Noteworthy Decisions from the October 2014 Board of Trustees Meeting

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Judy Van Cleave
Connie Gutierrez
Connie Gutierrez
Joanne Strobel
Joanne Strobel
Tamara Strumfeld
Tamara Strumfeld

By Judy Van Cleave, secretary, Urantia Foundation, Idaho, United States

Information and Decisions

1. Book Matters

  1. Good news. Book sales in Q3 2014 were up 22% compared with the same period in 2013. Year-to-date, worldwide book sales were up 4% with sizable growth in Latin America.

  2. The Colombian Association of Urantia Association has done wonders for book distribution in their country. They have organized the importation and distribution of books, while significantly reducing the price to make them more affordable to readers.

    Concurrently, the Association in Ukraine has done the same. They have imported books, are distributing them, and the Russian translation is now available at an affordable price.

    The success of alternate channels of distribution in Colombia and Ukraine makes us ask the question whether reader groups in other countries could improve distribution while reducing the cost of books to local readers. We welcome ideas from Urantia Association International, the Urantia Book Fellowship, and independent reader groups who have suggestions as to how to improve distribution outside the United States. Send your proposed ideas to Tamara Strumfeld at [email protected].

  3. The book-printing schedule for 2015 and 2016 is under review. German, English, Spanish, and Portuguese books will be printed in the next 18 months. These print runs will cost upwards of $250,000.

  4. Based on the recommendation of our Brazilian book distributor, we lowered the price of the Portuguese translation of The Urantia Book sold in the Americas by $10 per book. The suggested retail price for hardcovers was $34.95, and now it is $24.95. Paperbacks were $29.95 and are now $19.95. Based on these new lower retail prices, the board hopes to increase the readership in Brazil.

2. The Staff at 533, Volunteers, and Consultants

The team at 533 has been in a good rhythm. Tamara Strumfeld continues to juggle many balls, and thank goodness for her excellent work. She goes from working on book sales, participating in committee meetings, and working on the index and newsletters to solving many day-to-day logistical problems.

Joanne Strobel has been terrific at managing the building, assisting the education committee with UBIS and seminars, simplifying internal office processes, meeting and greeting visitors, and keeping many organizational details in fine order and moving forward.

Connie Gutierrez has been faithfully tending to all the details that keep the business functioning. She pays the bills, wires funds, maintains Quick Books, ships book orders, answers the phone, communicates with the Spanish-speaking readership, and helps everyone when needed.

Beyond the day-to-day duties, our small, hardworking staff has pushed forward on the vital initiatives that directly further the mission of seeding The Urantia Book and its teachings globally.

The Board of Trustees is continuing to analyze the staffing needs at 533 W. Diversey Parkway. We have engaged an outside consulting group to assess our needs, especially in the areas of fundraising, disseminating The Urantia Book globally, and the organizational resources and staffing needed to fund mission-driven programs. For 2015 we will continue to operate without hiring an executive director.

Special thanks go to the volunteers and outside consultants who help keep the Foundation moving forward. To name a few, special thanks to Rogério Silva (translator website), Michael Zehr (UBIS webmaster), the teacher-facilitators at UBIS, the 19 board and staff members of UBIS, Jim Zigarelli (website), Tim Kenny (accounting), Larry Watkins (IT and index) Cece Forrester (index), Mike Wood (social media), Jennifer Siegel (chef and hospitality), MaryJo Garascia (Thoughts to Ponder), the Finnish office team, the dozens of translators and revisors, and all other volunteers who keep progress moving. We also thank the associate trustees and the members of the board committees.

3. 533 W. Diversey Parkway Building Policy

From October 1–November 16, six separate, multiday events are taking place at 533. We are pleased that organizations and groups are having workshops, seminars, and meetings at the historic and beautiful birthplace of the revelation. Because of the increased use of the building, we have simplified our building policy. To learn more about the new policy or for booking the facility, please contact Joanne Strobel at [email protected].

4. Finance Committee Report and Actions

  1. The board approved the finance committee’s recommendation to move the Foundation’s investment account to Bernstein Global Wealth Management effective January 1, 2015.
  2. The board passed the 2015 budget. The income needed for 2015 is up 3% while the expenses are up 1% compared with the past three-year average. Program expenses (book distribution, translations, revisions, outreach, website, education, and more) are up significantly while administrative expenses are down in order to use more of the donor’s gifts to pay for the mission-driven programs.
  3. The end-of-the-year match fundraiser was launched at the October meeting. A small group of donors have given $160,000 to Urantia Foundation if an equal amount of money can be raised to match their gift. This program is a wonderful way for donors to double their gift to Urantia Foundation. For every dollar you give, up to $160,000, a dollar will be matched. Please help us reach the “match” by sending Urantia Foundation a donation before the end of the year.

Foundation Info

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