Newton, Mass., finance expert seeks second term as UUA officer at 2009 General Assembly.
According to the UUA’s bylaws, the financial advisor is charged with advising the UUA president and Board of Trustees “on financial policy and with assisting the Board in long-range planning by reviewing the sources of funds, the application of funds designated for specific purposes, the balance between foreseeable income and proposed expenditures, and the overall financial welfare of the Association.”
“The role of the financial advisor is to be an impartial observer,” Brody said in a recent interview. “Not someone who’s responsible for the organization’s day-to-day operations, but someone who the Board of Trustees, the president, and the member congregations can call on for an impartial evaluation of how things are going and what ought to be done. . . . It’s kind of a check and balance.”
Brody, a resident of Newton Highlands, Mass., has been an active member of First Unitarian Society in Newton for the past 15 years. A graduate of Harvard University, Brody also has a master’s degree in city and regional planning from the University of California at Berkeley.
During Brody’s tenure as financial advisor he assisted the UUA in adopting a new health plan offering affordable insurance coverage to ministers, church employees, and UUA staff; helped build a strong working relationship between the UUA’s Investment Committee and the Committee on Socially Responsible Investing; and initiated an accounting system allocating the cost of office space among the UUA’s staff groups to better assess the operating cost of each program.
Brody has extensive experience in the profit and nonprofit business worlds. He is currently working as chief financial officer for the Boston Museum, a small nonprofit dedicated to building a Boston history museum on one of the parcels of land reclaimed after the completion of Boston’s “Big Dig” project.
Previously, he was vice president of the Keefe Company, a small urban planning and real estate development firm, from 2002 to 2007. From 1990 to 2001, he served as assistant dean for Financial Management and Planning at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. From 1985 to 1989 he was employed by the state of Massachusetts as budget analyst, assistant state budget director, and deputy state budget director.
If elected, Brody’s goals for his next term include revising the UUA’s endowment spending policy; exploring options for funding the cost of future capital campaigns; improving the UUA’s financial reporting; simplifying the accounting for unrestricted gift and bequest income; reviewing the management of debt, cash, and short-term investments; and monitoring the development of facilities renewal policies.
Brody dedicates ten to twelve hours per week to the job, which is voluntary. That work includes attending meetings of the UUA Board and its executive committee, the Finance Committee, the Audit Committee, the Investment Committee, the Committee on Socially Responsible Investing, the UUA Health Plan Board of Trustees, and the Administrative Organization and Personnel Committee, among others. Despite the many hours, and the lack of pay, Brody loves the job. “It’s given me the opportunity to apply my experience and skills in service to a movement that’s very important to me,” he said.
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Jane Greer is a former senior editor of UU World magazine.