Noteworthy Decisions from the July 2009 Board Meeting

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Marilynn Kulieke

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

1. Urantia Foundation's Book Committee

The Board heard a review of book sales from Jay Peregrine, the Executive Director of Urantia Foundation. In spite of a struggling book industry during this recession, Urantia Book sales for the first six months were up 3%. While this may not seem like a notable increase, staying even with last year's sales is a big accomplishment, let alone having growth. It takes real work to keep the book industry excited about a 54 year-old book, especially during a major economic downturn.

We heard inspiring stories about increasing book distribution throughout Europe. We are all beginning to realize that the European history of Urantia Book sales will probably be measured by the pre- and post- "Henk and Claire Mylanus" era. These two people have worked wonders increasing book availability in Europe.

The Board approved a plan to preserve and convert the Foundation's audio book tapes into a format suited for the digital age. The new system protects the audio version while allowing us to create dense compressed files for quick internet downloading with excellent sound resolution. You will hear much more about this exciting development in the coming months.

2. The Governance Committee

On the recommendation of the Governance Committee, the Board of Trustees of Urantia Foundation took the following actions concerning the Book, Finance, and Translation Committees:

  • The Book Committee is a permanent standing committee with an approved charter.
  • The charter of the Finance Committee was adopted.
  • The Translation Committee is a permanent standing committee.

With activities blossoming across the globe, an increasing number of participating volunteers is required. We have reached critical mass and need more organizational predictability and processes. These structures will pave the way for the next generation of leadership.

3. Website Update

The Board approved a plan and budget for the Foundation's new and improved website at We expect these improvements to start showing up by December with continued improvements during 2010. Knowing the number of monthly visitors to our site, we anticipate that these improvements will be critically important to the work of Urantia Foundation as we serve the mission of distributing the book and its teachings into the world.

4. Financial Matters

At the end of six months, Urantia Foundation's spending reflects significant budget reductions due to the 2009 recession. While our day to day spending has dropped, there remains large capital budget needs for 2009 book printings, translations, website improvements, and building upkeep. The Board plans to launch another matching fund-raising campaign toward the end of 2009 along with a grass roots effort for people to donate a dollar a day to Urantia Foundation projects. We need you, we count on you, and we thank you for your generous contributions – no matter how small.

The Board reviewed and approved the financial statements and audits for 2007 and 2008.

5. Standard Reference Text

The Board received the final report from the Standard Reference Text Committee and offered a heart-felt thank you to committee members: Seppo Kanerva (Chairman), Merritt Horn, Marilynn Kulieke, Jay Peregrine, Marvin Gawryn, and Nancy Johnson. Special thanks also go out to all the people who double checked the work, challenged the assumptions, reviewed the recommendations, and modified the proposals. And especially, thanks to Carolyn Kendall for her contributions.

Further consideration of the proposed Standard Reference Text will take place in October of 2009.

Urantia Book Standard Referencing System6. Standard Referencing System

The Board adopted the referencing system recommended by the Standard Reference Text Committee for future electronic versions of The Urantia Book and its translations. This will allow for a universal methodology for the numbering of paragraphs that will remain consistent in all languages and digital formats such as the internet, digital books, and any other future electronic types of media.

There are three major benefits of a universal digital paragraph numbering system:

  1. People can link directly to any specific paragraph in The Urantia Book from another website.
  2. People can locate any paragraph in the book regardless of what language or edition they are using (for example, the new English iPod book would use the same paragraph referencing system as would the Finnish book which appears on the Foundation's website).
  3. All study aids gain referencing consistency and precision searching based on using a universal numbering system.

7. Translation Committee

Trustee Georges Michelson-Dupont, the Manager of Translations, reported on a web-enabled tool to assist teams translating the book and teams revising and correcting existing translations.

Inasmuch as the Swedish translation is nearing completion, Henk and Claire Mylanus will be visiting Sweden to make arrangements for its distribution and storage.

8. Urantia Book Clubs

The Trustees voted to recognize and sell books directly to "Urantia Book Clubs" as a means to introduce the book and distribute it in countries which do not have strong book distribution channels. These clubs will be able to buy books directly from Urantia Foundation in quantities of 10 or more at wholesale prices.

There are some guidelines, however, in order to avoid undermining the distribution of books in the book market:

  1. The club must agree not to sell books to bookstores or any other type of retailer.
  2. Book club members have the right to sell books to their families, friends, and other members at whatever price they choose.
  3. All orders from book clubs must be prepaid with freight included.
  4. Clubs in countries with mature book markets, such as exist in the United States, do not qualify for book club discounts.

The Trustees extend their thanks to Associate Trustee Irmeli Ivalo-Sjölie for encouraging the Board to find a solution for distributing books within countries that do not have established channels of book distribution. Additional thanks go to Nemias Mol from Brazil who echoed the need for different distribution methods. Finally, thanks to Associate Trustee Jan Bernard for seeing this project through.

9. UBIS Website Update

Executive Director Jay Peregrine reported on the significant improvements being made to the website of The Urantia Book Internet School (UBIS). Changes in the website are slated for completion by January 1, 2010. Dorothy Elder, Chairwoman of UBIS, expects that the new software will create an ever increasing positive experience for both students and teachers. We thank the dedicated and generous individuals who anonymously donated the funds to improve the UBIS website.

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