UUA Financial Advisor reports a brighter situation

“It’s my pleasure to report on some highlights of the association’s finances,” said Dan Brody, the financial advisor of the UUA, reporting on the Association’s financial health to the Saturday morning Plenary. “When I reported last year, the Association’s financial outlook was bleak.” That bleak financial outlook had led to staff layoffs and other painful budget cuts.

But, said Brody, this year “the situation is much brighter.” In the last fiscal year, FY10, the UUA finished “narrowly in the black,” said Brody. And in more good news, developing a balanced budget for the coming fiscal year, FY12, “did not require further cutbacks.”

“A real bright spot,” Brody said, “has been the stability in the contributions by congregations to the Annual Program Fund,” or APF. Because APF revenue has held up so well, he said that nearly half of the general operating revenue of the UUA now comes from the APF. By comparison, in FY 99 only about a third of general operating revenue came from the APF.

“The [UUA's financial] situation would have been far worse without the steadfast commitment of so many of our congregations,” Brody said. He pointed out that even though many congregations are facing their own budget challenges, they continue to provide strong support to the APF.

Turning to the UUA endowment, Brody was able to offer more good news. “Endowment funds have been on a wild ride for the past few years,” he said. “The UUA endowment has been performing very well compared to similarly sized endowments.” The UU Common Endowment Fund, or UUCEF, “outperformed at least 85% of comparably sized funds.”

Brody reminded the Plenary that UUCEF continues in “aligning our investments with our values,” through socially responsible investing. He said that many UU congregations have put their endowment funds in UUCEF, to take advantage of both UUCEF’s socially responsible investing and its excellent performance. “I urge you to consider moving your endowment to UUCEF,” he said.

In other areas, Brody was pleased to report that Beacon Press is doing well financially, and generated an operating surplus in FY10. Because of that, Beacon Press now has a financial cushion.

“The UUA health plan has been a huge success,” Brody reported. He said that the plan has seen enrollment growth in every year since it was founded. “The plan’s finances are in excellent shape,” he said, and where comparable health plans have averaged a 30% increase over the last four years, the cost of the UUA health plan has increased only 22%.

“Our goal is to have 100% of all employees [of UU congregations] covered by a health plan,” he said, whether the employees are covered by the UUA Health Plan or other forms of health insurance.

Reports from the Financial Advisor for the past several years are available online here; click on the link 2010 report to access the present report. Financial reports from the UUA Treasurer, which contain more detail, are also available online.

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