically for sponsoring social justice activities at First Church. The largest portion of this fund is invested in the UUA Common Endowment Fund and the rest is invested in Community Based Investments (CBI). Earnings of the UUA portion support special programs and new social justice programs not currently funded by the general Social Justice Ministerial Team budget. Investment policies are determined jointly by the Planned Giving Committee, the Social Justice Ministerial Team Leaders and the Director of Operations. This fund has been used to support the hiring of a part-time Social Justice Ministry Team Coordinator and start new programs that support the mission of our congregation.
The Social Justice Endowment Fund helps us create community by organizing and staffing monthly service projects, supports social justice fellowship, and the weekly social justice table on the patio. We nurture spiritual growth through social justice leadership training, including in the areas of social justice and spirituality, monthly “Telling Our Stories: A Spiritual Exploration of Diversity Group.” And lastly, this particular endowment helps us act on our values to help heal the world. In 2010, through sponsored monthly service projects, 242 different people engaged in social justice programs and actions through the church, providing 890 hours of community service.
Helen Meyers Fund
Helen was a member of First Church from 1952 to 1955 and then again from 1974 until her death in 1984. Helen’s generous bequest established this fund for the purpose of providing lectures and sermons by outstanding Unitarian Ministers and lay people from all over the country. Through the Helen Meyers Fund, First Church has had the pleasure of hosting dozens of notable Unitarian Universalist thinkers, activists and spiritual leaders over the years. Speakers are chosen by the Helen Meyers Committee and this fund is open for additional donations. Some of the speakers brought to us through the Helen Meyers Forum has sponsored are:
- Margot Adler, NPR senior correspondent and author of Drawing Down the Moon, one of the seminal books in the history of the neo pagan movement.
- Rev. Mark Morrison-Reed was raised Unitarian Universalist and became a UU minister in 1979. His book In Between: Memoir of an Integration Baby is a frank personal account of growing up black during the era of the Civil Rights movement.
- Rev James Ishmael Ford, American Zen Buddhist priest and Unitarian Universalist minister. Author of This Very Moment: A Brief Introduction to Buddhism and Zen for Unitarian Universalists.
- Rev. Michael Dowd & Connie Barlow have been called “America’s evolutionary evangelists.” Their ministry touches on the science of evolution, God and deep spiritual meaning of the Cosmos. Their work has been featured in the UU World, The New York Times, LA Times, Washington Post, and Discover Magazine.
- Rev. Sandor Mathe, senior minister from our Unitarian sister congregation in Brassó, Romania.