Noteworthy Decisions from the January 2019 Board of Trustees Meeting

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Judy Van Cleave

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

2018 was a good year for Urantia Foundation, however there were also disappointments. Progress continued in community relations, education, fundraising, office management, internal financial management, translations and revisions, and especially the new Spanish revision. However, book sales and downloads were down.

Operating expenses were under budget even with an unexpected $29,411 property tax increase from the City of Chicago. The appraisal value tripled over the last three years, which drove the taxes from about $19,000 to $97,000 in 2019. A lot of investigative work has been done to uncover why, and we expect the tax bill to return to the amount of past years.


It sounds overly commercial to judge Urantia Foundation’s success as an organization on book sales and downloads. After all, the crowds who followed Jesus ebbed and flowed throughout his ministry. The difference between then and now is that most people in Palestine had heard Jesus speak or knew of his teachings. Today, since so few have heard of The Urantia Book, the only tangible measurements of seeding the revelation are book sales and downloads.

In 2018, approximately 18,000 books were sold and 82,460 books were downloaded from There were close to 24,000 downloads from the Apple app. Book sales in English, Spanish, and French were up, but these were offset by lower sales in German, Russian, and Portuguese. We are asking ourselves what we can do in 2019 to improve global sales.

No matter how difficult it is to globally distribute a backlisted book from 1955, that’s our job. We do this work with joy and dedication.

Digital technology has changed the face of book distribution. Whether it is eBooks, apps, social media, videos, or websites, the digital distribution of The Urantia Book offers the most significant opportunities for outreach. Urantia Foundation’s team is expanding its technology skills to meet this growing demand. We are working on a few projects that will optimize digital outreach.


Urantia Foundation surpassed its annual fundraising goals in 2018. Unrestricted donations were $731,330, and restricted donations totaled $81,767. A large part of the restricted donations came from the Latin American gift book program and funding to support the creation of a history book. The Revelation Bridge also hit its goal and received $288,632 from estates.

Community Relations

Urantia Foundation remains fervent in its efforts to serve with others who advance the revelation into the world. We are partnering with UAI, the Fellowship, and individuals by supporting conferences, book fairs, book placement, and outreach efforts.

Translations and Revisions

The biggest news in 2018 was the progress made on the Spanish Revision. When finalized in 2020, the revision will replace the Latin American and European editions. In the coming months, more will be shared about Urantia Foundation’s quality processes that have been used to create this outstanding revision.

Highlights from 2018

• Stayed under budget.

• Exceeded the fundraising goals for unrestricted, restricted, and estate funds.

• Made progress on the Greek, Japanese, Chinese, and Hebrew translations.

• Made significant progress on the Spanish and Portuguese revisions.

• Initiated the Spanish Revision Rollout plan.

• Gifted 600 Spanish books in Latin America.

• Upgraded the UBIS website.

• Presented 36 UBIS courses including 9 in Spanish and 9 in French.

• Prepared for and participated with UAI, The Urantia Book Fellowship, and in the Parliament of the World’s Religions.

• Licensed three new UAI Associations (Peru, Ecuador, and Costa Rica).

• With Eric Cosh, filmed a tour of Urantia Foundation that can be viewed on

• Published the 2017 Annual Report.

• Extended leases for the coach house and third-floor apartments.

• Took legal measures to roll back the Chicago property tax increase.

• Established the Outreach Committee.

• Facilitated logistics for the April 2019 Cultural Symposium.

• Launched the 2019 Science Symposium II.

• Hosted 10 events at 533 Diversey (BOT meetings, UBIS board, Urantia Book Fellowship EC, Women's Retreat, Center for Urantia Studies).

• Published Danish and Farsi websites with electronic translations.

• Improved

• Started an Instagram account.

• Kept our global trademarks updated and monitored their use.

• Met with the Fellowship Executive Committee to discuss the effects of competing translations. The result was the Fellowship's promise to contact Urantia Foundation before they endorse a competing translation.

• Lowered our Russian book price to increase sales in Russia.

• Handled day-to-day reader service requests.

• Continued to upgrade the library at Urantia Foundation.

Goals for 2019

1) Books: Seed The Urantia Book and its teachings throughout the world by introducing secondary works, a new enhanced eBook, and a multi-language Android app. Visit book fairs, support reader groups hosting booths at book fairs, and advertise in book-trade catalogs. Partner in outreach efforts, take part in book placement programs, and pay for the creation of outreach videos. Keep The Urantia Book viable in the book trade.

2) Donations: Raise $700,000 in unrestricted donations, $40,000 in restricted donations, and $250,000 in estate donations earmarked for future generations.

3) Budget: Stay at or below our $846,000 operating expense budget and $100,000 capital budget (unless book sales increase beyond expectations). Break even with income and expenses.

4) Taxes: Reduce the property tax for 533 W Diversey from $97,000 to under $35,000.

5) Translations and Revisions: Move the Spanish Revision Rollout plan forward. Continue progress on all in-process translations and revisions.

6) Education: Spread the teachings of the revelation by holding the Cultural Symposium in April 2019. Make progress with UBIS by continuous improvement of its systems.

7) Electronic Media: Provide new content for the English, Spanish, and Portuguese websites. Continue to grow our social media platforms as well.

8) The Future: Create a new five-year plan for Urantia Foundation that includes succession planning for the organization.

Decisions and Information from the January 2019 Board Meeting

1. Board Reports: The board reviewed: a) a report from the president and the executive director, b) a financial and an investments report from the treasurer, and c) reports from the following committees: Book, Education, Governance and Nominating, Finance, Fundraising, Outreach, and Translations.

Proposals and discussions were held regarding new book formats and secondary works that will facilitate the distribution of The Urantia Book. A number of new ideas are being studied and implemented.

2. Education Committee: UBIS board members reported on the progress of the school. New improvements in the courses have increased the experiential integration of the teachings. By enhancing the training program for facilitators, students will experience team teaching and group collaboration. Bruce Johnson volunteered to mentor first-time facilitators and take part in their classes. These changes should attract new students.

Gard Jameson reported that Ralph Zehr would conduct a Science Symposium in November 2019. The symposium, held at the Foundation, will be live-streamed by Gaétan Charland. For those who love science, you’ll want to hear presentations on the ultimaton, quantum physics, and the expansion of the universe.

Claire Mylanus, Marta Elders, and Marilynn Kulieke previewed the purpose and agenda of the upcoming Cultural Symposium. The event happens on April 11-15, 2019, at Urantia Foundation. Twelve attendees from five continents will share their views about their country’s readiness for the revelation. Said Claire, “Accommodating the cultural continuum of civilization on the planet should help Urantia Foundation in understanding and facilitating the teachings in various countries and cultures.”

3. Outreach in the Philippines: The board heard Belen Asidao explain the work that she and her husband, Eugene, have accomplished in the Philippines. They began seven years ago by seeding Urantia Books and establishing study groups.

In 2015, they placed books in the northern part of the Philippines with the help of Urantia Foundation. During their six-month trip in 2018, they visited study groups throughout the country. In the next four to five years, they'll train teachers who are capable of hosting conferences and facilitating study groups. In the next seven to ten years, they plan to translate the book into Tagalog. We are grateful for their pioneering efforts in the Philippines!

Foundation Info

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