May 2022 Board Meeting Highlights

May 2022 Board Meeting Highlights

The Board met on Tuesday, May 10, and the overarching theme of the readings and spiritual practice was compassion, based in the beauty and pain of our shared humanity.

Pledge Drive and Budget Update

Central to the meeting, Valerie Hsu, Executive Director, presented an update on the Pledge Drive and the proposed 2022-23 budget. Please note that what follows is as of the May 10th Board meeting and does not reflect current pledge numbers, which have increased (thank you to those who have pledged!). For current information, please see this recent post.

As of May 10th, the pledge drive had raised $604,347 with 210 households making a pledge. Based on that pledge drive update, estimated pledge contributions for next year’s budget are at $610,000, which is lower than the $650,000 needed to fund the maintenance budget that Valerie presented at the April Board of Trustees meeting. The reduced pledge level requires many reductions for next year’s budget. Personnel expenses are budgeted at 89% of the current year’s budget (this includes sabbatical contingency), and many office/communication expenses are reduced.

As of the May 10th Board meeting, the 2022-23 proposed budget included a four-week furlough for all staff, reduced funding across all ministry areas, including social action programs and staff development, and provided a minimal funding contribution for UUA (9% of our fair share contribution to the UUA Annual Program Fund).

Possible offsets to these reductions are additional pledges that may still come in before the Annual Meeting as well as revenues from the federal Employee Retention Credit (ERC) program, which UUCC could possibly receive later this year.

Valerie presented three options/priorities for the Board to consider if additional revenue becomes available:

  1. Reduce or eliminate staff furloughs;
  2. Reduce reliance on the Operating Reserve fund; or
  3. Hire a Director of Youth & Young Adult Ministry to support our ministry programming and restore funding across ministry areas.

The Board unanimously voted to endorse the proposed budget for presentation at the Congregational Annual Meeting, amend the budgeted Miscellaneous Other Income amount to reflect the Employee Retention Credit recently received, and establish the following priority rankings for any additional revenues:

  • First priority is reducing, hopefully eliminating, staff furloughs;
  • Second priority is reducing reliance on the Operating Reserve fund.

Current pledge amounts show that we are very close to eliminating the need to furlough any staff — thank you again to those who pledged for the next fiscal year! For those who are still thinking about it, there is still time to give meaningfully to support our shared community! You are welcome to pledge online here if you’ve not yet done so.

Board Monitoring of Ends

One of the primary duties of the Board is to regularly review the performance of the Executive Team, which consists of a review of the accomplishments in achieving the Congregational Ends. To have this discussion, the Executive Team completed an Ends Report for the April Board meeting. For a summary of last month’s discussion as well as a link to the report, please see our April Blog.

The Board is truly grateful to the Executive Team, staff, and volunteers who participated in an extensive and thorough process to gather information and feedback for this report. We appreciate the thoughtful and collaborative approach taken by the Executive Team in identifying key themes, collecting the ways and programs this congregation works to achieve our Ends, and identifying future opportunities.

Though we have continued to grapple with internal conflict and the effects of a global pandemic, both of which have required significant efforts and attention, the Board sees progress towards all Ends by the Executive Team, UUCC staff, and the congregation. The following programs were ones in the report that were especially meaningful to Board members and were highlighted in our discussion: our amazing hybrid worship services; our religious education program; how welcoming the congregation feels to many newcomers; the growing young adult community that Valerie built during the pandemic in her role as Director of Youth and Young Adult Ministry; and the social action opportunities available (including work supporting people experiencing poverty and climate justice).

The Board also considered which Ends offer UUCC areas of opportunity or untapped potential. Interestingly, Board members specifically brought up many of the areas that we had already felt were strengths. Some places where UUCC may benefit from additional focus included: additional social events and connection opportunities; finding ways to grow who and how we welcome; building a culture at UUCC that is relational; and growing the RE program.

In reviewing the contents of the report, it is hard not to be proud of the work of this congregation. Thank you again to every person who is in some way connected to UUCC. Your presence alone helps us to be a congregation that can strive to achieve the Ends we have set out as our goals. Much gratitude goes out to our hardworking, creative UUCC staff (Hannah, Kelli, Robin, Michael, and Sara) who drive so many of our programs and efforts to success. And finally, a special note of appreciation to Paige and Valerie for their leadership at UUCC and in the greater community. This Ends Report is a testament to what is possible in serving our congregation even in times of crisis.

2021-22 Board Accomplishments

In addition to considering the ways our congregation is meeting our goals as a religious community, the Board also spent some time evaluating its own work. We discussed Board accomplishments we are especially proud of. Highlights include: ordaining two ministers, providing a monthly update on Board activities through blog posts, reviewing and updating Board policies, hiring a new Executive Director, endorsing legislation and initiatives aligned with our UU values, creating a Board covenant, developing three Open Questions and using them to engage the congregation in future-oriented conversations, creating three ad hoc committees to begin to fulfill the recommendations issued by last year’s Trust and Reconciliation Committee, fulfilling our financial pledge to the Bauder Education Center, and updating the Board handbook and transitioning to SharePoint. Board members highlighted how thoughtful consideration, teamwork, and consistency has been key to many of the Board’s successes this year.

In terms of areas of potential for the Board, Board members cited a desire for more proactive outreach, especially to youth, and different ways to engage congregants, a better understanding of how to use the Board covenant, the need to develop a better Ends monitoring process, and having some pieces of the onboarding process standardized.

Covenant of Right Relations Committee (CRR)

The committee continues to update the CRR as more feedback comes in and will be releasing additional blog updates soon. The co-chairs met with the Group Relations Workshop (GRW) facilitators to determine how the CRR could be integrated into their work.

Open Questions

The Board reviewed and discussed the Open Question: “How will we create a culture of stewardship at UUCC?” Circle discussions were held with the congregation in March around this question.

Comments from the March discussions and from Board members focused on making pledging a year-round activity and making it more fun, doing more with social media, and overcoming the perceived stigma of asking for donations. The discussion concluded with reasons why people give; they don’t give for staff salaries or building upkeep, they are motivated to be generous because of a shared vision.

Once again, you can still pledge for the 2022-2023 fiscal year here.

Annual Meeting

Finally, we hope to see you at the Annual Meeting on Sunday, June 5th. The meeting will begin at 6:30pm and is preceded by a potluck at 5:30pm. The meeting will be multi-platform, so you are able to join either via Zoom or in person at OBIC. More details will be shared soon!

As always, if there’s anything you’d like to share with your Board of Trustees, you are always welcome to reach out — board@uucolumbia.net.

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