Noteworthy Decisions From The April 2009 Board Meeting

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Mo Siegel

By Mo Siegel, President, Urantia Foundation, Colorado, USA

1. The meeting started with an emphasis on fostering the next generation of leadership for Urantia Foundation. Currently one Trustee position sits vacant, and two Associate Trustee positions will open after the Board's October 2009 meeting. With the aging of the current leadership, the Board of Trustees hopes to recruit and train young leaders for the future. In addition, the Trustees desire to find service-minded, qualified individuals who live in Mexico, Central, and South America. We would appreciate your recommendations for qualified candidates. Contact Mo Siegel at [email protected].

2. The Board reviewed a plan to host groups at Urantia Foundation's second floor facilities. The Foundation's building has a spacious conference room available with a large board- room table, which comfortably seats 16 persons. Adjoining the conference room is a small meeting room that works perfectly for break- out groups. The facility has a kitchen, three bathrooms, and four bedrooms that comfortably sleep up to 10 persons. Suggested minimum donations for the meeting rooms are $125.00 per day. Overnight accommodations can be used for a minimum donation of $50.00 a room per night. If you are interested, please call 773-525-3319 to plan your event. All proceeds will go to upkeep and to the 533 Building Fund.

3. The Board re-instituted the youth internship program at Urantia Foundation. You will hear more about this program as it unfolds.

4. The Board reviewed Urantia Foundation's finances. With a significantly reduced 2009 budget, conservative spending, and generous donations, we will survive the "great recession" of 2009. After the outpouring of financial support in 2008, we know the readership cares and will help us pull through this year. A special thank you goes to our longest serving Trustee, Richard Keeler, for his wise and profitable investing on the Foundation's behalf during the last 12 months.

5. The Book Committee has been busy with four new translations that need printing in the next 12 to 24 months. Considering that we're in the worst financial market in decades, the Board is moving cautiously forward when spending money. A translation is an enormous accomplishment requiring thousands of hours. Once a translation is printed, the time- consuming and expensive job of finding and maintaining book distribution begins. Complicating this job is the fact that outside the United States every national book- vendor system operates in an idiosyncratic way from every other country's system. After discussing various financial and logistic issues surrounding book printings, the Board approved the following priorities for book printing, storing, marketing, and distribution.

  • The first priority of the book distribution program is to support the supply of Urantia Books already in a marketplace. Once a book is printed and distributed, that book must stay in stock. Based on this decision, the 2009 reprintings will be Spanish, Portuguese. Lithuanian, Russian, and English.

  • The second priority of the book distribution program is to print new translations that have been approved by the Board for printing, and for which a market, distribution, and warehousing plan has been established. Based on this criterion, the Polish translation has been scheduled for printing no later than mid-2010.

  • The third priority of the book distribution program is to print books which currently do not have a defined market, distribution, and storage plan. The Board acknowledges the value of the extraordinary work done by the translators and wants their work into circulation. Therefore, Urantia Foundation will make every effort to establish a plan to print, store, market, and distribute these translations as soon as possible. The Hungarian, Swedish, and Estonian translations fall in this category and will be made available in an electronic format, including on the internet and on CD in 2009 and printed soon after.

  • The fourth priority of the book distribution program is to coordinate the completion of translations which are not ready for printing but which are past first-draft.

6. The Translation Committee, chaired by the Manager of Translations, Georges Michelson-Dupont, presented a plan for improving the translation process over the next decade. The translation committee has an enormous number of projects currently underway. Those projects include new translations, revisions, computerization of the translation process, and more. Intensive revision efforts are focused on the 1993 edition of El libro de Urantia and the new Portuguese translation.

The committee is seeking individuals who speak and read Chinese to review the Chinese translation of The Urantia Book. Contact Georges Michelson-Dupont for more information at [email protected].

7. The Governance Committee has embarked upon the process of creating committee charters for the 9 Board committees. Those committees are the finance, governance, public relations, education, books, fund raising, translation, compensation, and planning committees. As the work of the Foundation expands, it has become critical that the growing work load with our mainly volunteer team gets accomplished as efficiently and pleasantly as possible. The committee charters articulate the roles and responsibilities which help insure the work gets done with redundancies eliminated. The Board approved the Committee's recommended charters for the Finance and Education Committee.

8. The Board heard plans to improve Urantia Foundation's website during the next 12 months.

In March of 2009, the Foundation's website had over 125,000 unique visitors. The internet search engines naturally steer people to our website for information, education, and validation of the "Urantia Revelation." We must keep improving the relevancy, ease of access, and educational quality of the Foundation's website. The site must provide an easy way for people to learn about the book's teachings, to have basic questions answered, to connect to the Foundation's educational efforts such as UBIS, and to find out about Urantia Foundation.

9. The Fellowship recently inquired if Urantia Foundation would share its mailing list with them. While the Board appreciates the search for cooperative efforts, we graciously decline sharing our mailing list with any groups because the list was developed with the implicit understanding of the privacy rights of individual readers. We were never given the right to share our mailing list and we will honor that agreement.

10. The Board initiated an Information Technology (IT) Roundtable for Oct. 17th and 18th, 2009 at our Chicago office. We're inviting 12-14 of the best and brightest internet/tech minds who read and work with The Urantia Book via IT/Web technology.

Numerous individuals and groups approach Urantia Foundation with their technology ideas for UBIS, search engine optimization, standard digital text referencing, software for hand held devices, common data bases for secondary works, social networking, internet study groups, and much more. The growth of the internet and digital technology has fundamentally changed the distribution of The Urantia Book and its teachings. During this session we'll share best practices, experiences, strategies, and new ideas for serving the community of potential and current Urantia Book readers via IT/internet technologies. We'll spend time discussing various strategic IT/internet alternatives that maximize reader benefits while minimizing redundancies, over expenditures, and conflicts. If you feel you should be one of the 12-14 individuals invited to attend, please contact Jay Peregrine at [email protected].

11. Anticipating growing interest in The Urantia Book, a team headed by Trustee Richard Keeler has been drafting answers to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about the book and Urantia Foundation. The work on this project is continuing and now the Education Committee has agreed to share the load by writing answers to questions about the book's teachings.

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