Urantia Foundation Annual Report 2006
From the President
Year 2006 will perhaps be best remembered for the positive developments in the healing process of the entire Urantia community. In the course of the year, the Board of Trustees met separately with the Presidents and other leaders of both the Fellowship and the UrantiaAssociation International for talks on matters of mutual interest. An equally important purpose of these meetings was that of conveying and explaining to the Presidents and their entourages the Foundation’s wish that peace and harmony obtain within the Urantia community. The two meetings explored several projects for potential cooperation. A spirit of mutual respect and organisational independence prevailed at both meetings.
Declaration of Trust Amended
The Trustees have felt for many years that both the Declaration of Trust Creating Urantia Foundation and the Bylaws of Urantia Foundation, drafted in the mid-twentieth century, were in need of some modernisation. All changes to the Declaration of Trust must be approved by the Attorney General of Illinois. The Trustees are pleased to report that a few modest changes were approved by the Attorney General in December and have been officially incorporated into the Declaration ofTrust. The Declaration of Trust, as amended, gives theTrustees the option to increase the number of Trustees to seven (effective immediately) and to nine after ten years, that is, after 2016. Provisions regarding the appointment and removal of Trustees and the status of a Trustee during the removal process have been clarified. Requirements concerning quorums, meeting notices and the dates of quarterly meetings have been updated. The status of committees has also been clarified. Urantia Foundation’sTrustees are confident that these amendments to the Declaration of Trust will do much to assure the smooth working of the Board and to strengthen the operations of the Foundation.
New Associates Appointed
In 2003 the Board of Trustees appointed the first Associate Trustees, who serve one-year terms, with a maximum of three consecutive terms. We thank two Associates, Jane Ploetz and Nancy Shaffer, who, at the end of 2006, concluded three years of faithful service. We also thank René Hagenaars, who resigned his position as an Associate Trustee in mid 2006. We are pleased to welcome four new Associate Trustees to our team: Ms. Irmeli Ivalo-Sjölie from Finland, Ms. Marilynn Kulieke from Chicago, Ms. Claire Mylanus from France, and Ms. Judy Van Cleave from Idaho.
In mid-2006 the Board of Trustees appointed Tamara Wood to the position of Sales Manager. Tamara also continues to serve as Office Manager. The Board welcomes Marcel Urayeneza, who became the Foundation’s in-house, full-time accountant at the end of the year.
In January of 2006 the international copyright in the English text of The Urantia Book, which Urantia Foundation had held since 1955, expired. The advent of the “post-copyright” era underscores the importance of the Foundation’s trademarks in the words “Urantia” and “Urantian” and in the Concentric-Circle Symbol as means of identifying the inviolate text of The Urantia Book. Urantia Foundation continues to hold copyrights in all of its published translations of The Urantia Book.
After reviewing the expanding presence internationally of Urantia Book reader associations, the Board decided to discontinue the Urantia Foundation Representative Programme. Some of the functions of the Representatives will be taken over by local reader associations. Many of the former Representatives continue to serve their local reader groups and to informally serve Urantia Foundation. The Board is deeply grateful to these admirable volunteers for their many years of dedicated service.
Financial and Administrative
Preliminary 2006 year-end financial results were encouraging. The gross income of Urantia Foundation from all sources (including donations, net income from book sales, and income from investments, rent, and royalties) was $836,000, and the Foundation’s expenses were $686,000. The surplus will be invested and used for printing books in the first half of 2007.
The number of donors to Urantia Foundation fell from an all-time high of 863 in 2005 to 688 in 2006. $662,000 was donated to Urantia Foundation in 2006 (including pledges and estates) compared to $670,000 in 2005. In 2006 a year-end matching-fund drive met its goal of $90,000. The Foundation did not hold any special fund-raising drives for translations or book printing in 2006. We will have a need for money to reprint Spanish books in 2007.
Urantia Foundation reinvests the net proceeds from sales of the English edition of the book, plus a factor to cover increasing expenses, into the Perpetual Printing Fund (the PPF). This fund ensures that the Foundation will always have sufficient funds to publish The Urantia Book in English. In 2006, $54,851 was reinvested in the PPF, bringing the total of this fund to $1,023,000. At this time the sales from translations generate little money, but as distribution and sales of translations improve, money from the Perpetual Printing Fund may also be used to finance the printing of translations.
The 2007 budget of Urantia Foundation reflects the same economizing philosophy that has worked for the past three years. We project a net income of $676,700 and annual expenses of $538,200. In 2007 we shall continue translation efforts; we shall continue expanding worldwide distribution, especially in North America where we sell the most books; and we shall continue exploring means of fostering increased educational services for current and potential readers. Urantia Foundation employs five full-time employees and relies on volunteers to accomplish a number of tasks. The Trustees and Associate Trustees serve without pay and defray all of their travel and other expenses.
In 2006 Urantia Foundation underwent outside audits of its 2004 and 2005 financial statements. These audits are available for public review by contacting the head office. We converted to a new accounting system in the last three months of 2006 and hired a full-time accountant, Marcel Urayeneza. He has specialized in audits for years and is doing an excellent job maintaining our financial records.
Distribution and Sales
2006 worldwide book sales totaled 13,380 copies compared to 17,738 in 2005 - a decrease of 25%. Contributing factors include a softening of book sales in the United States and no sales of the Spanish translation to Mexico due to large, unpaid bills by the Foundation’s exclusive distributor there. These bills have now been paid, and we anticipate much improved sales of the Spanish translation in Mexico and South America in 2007. The combined number of books sold for all other translations was 4,115 compared to 3,087 in 2005 - an increase of 35%. This increase is attributable to sales of the Russian and German translations.
This past summer an in-house survey of more than 300 major bookstores suggested that the English edition of The Urantia Book is available in 67% of bookstores in the United States. A major effort will be made in 2007 to increase this percentage. We shall also be concentrating on improved advertising to the book trade and on researching future book-cover designs.
In September 2006 the Italian translation of The Urantia Book, Il Libro di Urantia, was published. Il Libro di Urantia is the ninth translation to be printed, joining French, Finnish, Spanish, Dutch, Russian, Korean, Lithuanian, and German. The Rumanian and Portuguese translations are available on CD-Rom while undergoing final revision. The Estonian and Swedish translations are in the final revision stage. Paid translators continue to work on the Chinese, Japanese, and Farsi (Persian) translations, which are years from completion. In the fall of 2006, and much to our surprise, a man presented the Foundation with a completed Hungarian translation, which is currently undergoing evaluation and revision. Volunteer translators continue their translating of the book into Bulgarian, Greek, Czech, Danish, and Urdu. Teams are also revising and correcting the Spanish and French translations.
In 2006 we printed another 2,000 copies of the Spanish translation. This year we will reprint 12,500 copies of the English edition and 6,000 of the Spanish translation so that we will have enough inventory to meet demand for the next two years. These combined print runs will cost about $118,000.
Readers and Educational Services
At the end of 2006, we launched an email news list which will keep our supporters with internet access up-todate on “Urantia Foundation News”. If you are interested in receiving these news and information bulletins by email, please go to http://www. urantia. org/inset/mailing-list-sign
The Urantia Book Internet School (UBIS), having started in 1997, celebrated its ninth year of operation. UBIS now has a specially designed website (http://www. urantiabookschool. org/). Enrollment in UBIS increases every year, and the school’s methods, developed to help students learn directly from the teachings of the Book without imposing a predetermined interpretation, have proven to be very effective. Featured in the school’s accomplishments is the development of an intensive teacher-training course. All classes are taught by graduates of this excellent preparatory round of training.
When Urantia Foundation’s website debuted in 1998, we were thrilled when we received 1,000 visits in the first month. In 2006 we averaged 160,000 visits a month or nearly 2,000,000 unique visits total for the year. The most visited pages on our site, after the homepage, are the various texts of The Urantia Book available in searchable HTML, first, Paper 1: The Universal Father; second, the Adam and Eve papers; and third, the Lucifer Rebellion papers. Besides the English edition, the Spanish, French, Finnish, Dutch, Russian, Lithuanian, and Italian translations are available online. The German translation will be available online by mid-2007.
Changes to the Declaration of Trust
Urantia Foundation was established on January 11, 1950, by a Declaration of Trust (DoT) which was standard for such legal mid-20th century trust documents. At the beginning of the 21st century some of the provisions of the Declaration of Trust have proven to be outdated. A few years ago the Trustees decided to modernize a few provisions of the DoT and to clarify some ambiguities in the DoT which have caused problems over the years. The Principal Object (Section 1), the Concordant Object, the Duties of the Trustees, and provisions for preservation and control of the text have not been changed.
The changes made to the Declaration of Trust are the following (for a complete text of the revised Declaration of Trust contact Urantia Foundation’s head office):
- Number of Trustees. The number of Trustees has been set to a minimum of five and maximum of seven, with an option to increase the maximum to nine after 2016.
- Appointment of New or Successor Trustees. A 75% majority of Trustees must approve the appointment of a new or successor Trustee.
- Removal of a Trustee. To remove a Trustee an 80% majority of the remaining Trustees must vote at two sequential regular or special meetings for the removal. There must be an interval of at least 60 days between the two votes. Certain privileges of a Trustee who has received one 80% majority vote for removal are suspended until the second vote, at which time the Trustee is removed or reinstated depending on the vote.
- Miscellaneous. The sections of the DoT concerning committees, the timing and notices of regular quarterly meetings, the definition of a quorum and majority vote, and the provisions for future amendments were re-written to improve the function of the Board.
As Urantia Foundation’s activities become more worldwide in scope, as sales of The Urantia Book grow, as interest in the content and nature of the Book increases, it is imperative that we as a unique organization within the Urantia Book reading community maintain our financial and organizational integrity. We will certainly come under more and greater scrutiny by governments, the press, and organized religions around the world as time goes on. If our primary task is to provide for the distribution of the inviolate text of the Book, both in English and in competent translations, we cannot afford to be stymied in our efforts because of bad publicity, poor financial planning, or incompetent administration and governance. Excellence must be our watchword in all matters. Nothing less will do.
Steady, balanced growth is the best plan for accomplishing our long-term goal of providing the Book to readers worldwide at a reasonable cost and in the major languages of the world. To ensure this growth we need steady and reliable funding from dedicated readers and a well-thought-out plan for publishing, translating, and distributing the Book. We need an informed and involved Board, and a staff of enthusiastic, dedicated employees and volunteers.
Consider for a moment your own participation in this important project. We invite you to join us with your prayers, your active involvement, and your financial support. Please contact us if you are ready to do more.
The Trustees and Staff of Urantia Foundation
Judy Van Cleave
Audio Urantia Book
Board Meeting Decisions
Urantia Foundation History