Noteworthy Decisions from the January 2012 Board of Trustees Meeting
By Marilynn Kulieke, Secretary, Urantia Foundation, Lincolnshire, Illinois, USA
Books Sold and Downloaded
Total book sales and downloads were up for the year by 13%. Book sales were even with 2010, which seemed like an accomplishment considering the decline of the North American bookstore industry. 16,000 books in 2011 were sold and 29,808 electronic books were downloaded from www.urantia.org. It is estimated that the total downloads of The Urantia Book from various sites exceeded 60,000 in 2011.
North American bookstores continued their long-term decline in the rapidly changing book market. Digital books, internet downloads, Amazon.com, and the shrinking number of bookstores has significantly altered how books are disseminated to readers. Most of the changes have negatively affected the financial dynamics of printing and selling books. But that’s the world we are living in, and we gladly accept the challenge of securing distribution of The Urantia Book in these changing times.
Contributions and Budgets
Total contributions for 2011 totaled $800,396, a 10% increase from 2010s contributions of $725,633. The year-end matching fundraiser was a great success. We are exceedingly grateful for your generous donations. Your contributions covered 2011 expenses and helped pay for printing more books.
We expect that expenses in 2011 will be flat or down. Capital expenditures were high in 2011 due to the printing of 22,921 books. Thus the Foundation’s cash flow for the year, because of printing, required us to dip into cash reserves by about $75,000.
Urantia Foundation printed 22,421 books in 2011.
- 1,800 Spanish 1993 hardcovers
- 3,813 Portuguese paperbacks
- 1,890 Polish hardcovers (2nd printing)
- 3,240 Spanish 1993 paperbacks for Argentina
- 1,178 Spanish 1993 paperbacks for South America
- 6,300 English paperbacks
- 2,700 English hardcovers
- 2,000 English faux leather soft covers
International Book Distribution
International distribution expanded because:
- New distribution channels were made in Argentina.
- Distribution of the Russian translation is now with Russia’s largest spiritual book distributor.
- New distribution channels were made in Australia. Heartfelt thanks go to Kathleen and Trevor Swadling for their many decades of hard work serving as distributors of The Urantia Book in Australia.
- Most newly appointed European book distributors made steady progress throughout the European Union. Thank you, Henk and Claire Mylanus, for your diligent work advancing distribution in the EU.
Serving the Community
During 2011, the facilities at 533 W Diversey Parkway were used by Urantia Association International (UAI), the Urantia Book Fellowship, the Board of Trustees of Urantia Foundation, the Urantia Book Internet School, and the Tuesday evening study group.
The UAI, the Fellowship, and Urantia Foundation agreed to a new Study Group Portal at http://urantiastudygroup.org. Thanks go to the Study Group Portal team: Scott Brooks, Emilio Coppola, Lenny Cowles, Marta Elders, John Hales, Tamara Strumfeld, and James Woodward.
Urantia Foundation and the Fellowship have also agreed to cooperatively produce Spanish and Russian audio books. In addition, Marilynn Kulieke serves as liaison between Urantia Foundation and a team producing a Portuguese audio book.
The Translator’s Website went live in 2011. French, Spanish, and Portuguese translation teams are using it. Special thanks for this accomplishment go to Rogério da Silva, Rob Reno, Georges Michelson-Dupont, Jay Peregrine, and Larry Watkins.
Progress was made on the Chinese translation as well as on several other translations.
The Revision of the Spanish and French Translations
The Spanish revision team began its work of amalgamating the 1993 Spanish translation and the European edition into one beautiful translation appealing to all Spanish speaking readers across the globe. Special thanks go to Carmelo Martínez from Spain (chief translator), Anibal Pacheco from Chile, Raul Pujol from Puerto Rico, Olga López from Spain, Gard Jameson, Georges Michelson-Dupont (manager of translations), and Víctor García Bory (team liaison).
The French translation team of revisers consists of Georges Michelson-Dupont, Jean Royer, Richard Lachance, and Claire Mylanus. They expect to finish the revision in 2014.
Clean Book Files on the Internet
HTML web versions of all translations of The Urantia Book were checked for errors, cleaned up, uploaded to the web, and made available at www.urantia.org. Special thanks go to Larry Watkins for his thousands of hours of work on this project.
Education and Urantia Book Internet School (UBIS)
The UBIS website was translated into Spanish to allow for Spanish language classes. UBIS classes expanded. Preparations were made to offer classes in Portuguese.
A UBIS Board meeting was held in Chicago to discuss short- and long-range plans. We owe a big "thank you" to Dorothy Elder, Georges Michelson-Dupont, Polly Friedman, Olga López, Ralph and Betty Zehr, Tom Brachna, Judy Cosky, Susan Flacks, and Pam Maunakea for their immense contributions to UBIS.
Restoration of Urantia Foundation at 533 W Diversey Parkway
Phase 1 of the 533 W Diversey Renovation Project (2nd Floor: three new bathrooms, a new kitchen, and upgrades in the sleeping porch, hallway, and breakfast nook) was nearly completed in 2011. We expect to finish the 2nd floor by July. We started Phase 2, which is the renovation of the first floor and plumbing repairs in the basement. In 2011 we added a new conference room, redid the visitor’s room, and started renovation of two bathrooms, the copy room, the break room, and the hallway. Many of the old pipes and all of the risky plumbing in the basement was repaired or replaced.
Approximately $215,000 has been raised toward the $400,000 needed for the full building renovation. This historic building is a heritage for future generations and a vital community resource today. Your tax deductible donations, earmarked for the 533 Building Renovation Project, are greatly needed. To complete the first floor we need an additional $50,000 before the end of 2012.
Staffing Changes at Urantia Foundation
In December, Joanne Strobel joined the team at 533 as Jay Peregrine’s executive assistant. Joanne comes from Atlanta, Georgia, and brings a broad set of skills to the team. Welcome Joanne! Joel Wood has been working while Tamara and Connie take leave to welcome two new souls into the world.
Urantia Foundation’s Website
Total visits at www.urantia.org were 772,939 in 2011, up 44% from 2010. Pages visited were up 24%. Urantia Book downloads were up 24%. Social Media expansion continued in 2011. Facebook "likes" exceeded our goal by one third at year end with 3,000 likes.
During the planning meeting extensive conversation centered on the increasing role of the internet, digital technology, and social media in furthering the purposes of The Urantia Book.
The Board approved the printing of 10,000 Spanish paperbacks for Latin America.
Audio Urantia Book
Board Meeting Decisions
Urantia Foundation History