UUA’s financial picture improves

After two years of “very difficult” budgets the UUA is in a better position this year, reported Paul Rickter, chair of the UUA Finance Committee and trustee from the Massachusetts Bay District, to the General Assembly during Friday’s plenary session. His comments were expanded upon Saturday by UUA Financial Advisor Dan Brody in his annual report.

Rickter said giving to the Annual Program Fund, the primary way in which congregations fund the UUA, is up slightly for the first time in four years. Total fundraising is up 3 percent. Total UUA income for the fiscal year starting in July is expected to be just under $23.7 million, said Rickter, compared to $22.7 million this year.

On Saturday Brody noted that last year was “bleak” financially. He added, “The situation is now looking much brighter. We are narrowly in the black.” All through the past few years, even though giving by congregations fell, it only fell about 5 percent, he said. “The situation would have been far worse without those steadfast congregations.”

The UUA has had to cut several staff positions in the past two years and make cuts to programs to maintain a balanced budget. No staff cutbacks are anticipated in the next year, Brody said.

Brody said the UUA’s endowment funds fell by about 50 percent between 2007 and 2009 but have now recovered most of those losses. Beacon Press’s reserves have also increased. The publisher now has a reserve of about $3 million.

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