Decisions From The January 2009 Board Meeting

Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly version
Marilynn Kulieke

By Marilynn Kulieke, Secretary, Urantia Foundation, Illinois, USA

As we enter 2009, I hope that you are healthy, happy and upward bound on the path of spiritual joy and progress. As you will read in this report, the team at Urantia Foundation entered 2009 with much to do. Here is the report from the January, 2009 meeting of the Board of Trustees. Other than Chicago's extremely cold streak of Arctic weather, our meeting was very pleasant and productive.

The following people participated in the meeting:

  • Trustees: Gard Jameson, Richard Keeler, Marilynn Kulieke, Georges Michelson-Dupont, Mo Siegel, and Judy Van Cleave.
  • Associate Trustees: Jan Bernard, Marta Elders, Irmeli Ivalo-Sjöli, Claire and Henk Mylanus.
  • Executive Director: Jay Peregrine
  • Office Manager: Tamara Strumfeld
  • Special Presenters: Merritt Horn representing the Standard Reference Text Committee and Randy Garcia from The Investment Council Company. 

Some highlights from the meeting:

1. Executive Director and Staff Reports

Jay Peregrine and Tamara Strumfeld reported to the Board on the Foundation's financial condition, book sales, fundraising, website development, book production, education, branch offices, conferences, travel, insurance and risk management, reader services, outreach, and building and grounds. If you could spend a day in the life of the team at 533 Diversey, you would be amazed at the amount of work this small team accomplishes. Thank you Jay, Tamara, Connie, and Marcel for your service.

2. 2008 and 2009 Budgets

The Board reviewed the 2008 year-end budget and compared it to what actually happened. Like most other not-for-profit foundations, our stock and bond investments lost value. On the positive side, the reader community generously contributed to Urantia Foundation during the fundraising efforts of November and December. In November four anonymous donors contributed $100,000 as a matching fund. By the end of December the donations, including the match, exceeded $300,000. 808 donors gave to Urantia Foundation in 2008 compared to 667 in 2007. A heart felt thanks to all who gave! We could not proceed without your generosity and support.

The 2009 budget, previously approved, was reviewed. The Chairman of the Foundation's Finance Committee, Gard Jameson, and Jay Peregrine voiced growing concerns regarding the recession. Based on these concerns, the budgeted expenses for 2009 are lower than those for 2008.

Tamara Strumfeld
Tamara Strumfeld

3. Library Placement Policy

Tamara Strumfeld presented an updated 2009 Library Placement Policy. The Board approved the policy because it allows people to buy books for library placement using a simplified ordering procedure. The policy allows readers to buy books at inexpensive prices if they agree to place the books in libraries and not to resell them.

We hope that in the coming years, you will take full advantage of this new policy. In the past we viewed libraries as publically operated facilities staffed with librarians, check out systems, and formal procedures. While public libraries remain vitally important to the dissemination of the Urantia Revelation, so do the new informal libraries which have sprung up on a grass-roots basis. You can find these "libraries" on cruise ships and in hotels, hospital waiting rooms, coffee shops, restaurants, community buildings, and many other places. Placing books in these libraries can be just as fruitful as putting them in large public libraries. Please visit our website at to view the new policy.

4. Website

Updating and improving the Foundation's website has become a top priority for 2009 and 2010. A Chicago based web design firm has been hired to provide an improved navigation system and graphic look for the website. The improved site will be designed for easy audio, video, graphic, and text applications. It will also accommodate the growing needs of The Urantia Book Internet School (UBIS) as well as the international offices. Due to the complexity and cost of the redesign, we anticipate that this project will take at least another 18 months. The Foundation's website is the first site that comes up when you Google the word "Urantia," and the site needs to be stellar.

For many people, Urantia Foundation's website will be their first impression of the book. In 2008 the server statistics showed that the site received nearly 1.5 million unique visits. While many of those visits were repeat visitors, no matter how you count it, a lot of people visit Urantia Foundation's website. The new website will have an ever- increasing emphasis on the book, its teachings, translations, where to buy it, how to download it, and how to contact other readers.

5. Book Committee

The Expanded Board discussed current book sales and the financial conditions affecting the book industry and sales of The Urantia Book. Total sales of the book decreased in 2008 by 12%. The book industry, besides having to deal with the recession, has to face its own series of setbacks as used book sales increase, internet book stores gain increasing market share, and the digital age expands into the book business. In the future, Urantia Foundation will change the traditional way of measuring books sales and outreach efforts and will start including internet downloads for MP3 players, digital readers, and physical downloads.

Georges Michelson-Dupont
Georges Michelson-Dupont

6. Translation Committee

Georges Michelson-Dupont presented the Translation Quarterly Report #41. In spite of a deep economic recession, 2009 may become the most prolific publishing year for new translations in the history of The Urantia Book. The Foundation is almost ready to publish the Arabic, Estonian, Hungarian, Polish, and Swedish translations, and the European edition of the Spanish translation. Other translations are in progress, or, if they have already been published, are being revised and updated.

7. Governance Committee

The Governance Committee, chaired by Judy Van Cleave, proposed that each standing committee of Urantia Foundation draft a charter clearly stating the duties and responsibilities of the committee. The Board approved the proposal.

After years of searching for a simple way to organize Urantia Foundation's European operations, the Governance Committee recommended, and the Board approved, that Urantia Foundation establish a European Advisory Committee chaired by Georges Michelson-Dupont. This committee reports directly to the Board and will provide recommendations and strategies for book marketing and distribution, reader services, and dissemination of the teachings in the European Union.

8. Public Relations Committee

Richard Keeler gave an update on the work of the Frequently-Asked-Questions Project Committee. Knowing that the Foundation's website is the number one way people learn about Urantia Foundation and often times the book, this committee has been preparing answers to the most asked questions which will appear on the website.

In the area of public relations, updating and modernizing the Foundation's website is the Board's highest priority.

9. Planning Committee

Jan Bernard, Marta Elders, and Judy Van Cleave led a strategic planning session. See Marta Elders' article, Vision of the Future, for further details.

10. Standard Reference Text Ad-hoc Committee

Merritt Horn presented the work and recommendations of the committee to the Expanded Board. The Board took the following actions regarding these recommendations:

  • The Expanded Board will review the standardized reference text and the proposed referencing system. Feedback will be given to the committee by May 1, 2009.
  • The Standard Reference Text Committee will provide a final report to Urantia Foundation and Uversa Press by July 1, 2009.
  • The Board will decide whether to adopt the recommendations of the committee at the July 2009 Board meeting.

See Marilynn Kulieke's article for further details.

11. Education Committee

The Education Initiative meets for the second time in June, 2009. The committee plans to videotape discussions with John Causland on Astronomy and Sheila Keene-Lund on cosmic consciousness and spiritual perception. The videotapes will be made available for distribution. By the end of 2009 the Education Initiative will provide a plan for the training of teachers.

The Board voted again to express their confidence in and appreciation of Dorothy Elder and the UBIS team. Thanks to a generous donation, we can improve the website functions for the internet school. To learn more about the school visit If you are interested in teaching classes or helping with UBIS, please contact Dorothy Elder at [email protected].

12. Next meeting:

April 16-17, 2009 in Malaga, Spain

Foundation Info

Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly version

Urantia Foundation, 533 W. Diversey Parkway, Chicago, IL 60614, USA
Tel: +1-773-525-3319; Fax: +1-773-525-7739
© Urantia Foundation. All rights reserved