Urantia Foundation Annual Report 2008
An outpouring of Goodwill
Dear Friends, Associates, Volunteers, and Supporters of Urantia Foundation,
It’s with spiritual joy we send you this report. Because of your generous outpouring of love, time, prayers, financial support, and goodwill, Urantia Foundation had one of its most productive years in our 58 year history.
How was so much achieved during these financially difficult times? First, our Chicago team really cares and their work reflects their love of the Revelation. Second, volunteers donated an enormous amount of work on Urantia Foundation’s projects. Third, Urantia Foundation's Expanded Board contributed an amazing amount of volunteer time and personal resources supporting the work. Fourth, your generous donations kept the Foundation afloat during one of the worst financial years in decades. Fifth and most importantly, “when man goes in partnership with God, great things may, and do, happen”.
I close with the impressions I felt after attending Urantia Association International’s Leadership Round Table in Malaga Spain. About 25 people joined in a 2 ½ hour exchange of ideas and experiences. Participants came from Asia, North and South America, Africa, and throughout Europe. These spiritual pioneers shared their inspiring stories of struggles and successes introducing the Revelation into their countries. To get the feeling, imagine the world darkened by the night sky. Then picture these people creating little pockets of revelatory light across the globe. Such an image accurately reflects what’s happening with the Urantia Revelation as it expands throughout the world.
On behalf of the entire team at Urantia Foundation, thank you for your love and support in 2008. Please help us again in 2009 so we can effectively serve the Revelation while weathering the continuing financial storm. May our Father’s love bless and keep you.
2008 REPORT, Updated
Translations of The Urantia Book into Estonian, Swedish, and Hungarian, and a revision of the Spanish Translation (the "European edition") were approved for publication in 2008. A Polish translation, to be published in 2010, is being formatted and prepared for press. The Urantia Book is currently being translated into Chinese, Japanese, and Farsi (Persian) by paid translators. Volunteer translations at various stages of completion include Arabic, Bulgarian, Czech, and Greek.
In 2008 Urantia Foundation printed 10,000 copies of the English edition of The Urantia Book with two new covers. The book was reformatted to make it easier to read, using the best typographic practices of the electronic age. The new cover designs were tested by an independent marketing firm before they were chosen from a larger group of submissions. We anticipate that this new book will attract more book store browsers in the U.S. and Canadian markets than our former cover did.
Urantia Foundation reprinted 4,000 copies of the Spanish translation, 3,000 copies of the Portuguese translation, 2,000 copies of the Lithuanian translation, and 3,000 copies of the German translation, which, like the English edition, were printed in the larger, easier to read format.
The Foundation held gatherings in Brazil to introduce the newly printed Portuguese translation to readers. Representatives of the Foundation attended book fairs in Mexico and Argentina to promote the book.
Book sales were down by 12% in 2008 but up by 27% in the first quarter of 2009. We have a new distributor in France, and in early 2009 we acquired distributors in Italy, Portugal, and we renegotiated our distribution in Spain. We should see a significant increase in book sales in all of these countries for the rest of 2009 and into 2010.
The remarkable efforts of Dorothy Elder and the Board of Directors of The Urantia Book Internet School (UBIS) top our educational efforts for 2008. The UBIS Board met in Chicago in March 2009 to discuss improvements to the current UBIS website, among other topics.
The historic building at 533 W. Diversey is one of Urantia Foundation's treasured assets. In 2008 the Board decided to dedicate the second floor to conferences, workshops, study, and educational efforts. To make the facilities more usable, we are remodeling and repairing areas of the 2nd floor.
In 2008 Urantia Foundation distributed 864 free and discounted books to libraries and needy readers around the world, either directly or through third-party programs.
Urantia Foundation News Online has become a key public relations tool for Urantia Foundation. Currently an average of 7,000 visitors download each issue from www.urantia.org. Urantia Foundation has a professional staff of five who are available during business hours to discuss the foundation's work with callers and visitors. Urantia Foundation's website is a key resource for information on-line; plenty of behind the scenes work was done in the last year to prepare for a re-designed website which will premiere later this year.
In 2008, 808 persons contributed to Urantia Foundation, up from 667 donors in 2007. Total contributions amounted to $668,485, compared with $738,264 in 2007. Sixty-two percent of the contributions were "unrestricted." The remaining 38% was given to support our programs. Two mailings with a donor card enclosed were complemented by four issues of Urantia Foundation's News Online. A year- end matching fund campaign raised over $300,000.
Fund raising expectations for 2009 have been scaled back due to the difficult financial situation the world is in. Some experts see a recovery near the end of the year or in early 2010. In the meantime we shall persevere in providing the services and products we are known for and in keeping our donors up-to-date with news of our needs, endeavors, and achievements.
2008 Financial Results
The figures used in the following statements are preliminary and unaudited. We expect our audited 2008 financial statements to be ready by mid-August 2009, at which time copies will be available for viewing at our headquarters, or we will be happy to send you a copy for a $10.00 copying and postage fee.
Total assets at the end of 2008 were $2,906,975 ($3,482,993 at the end of 2007). Total Liabilities at the end of 2008 were $71,427 ($114,808 at the end of 2007).
Statement of Activities
Due to a decline in the value of investments during 2008, our net assets were less at the end of 2008 than at the end of 2007. The two- year picture looks better; in 2007 our net assets rose dramatically in a bull market, but all of that increase was wiped out in the bear market of 2008. If you exclude market losses, our net assets gained slightly in 2008.
Budget Versus Actual
Expenses were $80,000 over budget for 2008 due to the costs of developing and producing new products: the English edition with the new format and dust jacket, the new Kindle and Sony Reader versions, the German translation in the new format, and The Urantia Book Index Project. These expenses will be recovered through increased revenues generated by sales of the new products.
Book sales revenue was $35,000 lower than anticipated for the year. This was largely attributable to fewer orders from Ingram while we changed our book ordering system. This figure will be made up in 2009 by increased sales generated by the English edition with the new format and dust cover and by improved distribution channels.
Contributions were $171,000 more than budgeted. This amount is attributable to exceptionally large year-end donations. Again, contributors, thank you for your support!
Our gross profit of $267,000 for 2008 was under the budgeted amount, but, considering the economic realities of 2008, it is a good result.
2008 Board and Administration
The Board's 1998 Safe Harbor Policies were amended and condensed into one General Permission to Quote Policy, which is available on line at http://www.urantia.org/urantia-foundation-copyright-trademark-policies/permission-quote-policy or from Urantia Foundation.
Two Trustees were elected at the January 2008 quarterly meeting to fill the open positions created when the Trustees voted to expand the Board from five to seven members. The new Trustees are Marilynn Kulieke and Judy Van Cleave. Seppo Kanerva resigned from the presidency at the beginning of November 2008 and from the Board of Trustees on 9 November 2008. The Vice-President Georges Michelson-Dupont served as acting President until Mo Siegel was elected President on 7 November 2008. After his resignation, Seppo Kanerva was appointed Trustee Emeritus.
2009 Budget and Outlook
In 2009, responding to the economic downturn, we plan to decrease spending by 25%. Thanks to generous gifts, we will be able to move forward with revitalizing the Foundation's website and expanding the functionality of The Urantia Book Internet School's website. With the dedication of modestly compensated staff members, of volunteers, and of generous donors, Urantia Foundation will not only survive but thrive in this difficult economic climate.
The economic downturn in 2008 and early 2009 shocked the world, creating an atmosphere of uncertainty and caution. Yet it is in just such a climate that more people look for spiritual answers to life's problems. We think that the market for The Urantia Book will strengthen in 2009, and that book sales of the English edition and key translations — such as the Spanish, the Portuguese, and the Italian translations – will grow. While many people are hurting financially at this time, not everyone is, and those who have extra during hard times may be more inclined to give some of their bounty to causes that benefit everyone. So we are working to increase our donor base and to make 2009 the best year yet for giving to Urantia Foundation's projects dedicated to the publication, translation, and distribution of The Urantia Book and its teachings. Please consider joining us in our work to bring the Urantia Revelation to the world.
The Trustees, Associate Trustees and Staff thank you in advance for your support of the important work of Urantia Foundation. We could not do what we do without your continuing support. We have included in this mailer information regarding planned gifts; please consider making Urantia Foundation one of the beneficiaries of your estate plan. Thank you and God continue to bless you!
The Trustees and Staff of Urantia Foundation
Judy Van Cleave
Olga López Molina
Audio Urantia Book
Board Meeting Decisions
Urantia Foundation History