Noteworthy Decisions from the April 2015 Board of Trustees Meeting

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Judy Van Cleave
Larry Watkins
Larry Watkins
Rogério da Silva
Rogério da Silva
Georges Michelson-Dupont
Georges Michelson-Dupont
Ralph Zehr
Ralph Zehr
Richard Jernigan
Richard Jernigan

By Judy Van Cleave, Trustee, Idaho, United States

Decisions Made

1. Fundraising

The fundraising committee described its plans to launch the “Revelation Bridge,” a new planned-giving fund aimed at generating twenty-five million dollars to safeguard the Urantia Revelation from 2015-2050. Today, almost all donations come from older North Americans. We are entering a time when the largest transfer of wealth in the history of the world is taking place as the North American baby boomers pass on their wealth. Because the next generation of readers is not financially prepared to take on the growing expenses of education, outreach, translations, and book distribution, the aging baby boomers need to build the “Revelation Bridge” from their generation to the next. This is exactly what the early founders did for future generations, and now the baby boomers must do the same. We are very happy to help anyone who wants to donate to the “Revelation Bridge.” Please call Joanne Strobel at 1-773-525-3319 or visit http://urantia.plannedgiving.org/.

2. Translations, Revisions, and the Golden Files

A. Trustee and Manager of Translations Georges Michelson-Dupont reported on the progress of each translation and revision in progress. Even though a translation or revision might take a decade or two to finish, in the foreseeable future, the vast majority of people on earth will be able to read The Urantia Book in their native tongue. We are truly blessed by the service of each translator and revisor! We are especially thankful to Georges for volunteering his time and resources and for coordinating this noble endeavor. Special thanks go to Marilynn Kulieke, Georges Michelson-Dupont, Jay Peregrine, Henk Mylanus, and Tamara Strumfeld for their excellent work on the Translation Committee.

B. Larry Watkins demonstrated the “Vault” to the board. Rogério da Silvia and Larry have been producing what are called the “Golden Files”―the latest version of the English text and each translation―and storing them in the Vault . The Golden Files will preserve the master files of the text in all translations for decades to come. Any time a translation is improved, new Golden Files will be generated and stored in the Vault.

C. Every board meeting comprises two parts. One is the general session with the full board. The other is the executive session that is only attended by trustees and invited presenters. This April’s executive session was spent mostly discussing the need for outside professionals to evaluate the translations and revisions.

Most translations and revisions require tens of thousands of hours to complete and are done by volunteers―as labors of love. We are so thankful for the Foundation’s translators and revisors. Through experience we have learned that having professional outside evaluators, early on, check the quality of a translation or revision dramatically improves the quality of translations and revisions. As time goes on, we shall need more services from professional evaluators. We view it as our duty to publish translations that are as beautiful and as true to the original as is possible.

3. Education

Georges Michelson-Dupont and Ralph Zehr reported that the interest in, and attendance of, the Urantia Book Internet School (UBIS) classes are exploding. To date, over 1,050 students have taken classes since the inception of UBIS. Attendees have come from over 176 countries spanning five continents. Classes are offered in English, Spanish, and French, with Portuguese coming soon.

Gard Jameson, chair of the Education Committee, reported on two events. The first was a recent seminar held at Urantia Foundation that explored the socialization of religion. The other event is the Parliament of World Religions in Salt Lake City this October.

4. Books

Tamara Strumfeld and Henk Mylanus reported on final sales numbers for 2014. Urantia Book sales were up 7% with the biggest increases coming from Latin America.

This summer the Foundation will print 27,000 Urantia Books in English, Spanish, Portuguese, and German . Long-time English readers should enjoy this new printing because we are adding an elegant, limited-edition British Tan LeatherSoft® book. These books will come in an attractive gift box that makes it a splendid gift to give to a loved one or to a new reader.

Urantia Foundation participated in two book fairs during May and June.

5. Public Relations

Richard Jernigan made a presentation for a style guide that Urantia Foundation would use for organizational identification. The purpose of the style guide would be to help Urantia Foundation ensure a dependable degree of dignity, professionalism, and graphic consistency in its work, programs, and dissemination activities. Our desire is that Urantia Foundation presents an image that is consistent with the dignity and values of the fifth epochal revelation.

6. Future Use of the Basement at 533

Gard Jameson presented architectural designs for the Foundation’s basement to be converted into a library and learning center. A feasibility study is being conducted to determine the possibilities, timing, and expenses associated with the idea.

7. The Imprint Label: Urantia Press

The board voted in favor of establishing the first imprint label of Urantia Foundation. Imprint labels are tools used by organizations to distinguish specially published materials from the normal publications. In this case, all future books, videos, and audios will be published under an imprint label, not under the name Urantia Foundation.

The board voted in favor of printing oversized postcards for outreach purposes under the imprint label of Urantia Press. The first set of postcards was available at the book fairs recently attended.

8. Five-Year Organizational and Financial Plan

The board approved Urantia Foundation’s developing a five-year organizational and financial plan. With the help of an outside executive resource, we will set five-year goals with plans for who will do what, by when, and at what cost. This planning process will be rather extensive and is much needed. When finished, the plan will also answer important staffing questions.

9. Recommendations from the Standard Reference Text Committee

A few years ago, under the leadership of Seppo Kenerva, a group of scholarly students of The Urantia Book formed the Standard Reference Text Committee, which has representatives from both organizations currently publishing the book. The committee reviewed all of the changes ever made in The Urantia Book and recommended the “Standard Reference Text” (SRT) a text that would serve as the inviolate text of The Urantia Book for future generations. Both of the current publishers agreed to print only the SRT.

Recently the committee found five more minor errors of grammar and punctuation in the text and recommended that they be corrected and included in the SRT. After review, the Board of Trustees approved these changes, which will be included in future printings of the English text.

Foundation Info

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