Noteworthy Decisions from the October 2017 Board of Trustees Meeting

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Judy Van Cleave

Overview

Q3 2017 was a good quarter for Urantia Foundation. There has been plenty of work to do and a steady stream of visitors who came and went as summer passed into fall. Most importantly, at the beginning of September Tamara Strumfeld became the new executive director of Urantia Foundation. It is thrilling and a blessing to witness the next generation of leadership taking charge!

During the next year Tamara and the board will spend quality time thinking about the organization of the future. We have stepped into the bold new world of virtual workspaces where most of our team members work from their homes across the world. Even with a virtual work force, succession planning is at the top of our agenda. Jesus said to pray for workers so we are praying and scouting. If you have underutilized talents and want to volunteer, please send us your resume and what you would like to do. The Foundation needs help!

Sometime in late spring of 2018, Joanne and John Strobel will move back to Georgia. She will continue working remotely for the Foundation. Replacing Joanne will be difficult, since she wears many hats including building management, executive assistant to the president and board, UBIS coordination, project management, and seminar/meeting coordination. We are all replaceable, but that theory will be tested when Joanne leaves 533.

A reader of The Urantia Book is needed to fill this position. If you are looking for a job and have a high level of executive assistant and project management experience, please send inquiries and your resume to Joanne at [email protected]. This job is Chicago-based, and for the right person, it presents a once in a lifetime opportunity to serve at the birthplace of the revelation and get paid to do it!

Henk Mylanus
Henk Mylanus

In Appreciation of Henk Mylanus

With deep respect and appreciation for a job well done, a reception to honor the retirement of Trustee Henk Mylanus was held during the October board meeting. Henk has served the Foundation as our European sales manager and trustee. He will continue as the sales manager in Europe and will serve in the role of trustee emeritus. Henk, thank you for your many years of love and dedicated service. We have been honored to serve side by side with you!

Community Relations

The Urantia Book community continues to exhibit good will, peace, cooperation, and understanding. In keeping with the increasing good will between organizations, we have budgeted money to sponsor the UAI conferences in Amsterdam and Colombia in 2018. We have also budgeted outreach funds to share expenses with readers/organizations attending book fairs, outreach events, and the Parliament of World Religions.

Books

2017 year-to-date physical book sales are slightly down while Internet downloads are up 43%. This might be the precursor to a future where expanding digital downloads dramatically outpace bookstore sales. The good news is that either way, The Urantia Book is getting into the world.

Index of The Urantia Book

The index project that began many decades ago is finally finished! The first edition of the index will be uploaded to urantia.org soon and will link to the online text. An enhanced e-book is also being planned which, in addition to the index linked to the text file of the book, will include a pronunciation guide, a glossary of terms, and a Urantia history timeline.

A printed version of the index is being discussed now. Would you be interested in buying a stand-alone index separate from the book itself? What about a Urantia Book which is complete with an index at the back?

The New LeatherSoft™ Cambridge Edition of The Urantia Book

The new LeatherSoft™ Cambridge edition of The Urantia Book is now available. This beautiful book feels so classy and is easy to carry. It’s the perfect addition to your Urantia Book collection and will make the perfect gift for family and friends. See: https://www.urantia.org/news/2017-12/new-cambridge-edition-available-now

Translations and Revisions

The October 2017 board meeting was a significant milestone because five members of the Spanish revision team met at 533 simultaneously with the expanded board. Click here to read more. The Spanish revision has been underway since 2011, and we expect its completion in 2020. With over 154,000 Spanish books in distribution, it’s vitally important that the Spanish translation is true to the English text and beautiful in language. And as with all translations, refinement and improvement over time will produce the best translation.

We are deeply indebted to the Spanish Revision Team—Carmelo Martínez, Spain; Anibal Pacheco, Chile; Olga López, Spain; Víctor García-Bory, Mexico and NYC; and Raúl Pujol, Puerto Rico and Florida. Thank you for the thousands of volunteer hours you have spent improving the current translation. A giant thanks also goes to Urantia Foundation’s Translation Committee, volunteer consulting reader groups, and the donations that have made this project possible.

Carmelo Martínez, Anibal Pacheco, Olga López, Víctor García-Bory, Raúl Pujol
Carmelo Martínez, Anibal Pacheco, Olga López, Víctor García-Bory, Raúl Pujol

Donations

Year to date, unrestricted donations in 2017 are slightly above 2016. With the upcoming winter match fundraiser, we hope to raise enough donations to cover expenses for 2017. Our investments, while conservatively managed, have had a nice increase due to a positive stock market. While we intend not to dip into the investment accounts, it is encouraging to see those investments growing to protect us from economic downturns and for the benefit of future generations.

Revelation Bridge Endowment Fund

For the last few years we have been talking about creating a new restricted endowment fund titled Revelation Bridge Endowment Fund. The fund is intended to secure the financial security of the Urantia Revelation for the next generation. The plan for the fund is to preserve its principal and appreciation until the time when it is needed. Providing for the growth and stability of Urantia Foundation will help prepare it to secure the revelation in the future.

Now for the good news: In the last year, two estates were settled and Urantia Foundation was generously bequeathed $395,000. Additionally, Richard Keeler, Urantia Foundation’s longest serving trustee and major contributor to the Foundation’s work, has decided to put the money that he has been investing for the Foundation into the new Revelation Bridge Endowment Fund. Combining Richard’s most generous gift with the two estate settlements brings the seed capital in the Revelation Bridge to over $1,000,000. Our goal is to build the fund to $25,000,000. We should all feel good about passing that inheritance onto future generations of believers.

If you are thinking about putting Urantia Foundation in your will, please do so! If you want your donations designated for future generations, specify that your estate gift be placed into the Revelation Bridge Endowment Fund.

Operating Expenses

Year to date operating expenses are $539,498 in 2017 compared to $527,108 in 2016. We are 3% above a year ago but 10% below budget. We are anticipating ending 2017 with operating expenses 3.5% above 2016 but 6% below budget.

Succession Planning

For the last number of years we have talked about the millennial generation inheriting The Urantia Book. For whatever reasons, the Urantia movement only attracted a small number of Gen Xers in North America. Once we realized that we had lost a generation, we started focusing on the millennial generation. Hopefully we will be more effective in attracting them than we were with Gen X. Interestingly enough, demographers are now talking about Gen Z. For those in the North American Urantia movement, within the next ten years, Gen Z will become the largest potential source of new readers and leaders.

It’s also worth noting some of the most recent trends in religion with North American youth. It will be interesting to see if some of the same secular trends that have negatively affected Europe continue to grow in North America. Will Gen Z accelerate or reverse the negative religious trends of the millennial generation?

Here is a link to a recent Pew study: http://www.pewforum.org/religious-landscape-study/generational-cohort/.

In one of the charts in the above link you will see Gen Z’s interest in the wonders of the universe. Young people are attracted to that subject, and that is good for us. We have the only religious book in the world that explains what our scientists and astronomers are seeing through Hubble. We have the only religious book in the world that explains the wonders of the universe!

Minoo Treichler
Minoo Treichler
Mark Hutchings
Mark Hutchings

Major Actions and Decisions

• With great pleasure we announce that Mark Hutchings and Minoo Treichler were elected as associate trustees. Mark lives in Las Vegas where he practices law. Minoo lives in Switzerland, where she has an active career as a graphic designer. Both Mark and Minoo have distinct and valuable skills to accomplish the mission of seeding The Urantia Book and its teachings throughout the world. Beyond their skills, both are dedicated and loving readers of the book. Please join the board in welcoming them to the team. 

• The board reviewed the reports of the president and the executive director, and the committee reports from Book, Education, Finance, Fundraising, Governance and Nominating, and Translation Committees.

• The board voted that when the Translation Committee approves a new revision, and when it is approved by the board, this revision will be given a new text identification number (TIN). It will also be made available in electronic form as an e-book for sale and as a free download at urantia.org. The existing inventory of physical books will continue to be sold until the stock is depleted. The ramifications of this decision are important to the translators and revisers. Oftentimes we have slow-moving and expensive inventories, and if a revision is not introduced until all the old books are sold, it could be years before the revision sees the light of day. With this new policy, revisions like the Finnish completed by Seppo Kanerva will be published on the web long before the revised books are printed. Considering that web downloads are greater than physical books sold, this decision brings the new revision to readers in a timely manner.

• The board voted to form a new and permanent (standing) Outreach Committee contingent upon the development and approval of its charter by the trustees. While outreach activities are intrinsic to our day-to-day activities, we have never had a formal committee solely focused on this important effort. We envision this committee working with individuals and organizations like the Urantia Book Fellowship and Urantia Association International (UAI) to achieve outreach goals.

• The trustees accepted the proposal of Chris Wood, president of UAI, to hold a joint meeting of representatives of both organizations to discuss increased cooperation to achieve mutually agreed-upon service goals.

• The board passed the 2018 budget.

Foundation Info

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