Budget adjustments for 2011 will also fund new initiatives.
As the recession enters its second year, the UUA is preparing for another year of reduced income by cutting expenses, laying off staff, and consolidating departments. In addition to the cutbacks, money has also been earmarked to pursue some of UUA President Peter Morales’s goals.
UUA Treasurer and Chief Financial Officer Tim Brennan submitted a budget for Fiscal Year 2011, which starts July 1, to the Board of Trustees at its April meeting. Next year’s income is expected to be about $22.6 million, down from this year’s income of $23 million, a decline of approximately 2 percent.
“For the second year in a row, shaping a budget for the UUA has been extremely challenging,” Brennan said. In the current year 13 staff positions, equivalent to eight full-time employees, have been eliminated—one of several measures taken to close a deficit brought on by reduced income from congregations, investments, and individual donors. Earlier belt-tightening included reducing travel for UUA staff and making several UUA publications electronic only.
In FY2009, the UUA spent $25.52 million. Expenses this year will be about $23 million and next year $22.45 million.
Staff groups within the UUA have also been reorganized to accommodate reduced staff numbers and to better serve congregations. The Advocacy and Witness staff group and the Identity-Based Ministries staff group are merging, as are the Ministry and Professional Leadership staff group and the Lifespan Faith Development staff group.
The proposed budget includes $350,000 to support “strategic priorities” identified by Morales in his first year in office. In a separate report to the board (pdf), Morales said those priorities include improving ministry and diversity within the UUA, public advocacy, and growth.
To reduce expenses, the proposed budget calls for substantial cuts to denominational committees. The Commission on Appraisal’s budget is to be decreased from $34,000 to $24,000. The Commission on Social Witness’s budget will go from $41,000 to $30,000, and the Ministerial Fellowship Committee’s from $184,319 to $117,500.
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Donald E. Skinner was the founding editor of the InterConnections newsletter for congregational leaders and a senior editor of UU World from 1998 until his retirement in 2014. He is a member of the Shawnee Mission Unitarian Universalist Church in Lenexa, Kansas.