Reflections on 2009 and a Look into the Future
By Mo Siegel, President, Urantia Foundation, Colorado, USA
Dear co-workers and friends of Urantia Foundation and the Urantia Revelation,
Would you have ever imagined in your wildest dreams that you would find yourself participating in the dissemination of the most liberating spiritual truths since Jesus walked on earth? While our work, as readers of The Urantia Book, may be quiet and lacking of public attention, our job resembles the Master’s activities preceding his public ministry as he prepared the way for the future reception of truth. If it takes 1,000 years for the Urantia Revelation to unfold, then we have just completed the first seven percent of the journey. These are the days for preparing the soil and planting seeds for future generations who will reap the harvest of this new spiritual awaking destined to transform our world.
The following report will inform you of Urantia Foundation’s accomplishments in 2009 and will give you a look into what is anticipated in the future. Your feedback is always welcome.
Highlights of 2009
1. Book Publishing and Translations
• Urantia Book sales totaled more than 14,000 books, a five percent increase from 2008. (This number does not include the thousands of books downloaded via the internet.) English Urantia Book sales exceeded 6,500 books, and the Spanish and Portuguese translations followed as the second and third best sellers.
• Standardized Text and Referencing System
The Trustees approved a Standard Reference Text and a referencing system, which together will have a significant impact on protecting the text while providing extensive educational capabilities.
Digital texts in English and Spanish were created, proof read, and made ready for print and digital publication using the Standard Referencing System. All translations will be converted to this new system within the next few years.
• A Text Identification Numbering System was conceived, approved, and adopted. This system will provide easy identification of all English editions and translations thereof, be they on the web, in revision, or in printed books.
• The Portuguese Translation Revision
Luiz Carlos Dolabela Chagas, the translator of the Portuguese translation, completed a revision with approximately 15,000 changes that will be included in the next printing. Kudos to Luiz!
• El libro de Urantia edición europea
The European edition of the Spanish translation was printed and launched in Spain. This edition was printed for the European market, and the Board has restricted sales to Europe.
• Book Reprinting
The Lithuanian, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish translations were reprinted.
• New Book Distributors
Contracts were signed with new distributors in Spain, Portugal, Italy, France, and Quebec.
• New Book Distribution System in Europe
A centralized storing, shipping and billing system was established for the European Union.
• French Audio Version
A team of French Canadians produced an audio version of The Urantia Book in French, which is now available to readers.
• English Audio Tapes
The audio tapes of The Urantia Book were converted to a new digital format and made ready for multiple purposes. This new format will greatly reduce storage space and download time.
• Formatting of Four New Translations
The formatting for the upcoming printings of Estonian, Hungarian, Polish, and Swedish translations was almost completed.
• A Translator's Meeting was held in Paris, France in August, 2009.
2. Fund Raising and Frugality
Urantia Foundation relies on the support of generous readers. Annual profits from book sales provide about five percent of the operating budgets. Ninety-five percent comes from donations. Knowing that many readers suffered financially in 2009, the Trustees launched a year-end matching fund drive with some uncertainty. The target was $210,000, and donors generously contributed $215,000. Donors, thank you for your support!
Expenses were managed tightly in 2009, and this same conservative spending will continue in 2010. The Board and team at 533 operate frugally and spend money only on necessities.
3. New Website at www.urantia.org
In December 2009, Urantia Foundation launched its new and improved website. While there are numerous improvements yet to come, the up and running site is very user friendly. The robust software system used to build the site provides for multiple languages. Operational use in 14 languages is expected within the next few years.
- Two hundred students participated in 11 courses offered by the Urantia Book Internet School (UBIS).
- Readers residing in 17 countries participated.
- Nine students completed the UBIS Teacher Training class. (UBIS currently has a core staff of 13 teachers.)
- UBIS upgraded its software to improve the quality of the classes.
- An Educational Forum was held in Chicago at Urantia Foundation.
- Foundation members participated in the Parliament of the World’s Religions in Australia.
5. Organizational Activities
- Four Board meetings were held, including one in Malaga, Spain.
- A community-based Information Technology (IT) Roundtable was held in October at Urantia Foundation. 16 readers who are involved with IT gathered to discuss IT needs, problems, and solutions that will benefit the Urantia Book community.
- Urantia Foundation emailed four newsletters and an annual report.
6. The Building at 533 Diversey Parkway
For many, the Foundation’s building is an important asset to the Urantia Community. Therefore, we need to maintain it.
In 2009, an office on the second floor was converted into a bedroom. All the outside windows were either repaired or replaced. The building requires a great deal of upkeep and renovation, and $150,000 could easily be spent on needed improvements.
The building is now available for use by readers desiring a place to meet. The second floor has five bedrooms, a kitchen, a dining room, and two meeting rooms. Please take advantage of this opportunity to use the second floor. It is a community treasure that we would like to share.
The accomplishments of 2009 happened because of team efforts made by the staff at Diversey Parkway, the Board of Trustees, the committees of the Board, the donors to Urantia Foundation, the translators, the website development team, and the dedicated volunteers. On behalf of the Board of Trustees, heartfelt thanks go to everyone who worked for the Urantia Revelation by serving with Urantia Foundation in 2009.
Planning for 2010-2015
In preparation for the years ahead, the Expanded Board spent half of their January 2010 meeting planning for the future. Below you will read what we agreed upon. I must admit that I get tired just looking at this list, let alone working on it. But our team feels that the goals are achievable and, if accomplished, will make the world a better place. We welcome your thoughts regarding these plans for the future.
The Principal and Concordant Objects from the Declaration of Trust are our vision statement.
PRINCIPAL OBJECT: The object for which this Foundation is created is the promotion, improvement, and expansion among the peoples of the world of the comprehension and understanding of Cosmology and the relation of the planet on which we live to the Universe, of the genesis and destiny of Man and his relation to God, and of the true teachings of Jesus Christ; and for the inculcation and encouragement of the realization and appreciation of the Fatherhood of God and the Brotherhood of Man—in order to increase and enhance the comfort, happiness, and well being of Man, as an individual and as a member of society, through the fostering of a religion, a philosophy, and a cosmology which are commensurate with Man’s intellectual and cultural development.
CONCORDANT OBJECTS: The concordant objects for which the Foundation is created are to perpetually preserve inviolate the text of The Urantia Book and to disseminate the principles, teachings, and doctrines of The Urantia Book.
- Book Sales and Distribution: Increase book sales and distribution by seven percent. Improvements include e-books, audio, bookstore sales, and web downloads. Special focus will be given to North America, Latin America, and Europe.
- Printing: Print and distribute four new translations: Estonian, Hungarian, Polish, and Swedish.
- Website: Make major advances in the new website by translating the English portion into Spanish, Finnish, French, Polish, and Portuguese.
- Safeguard the Text: Display seven downloadable translations on www.urantia.org (Urantia Foundation’s website) that comply with the Standard Referencing System and are free of typographical errors. Provide these clean and standardized html files to other websites that display Urantia Foundation’s translations.
- Community Relations: Increase goodwill and communications with readers and reader groups worldwide with a special focus on serving the needs of readers in Mexico and in Central and South America. Make improvements to the Social Trademark
License to better serve the growing family of believers.
- Translations: Advance the translations and revisions now in progress. Provide new and improved software to translators. Create a defined revision process for evaluating and implementing future revisions.
- Education: Implement the new UBIS website software. Further the educational activities provided or coordinated by Urantia Foundation. Increase the focus and energy supporting Urantia Book study groups.
- Organizational Development: Continue governance improvements at Urantia Foundation which include Board orientation, Board education, succession planning, and various other processes that improve Urantia Foundation’s ability to serve the Urantia Revelation and the people of the world.
- Finances: Stay within the approved 2010 Operating Budget and raise five percent more in donations than in the current budget.
- Book Sales and Distribution: Increase book sales at a compounded growth rate of seven percent from 2009. Improvements include e-books, audio, bookstore sales, and web downloads.
- Website: Continue translating the Foundation’s website into many languages and host the site in multiple countries so it can be found via national URL addresses. Provide texts that are standardized, safeguarded, and free of typographical errors for the English edition and all translations appearing on the site.
- Education: Expand the number of classes and languages available through UBIS. Support the growth of study groups from over 500 today toward 1,000 in the future. Provide secondary studies via the web and other venues that help people understand the teachings of The Urantia Book. Build infrastructure so that Urantia Foundation will become the leading educational institution for the Urantia Revelation.
- Public Relations: Prepare and display, via the web and other venues, positive and proactive materials that present the Urantia Revelation in the best possible light. Prepare for both positive and negative inquiries from onlookers in the world.
- Support: Expand the donor base from 693 donors in 2009 to 2,000 donors in 2015. Increase Urantia Foundation’s endowment so that annual operating budgets can be funded by its interest and dividends. Develop a program for making grants to worthy Urantia Book projects that support our mission and goals.
- Translations: Continue translating The Urantia Book into all viable languages so that by 2020, 80 percent of the world’s people will have the text in their language. Continue revisions to provide the most accurate and inspiring translations.
- Community Relations: Foster a worldwide, goodwill culture of Urantia Book readers who love and cooperate with one another based on the teachings of the Revelation.
- Organizational Development: Continue building a safe, reliable, enduring, service-oriented, trustworthy, and well-governed Urantia Foundation. Whenever possible outsource work and utilize volunteers. Develop future leaders to ensure a seamless and orderly leadership succession plan for the Foundation.
- Book Sales and Distribution: Increase book sales and distribution by seven percent a year from 2009. With a seven percent annual growth rate, book sales and distribution will double by 2020. Improvements include e-books, audio, book store sales, and web downloads.
- Translations: Complete enough translations so The Urantia Book can be read by 80 percent of the people on the planet if they so wish. This means that the Chinese and Japanese books will be completed by that time. Implement a revision process so that all translations are in a continually being improved. To date, the Russian, French, Finnish, Portuguese, and Spanish translations have been revised at least once.
- Community Relations: Foster a worldwide goodwill culture of Urantia Book readers who love and cooperate with one another based on the teachings of The Urantia Book.
- Support: Go from 2,000 to 5,000 annual donors, and raise an endowment valued at $20 million.
- Education: Continue to support study groups across the globe with the goal of more than 1,000 groups by 2020. Continue building Urantia Foundation into an educational institution as well as a book publisher. Foster the expansion, capabilities, and outreach of UBIS and pursue a variety of new ideas that arise for website
- Organizational Development: Continue building a safe, reliable, enduring, service-oriented, trustworthy, and well-governed Urantia Foundation. Whenever possible, outsource work and utilize volunteers. Develop future leaders to ensure a seamless and orderly leadership succession plan for the Foundation. Build an organization that will grow and minister for centuries to come.
Your associates at Urantia Foundation need and appreciate your tireless efforts and your financial support for the Fifth Epochal Revelation and the work of Urantia Foundation. We are truly blessed to have the opportunity to serve during these early days of the Revelation. I am convinced that, when we look back from the mansion worlds, we will be astounded at the unique service opportunity we had on this world
On Behalf of the Expanded Board and our team in
Trustees: Gard Jameson, Richard Keeler, Marilynn Kulieke, Georges Michelson-Dupont, Henk Mylanus, Mo Siegel, and Judy Van Cleave.
Associate Trustees: Jan Bernard, Marta Elders, Merritt Horn, Irmeli Ivalo-Sjölie, Olga López, Claire Mylanus, and Ralph Zehr
Executive Director: Jay Peregrine
Staff: Connie Gutierrez, Tamara Strumfeld, Marcel Urayeneza, and Mike Wood
Audio Urantia Book
Board Meeting Decisions
Urantia Foundation History