Urantia Foundation Annual Report December 2002
During the early 1920's, we have indications that revelatory concepts were being transferred to a group of individuals in Chicago. By 1942 a book had begun to be set in metal type and was in the process of being revised and checked. The early 1950's was a time of great hope for the future of mankind. World War II was over, and the devoted group of Forum members, those who had been studying and shepherding these teachings into being, were busy establishing Urantia Foundation in 1950 and raising funds for the first printing of The Urantia Book in 1955.
Today finds us no less filled with hope and anticipation of great activities to come surrounding the fifth epochal revelation to our planet. The years 2001 and 2002 were times of growth for Urantia Foundation, while also being years of great upset for much of the world. As Urantia Foundation went about its business preparing new translations, printing more books, and moving towards a solidified worldwide network of business and fraternal activities, stock markets plummeted, the twin towers crashed, ideologies clashed, and the world was put on notice of its fragile state.
In spite of the world's ills, Urantia Foundation has continued its programs in accord with its own Declaration of Trust. With a significant downturn in national charitable giving, Urantia Foundation has had to reassess its priorities and may have to cut into its programs for the next few years.
We will continue the wise stewardship of the Declaration of Trust and fulfill fiduciary responsibilities to those who give to Urantia Foundation. We want you to know that we are doing our best to face the conditions as we find them. We are making proper adjustments. Our administration costs have not gone up for two years, nor will they in 2003. Our spirits are high as we look forward to another productive year. After all, we are laying the groundwork upon which a great house will be built. We students of the Urantia teachings are all carpenters building the structure that shall eventually change our backward planet.
In this year-end report we are giving you an overview of our activities so that you may count the cost of what it is we are doing. We are attempting to achieve an even higher degree of accountability to our community. We hope this report stirs your imagination as we reach out to ask for your active participation in this great work. If this is indeed the fifth epochal revelation, what could be greater?
In this report we will cover the major areas of the work of Urantia Foundation: 1) Translations, 2) Publishing and Distribution, 3) Outreach, and 4) Protection. When we were given the Declaration of Trust we were sworn with the solemn responsibility to disseminate and to protect the integrity of this revelation, and we are doing our best to do so.
To date Urantia Foundation has published translations in Dutch, Finnish, Russian, French, Korean, and Spanish.
Books are not the only published text to be translated. There is also a group of unsung heroes who translate the Urantian News, study aids, IUA Journal, and other Urantia Foundation communications and written information for our representatives.
Intensive efforts continue in order to make The Urantia Book available to the many peoples of our world. The 2003 translation budget is $215,000, which includes a salary for the Translation Manager. Current translation projects include:
Chinese: The team has submitted almost eighty papers to date, translated using both classical and simplified notation.
Portuguese: The chief translator's work is very close to being finished, but the final edit will not be completed for another two years.
Swedish: This translation is finished and a CDROM with the Swedish translation, along with Finnish and English texts, will be published in 2003 for reader comments and suggestions for improvements.
Italian: Refinement and final editing of the Italian rendering is progressing well.
Lithuanian: The text is finished, but undergoing one last review. It may be published in 2003.
Estonian: Editing continues in anticipation of publishing in 2004.
Romanian: Refinement and editing of the second draft should be finished in the new year. Publishing of this edition should be in 2003.
Others: The German, Greek, Polish, Indonesian, Bulgarian, Japanese, Farsi, Arabic and Norwegian translations are all in the beginning or intermediate stages.
PUBLISHING AND DISTRIBUTION
I. PRINTING AND PRODUCTION
We have completed 6 printings of The Urantia Book and its translations in the past two years totaling 78,599 books— 31,714 English books (paperback, hard cover, gift leather, and the reproduction of the 1955 "Classic"); 41,453 Spanish (hard cover and paperback); and 5,432 Russian (hard cover). We also upgraded and produced 100 audio cassette sets and 1,000 searchable CDs for the PC. In addition, the staff also produced 4 issues of Urantian News in 5 languages, 9 issues of Newsflash!, and designed new gift items.
II. BOOK FAIRS
Urantia Foundation has attended scores of book fairs throughout the years. Some are no longer necessary to attend in regions where we have achieved our goal of securing reliable distribution channels, but we continue to attend others for publishing, distribution, and outreach reasons. We participate together with office volunteers, representatives, and members of International Urantia Association.*
*Book Fairs attended: The American Public Library Association Phoenix, AZ, USA; Book Expo America 2002 New York, NY, USA; BookExpo America 2001 Chicago, IL, USA; Guadalajara International Book Fair 2001 Guadalajara, México; London International Book Fair London, England; Frankfurt International Book Fair 2002 Frankfurt, Germany; New Delhi International Book Fair New Delhi, India; Expo Ser México City, México; Buenos Aires International Book Fair Buenos Aires, Argentina; Bogotá Book Fair Bogotá, Colombia; International Book Fair 2002 Paraguay Asunción, Paraguay; International Book Fair 2002 Bolivia La Paz, Bolivia; FIRABarcelona 2002 Barcelona, Spain; Ingram Fall Publishers Showcase 2001 Nashville, TN, USA; Miami International Book Fair Miami, FL, USA; National Book Fair 2001 Helsinki, Finland; International Book Fair 2002 Turku, Finland; Spiritual Book Fair 2002 Stockholm, Sweden; Numerous local book fairs and expos throughout the United States; Numerous local book expos throughout Québec and French-Speaking Canada
III. BOOK SALES
Total sales of The Urantia Book have fluctuated, perhaps due to conditions in the developing world which could impact sales of translations. Nearly 40,000 books were sold in 2000, while sales dropped to 26,319 books in 2001. In 2002, however, we are already ahead of last year's sales with our best sales typically coming in November and December, which were unrecorded at the time of writing this report.†
†Note: Separate unauthorized printings of papers 121-196 and of the total Urantia Book are currently being marketed by other organizations. This may have an influence on our final numbers.
IV. PPFI - PERPETUAL PRINTING FUND INTERNATIONAL
Beginning long before the book was initially printed, dedicated and farsighted individuals have contributed toward the printing of The Urantia Book . The Trustees have recently expanded the perpetual printing fund to extend to perpetural printing of translations as well as the English text. Donations to this fund will ensure that the book remains in print in many languages. These funds will be used to print books as needed, and then once books are sold and funds are collected, the fund is replenished at 110% of the books' cost in order to ensure adequate funding for the next printing.
Urantia Foundation advertises in major book distributor catalogs and flyers worldwide. We encourage readers to advertise their study groups and to attend local book fairs and participate in events at local colleges, universities, and libraries. We still believe person to person introduction of the book is most effective, but we also believe that anyone should be able to find the book in libraries and bookstores.
Urantia Foundation recently began distributing El libro de Urantia through Random House-Mondadori's Mexico-based, Spanish-language website. Random House is prominently displaying the book on its home page at http://www.randomhousemondadori.com.mx. This is the first major Spanish-language book website to carry El libro de Urantia, breaking the language barrier that has prevented many readers from ordering the book from websites that sell Spanish books but only process orders in English.
VI. OTHER SALES
Products bearing Urantia Foundation's trademarks have been popular and consistent in sales even though they are only sold on our website and at conferences. The use of these products not only creates a sense of the personal importance of these symbols but may also engender curiosity on the part of a friend, creating an opportunity to talk about The Urantia Book . Some of these products include designed gift items such as sweatshirts, cups, and hats, all of which bear the trademarks. Income from the sale of these items helps support the work of Urantia Foundation and allows us to keep book prices low. Visit our website for additional, holiday gift selections.
VII. GIFT BOOK PROGRAMS
A. LIBRARY PLACEMENT
Due to our library placement program, The Urantia Book is available to growing numbers of people throughout the world. From India to Indonesia, we have received many contacts from those who have discovered the book at their local library.
Over the past fifty-three years, Urantia Foundation has given thousands of books to libraries as part of its mission to make The Urantia Book widely available. The Foundation incurs substantial expenses for the Library Placement Program, not only in direct product costs but also in staff time and shipping costs processing individual library orders. As the amount of activity grows, the Trustees feel it is imperative to streamline the process and to work in partnership with readers involved in this area of service.
We announced our new Library Placement Policy in the Fall 2002 Urantian News. Under the new program, individuals may now purchase cartons of books at a discount price to place in libraries. For the first time, readers will be able to choose between personally placing books in libraries or using the original procedure where Urantia Foundation sends them to the libraries. Our goal is to have all gift books financed by donations so that we can further concentrate on the many additional programs needed to reach out to the world.
We have previously reported on dissemination of The Urantia Book in India by a Foundation Representative who has placed over 3,000 books in libraries throughout India and hundreds more in other Asian countries. We have also reported on our attendance at several Indian book fairs where we have begun to reach out to this democracy of over one billion inhabitants, the second most populous country in the world, where English is one of two official languages among the multitude of spoken dialects.
Our efforts in India have generated considerable interest in The Urantia Book and now we are being presented with an unprecedented opportunity. We have reached an agreement with a 300-year-old, non-profit ecumenical society, which is one of the leading publishers of Christian material in India, to print and distribute a special edition of The Urantia Book in India. The Urantia Book will be distributed in Christian and secular bookstores throughout India at a subsidized price of 100 Rupees ($2.00). We will also give away 6,000 copies each year to theological students graduating from Christian seminaries throughout India as part of their personal reference library as they begin their ministry to the people of India. What an impact this could have! We have embraced this opportunity knowing the potential effect these programs could have in uplifting our world.
When the Russian translation was first printed in 1997 there were very few readers, and we had difficulty importing the book to Russia. We attended several book fairs before we were finally able to sell a number of books, only to lose all of the rubles in the banking crash of 1998. Since then we have opened an office in St. Petersburg and sales have increased. For the book to be affordable, we must heavily discount the price. It is often difficult to get paid, and even more difficult to get the proceeds out of Russia. Therefore, our Russian book continues to be heavily subsidized by donations. We thank those of you who have stepped forward to assist in this important task.
I. INTERNATIONAL URANTIA ASSOCIATION
IUA now has 8 National Associations, 3 of which have subsidiary local associations, totaling 31 Locals and 4 Pre-National Local Associations. The newest associations are in Mexico, Alaska, and Barranquilla, Colombia. The voting members now total 1300, with an additional 75 Associate Members or "Friends of IUA."
The revised IUA Charter was completed in November and submitted for review to the Council of National Presidents and Vice-Presidents. The effective date for its installation is January 1, 2003, with a ratification date set for January 1, 2005.
The 2002 International Urantia Conference was held August 3-7 in Dourdan, France. Other Urantia conferences held during 2002 were: Finland - January and June; Northern Light (Canada) - August; Estonia - August; Spain - October; Australia/New Zealand - October; Virginia-Carolina Readers October; Southern Cone - November.
The 2003 US Urantia Conference will be held June 19-22, 2003 in Nashville, TN. The next International Urantia Conference is scheduled for Chicago in Summer 2004.
A. URANTIAN NEWS
Urantian News continues to be published twice a year in five languages and distributed to Urantia Foundation's entire mailing list. This newsletter is designed to report on the major news and events concerning Urantia Foundation and to let readers know of new products.
Newsflash! is published several times each year and is mailed to the key supporters of Urantia Foundation's programs. It is a no frills publication and is designed to keep supporters regularly informed and to give an in-depth account of news and events. Having more timely information about Urantia Foundation's programs and activities allows these recipients to disseminate news to others whom they feel may be particularly interested. Donations for both these publications are welcome.
A. STUDY GROUPS
The Reader Services Department of Urantia Foundation regularly assists individuals interested in participating in existing study groups or forming new ones by providing information and referrals.
B. ELECTRONIC STUDY GROUPS
Urantia Foundation provides email discussion lists in several languages that are designed to enhance comprehension of the teachings of The Urantia Book . These "electronic study groups" facilitate communication among readers around the world.
C. URANTIA BOOK INTERNET SCHOOL
UBIS now conducts three terms each year of Internet-based classes conducted in English, Finnish, French, and Spanish. Course work is submitted by email, thus freeing participants of limitations of varied time zones and diverse locations. Through the use of teaching questions, students and facilitators learn from one another through their shared experience of the teachings. Course offerings for the next semester will be posted in December at www.urantia.org/ubis.
D. OTHER EDUCATIONAL ACTIVITIES
Urantia Foundation provided books, information brochures, and other materials to various readers and representatives around the world who conducted various introductory seminars, interviews, presentations, and workshops.
IV. YOUTH SERVICES
Urantia Foundation encouraged the involvement of young readers by providing them with a meeting place and accommodation for their meeting held in Chicago in July. Urantia Foundation also gives scholarships for youngsters who want to attend conferences and cannot afford this expense. Grants are also given to groups who have programs addressing children's needs.
V. WORLDWIDE BRANCH OFFICES AND REPRESENTATIVES
Urantia Foundation's Volunteer Branch Office Managers and Representatives do everything from answering reader-service correspondence to placing books in libraries. They organize study groups and reader associations, provide information, create informational websites, provide introductory sessions on The Urantia Book , attend book fairs, and help to make contact with bookstores and distributors. Some are translators; some are travelers. All are volunteers. We are proud of each and every one.
Head office staff enjoyed an opportunity to meet in person with many of the Branch Office Managers and Representatives in the days before and after the 2002 International Urantia Conference in France. Most of our day-to-day work is carried on through the Internet, and it is important to have these periodic opportunities to come together face-to-face to discuss reader services, distribution, and other matters of mutual interest.
Foundation representatives are now active in Argentina, Belgium, Bolivia, Brazil, Bulgaria, Colombia, Ecuador, Estonia, Greece, Indonesia, Lithuania, Mexico, Norway, Peru, Senegal, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Uruguay, and Venezuela.
B. BRANCH OFFICES
In addition to providing services as Foundation Representatives, the volunteers who staff Urantia Foundation's branch offices provide the essential supply points for The Urantia Book to distributors and bookstores and make it possible for the book trade to deal with local suppliers.
Australia. The oldest of the branch offices, the Australian office continues their dedicated work of distribution and responding to reader inquiries in Australia, New Zealand, and the Australasian region. Established distributors in both Australia and New Zealand carry The Urantia Book and sales are steady. As the nearest office to Southeast Asia, it has been called upon to assist with efforts to introduce The Urantia Book in India, Hong Kong, South Korea, and Singapore.
Canada. The two offices established in Canada in 1998 for English- and French-speaking Canadians have developed close working relationships with local readers and with distributors. Throughout the province of Québec, the local office and the Association Urantia du Québec work cooperatively on several local book fairs, special events, and lectures each year to introduce people to The Urantia Book . The Urantia Association of the Cascades and the Northern Lights Urantia Association have been helping to fund gift books provided through the Vancouver office. Urantia Foundation has a long-term relationship with a distributor for Le Livre d'Urantia in Québec, and the Vancouver office has established a relationship with a distributor to serve English-speaking Canada.
Finland. This year new managers in Finland continued the excellent tradition of service that has been provided on behalf of Urantia Foundation since 1993. This office primarily serves Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden, Estonia, and Poland.
France. The Trustees have made the decision to reorganize the Paris office. This office was unique in that French law required substantial infusions of capital to be made each year if the organization did not earn a profit. Since income from the sale of products has never been sufficient to sustain the operation of Urantia Foundation, the decision was made to reorganize the office at the end of this year.
Russia. The office in St. Petersburg stays busy distributing books to bookstores and individuals, attending book fairs, working on informational material about The Urantia Book for display in magazines, libraries, etc., and preparing the Russian edition of Urantian News. Its sales have surpassed our expectations making the Russian book the second best selling translation.
United Kingdom. The UK office has created a new website which has increased the number of reader service inquiries. It continues to participate in the annual London Book Fair, and various new marketing initiatives have begun. Support and encouragement has been given to a budding readership whose members have recently decided to begin the process of forming a Local Association of IUA.
VI. READER SERVICES
Dynamic is the best way to describe the surging interest in The Urantia Book . Both devoted students and newly excited readers are contacting Urantia Foundation in growing numbers. Our Reader Services Department is responding to record levels of inquiries, educating readers about the text and its history, the past, present, and future role of Urantia Foundation, and providing referral services so that readers can connect with each other to form or attend study groups, social events, and conferences.
In 2002 we continued to enhance our service of the Spanish-speaking world in both reader services and distribution. A series of coordinated efforts by Foundation staff, representatives, and various reader groups took place in various countries in Latin America and Spain which made it possible for more people to benefit from our programs, including Library, Prison, and Gift Book Placement; Study Group Formation; and Outreach. This year Urantia Foundation participated in "Expo-Ser," an international exposition on topics related to body, mind, and spirit that attracted approximately 15,000 people from various countries. Great results in terms of book sales and outreach were achieved, and Urantia Foundation Trustees were invited to deliver keynote speeches.
The Internet is increasingly being used by people around the world as their first source of information on a given subject. Urantia Foundation websites provide information in English, Spanish, French, Dutch, Korean, Russian, Bulgarian, and Indonesian. Most of the people who visit our sites are just finding out about The Urantia Book . The most frequently visited pages on our main website are "About The Urantia Book " and the text of the Book itself, especially the first five papers, the Adam and Eve papers, the Lucifer Rebellion papers, and the first of the Jesus Papers.
There are now over one million hits per month. We receive most of our Reader Service inquiries from the website, with daily inquiries from new readers worldwide who have found the book on the Internet. We get nearly as many browsers to the Spanish pages as to the English pages.
The question most often asked is: "Who wrote it, how was it written down?" The most common comment: "This has changed my life, thank you for the work you are doing."
THE MATTHEW PROJECT
The Fall 2002 Urantian News provided information about the work of the Matthew Project and the individuals who are participating in this work. For more than four years this group has been quietly developing a comprehensive campaign to ensure Urantia Foundation is able to continue to fulfill its mission. Like the apostle Matthew who was given the task of securing the funds to finance the work of Jesus and the apostles, the Matthew Project is committed to developing the resources needed to support the mission entrusted to Urantia Foundation for the fifth epochal revelation. Over the past few years this team has been working quietly and steadily toward that goal. This is the largest fund development program ever undertaken by Urantia Foundation.
Those assisting with the Matthew Project meet at least twice a year. At a fruitful meeting this past October, members decided to extend their invitation of involvement with this important project to a larger circle of supporters.
We have been giving periodic updates in Urantian News and Newsflash! on the two legal challenges involving Urantia Foundation—the copyright infringement case concerning an unauthorized printing of most of Part IV of The Urantia Book and the case contesting the removal of Trustee Kwan Choi.
Both cases are still ongoing but we are hoping for a positive resolution in the near future. Any day now we expect a decision from the appellate court concerning the copyright, and removal procedures are again underway.
FINANCE YEAR END FINANCIAL REPORTING
Financial issues are paramount to the well-being of any organization. Urantia Foundation is looking at its own finances very closely as it proceeds with its work. Urantia Foundation receives over 90% of its funding from donations. All books sold are subsidized.
Urantia Foundation continues to depend on contributions to provide much needed support for the programs we provide to readers worldwide. Each year we anticipate the needs of our programs and readers by preparing an annual budget, evaluating what has occurred in previous years. This year is no exception, and we would like to give you further insight into our current situation.
Both the Foundation’s Treasurer and its Finance Manager are Certified Public Accountants. Urantia Foundation’s financial management has been subjected to audits every year since its inception by independent, certified public accounting firms. Earlier this year Urantia Foundation underwent a full Compliance Audit by the Internal Revenue Service. Compliance Audits are the most thorough audits conducted by the IRS on non-profit organizations. Urantia Foundation passed the IRS’s toughest audit for the years 1998, 1999, and 2000. Urantia Foundation's 1999 and 2000 audited financial statements are available upon request. The 2001 audit will be available in the first quarter of 2003.
2001—For the year ending December 31, 2001, Urantia Foundation received revenue from contributions and book sales of just over $1.8 Million. Funds were expended for various programs, including book sales, translations, and outreach programs. During 2001, the Russian translation of The Urantia Book was printed along with English and Spanish editions at a cost of over $350,000. The Translation Program funded work on eleven different languages during 2001 at a cost of over $200,000. The Outreach Program funded $50,000 for the IUA and its various activities, as well as funding the printing and mailing of newsletters, assisting youth groups, and supporting offices and representatives throughout the world. Total Outreach Program expenses in 2001 were slightly under $250,000. In addition, books were placed in libraries and given away under the Gift Book Program in 2001 at an expense of $46,000, and approximately $97,000 was spent to maintain the building at 533 Diversey Parkway in Chicago where Urantia Foundation maintains its headquarters.
2002—For the 2002 year we anticipate revenue of approximately $1.3 Million from contributions and book sales. Funds continue to be expended on a program basis. During 2002 the Classic Book was printed along with English and Spanish editions. Over $210,000 will be spent on printing alone during 2002. Ten different translations are in progress at a cost of approximately $225,000 for the year. The Outreach Program continued to fund the IUA and its activities at approximately the same level—$50,000. Urantian News and Newsflash! continue to be printed and mailed. Funding of approximately $56,000 went to support offices and representatives worldwide and youth activities. During 2002, expenses relating to the distribution of gift books amounted to just over $35,000, and the building was maintained at a cost of approximately $80,000.
2003—For the coming year, the trustees have passed a very lean budget. We anticipate approximately $1.7 million as total revenue from contributions, investments, and book sales. We anticipate needing just over $150,000 in our Book Sales Program to cover costs associated with marketing, book fairs, shipping and freight, storage, and other costs associated with book sales. We anticipate printing expenditures of approximately $140,000 for the Russian and English books and on-demand printings and/or CDROMs for other translations. The Translation Program will need at least $150,000 to fund continuing work on the Chinese, Japanese, Spanish, Farsi, and other translations. The Outreach Program will continue to fund the IUA for $20,000; to pay for the printing and postage for Newsflash! and Urantian News; and to support offices and representatives and youth programs worldwide. Outreach Program expenses for 2003 are anticipated to be over $200,000. Gift books will continue to be distributed under the Gift Books Program at an anticipated cost of just over $45,000. The building will continue to need maintenance and repair at an expected cost of $85,000.
In spite of plummeting stock markets, Urantia Foundation has not been as severely affected as the rest of the market. It has taken a prudent approach to its own endowment funds with the help of Northern Trust Bank. In 2002, its endowment fund is actually up by 2.1% as of the third quarter. The other investment portfolio of Urantia Foundation consists of commodities funds, which were restricted to a commodities portfolio by the donor. It is up by 8.3% as of the third quarter of 2002.
As you can see we are doing our best to adjust to the conditions in which we find ourselves, and we believe that we are providing proper stewardship. Your continued support is invaluable and greatly appreciated.
In all of our continual efforts to improve our administrative services, we are inspired by the teaching of The Urantia Book :
“As you ascend Paradiseward, you will increasingly learn that many problematic features of universe administration can only be comprehended subsequent to the acquirement of increased experiential capacity and to the achievement of enhanced spiritual insight. Cosmic wisdom is essential to the understanding of cosmic situations.” (620:2)
“If you have good ideas, if your minds are fertile with better methods of administration for any part of the universal domains, you are certainly going to have an opportunity to present them to your associates and fellow administrators in the ages to come” (734:4)
When we survey the plight of our planet today we realize that we have a long road to travel before this world will enter into the era of Light and Life. However, we know that "evolution may be slow, but it is unerringly effective." (957:2) When we examine what we now have to work with, it seems clear that the creation of a non-profit, charitable trust devoted to keeping the text inviolate and pledged to disseminating the teachings was excellent foresight.
Is it working? In spite of all of the hurdles along the path, yes, we believe it is. After fifty-two years, we are not only still a healthy organization, but we are growing stronger despite a very difficult environment.
Readers sometimes assume that Urantia Foundation is a large, wealthy organization. Nothing could be further from the truth. It is a small foundation which exists only through the generosity of readers. Only its mission is large. Most cities have numerous local charities that are far better financially endowed than Urantia Foundation, yet we work steadfastly to promote the raising of consciousness of cosmology, philosophy, and religion throughout the world.
No one promised that this work would be easy, and many stout hearts have fallen by the wayside. None of us are perfect, nor is any institution. "By their fruits you shall know them," and we hope the accomplishments of Urantia Foundation over the past few years speak for themselves.
We are grateful for all of you who have loyally and steadfastly supported our programs and welcome those of you who join us in giving to what we believe is the primary force available to transform our planet. Thank you in advance for your support. We pray your holiday season is joyous.
The Trustees of Urantia Foundation:
K. Richard Keeler
E. Kwan Choi
F. Gard Jameson
Branch Office Managers:
The Staff of Urantia Foundation:
Víctor García Bory
Audio Urantia Book
Board Meeting Decisions
Urantia Foundation History