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Unitarian Universalist Church of Tucson

Letter to the Congregation: Financial Situation

Our Financial Situation - April 17, 2020

From the Board of Trustees, Finance and Stewardship Committees, and Minister and Staff

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused grief and hardship for many people in the world and in our community. This is true for UUCT and our members and friends. We hope you and your loved ones are well physically, mentally, and financially. This letter is to keep you fully informed about our church's financial situation, plans for the next year, and to recognize the changed circumstances some of you may be facing.

There is a great deal of uncertainty in our finances, both in this fiscal year (July 2019 to June 2020) and budgeting for the next (July 2020 to June 2021). There are three principle reasons. One is our current transition to on-line services starting March 15th, resulting in changes to giving patterns, as well as in our expenses and rental income. The second is the general economic situation that will have ripple effects for some time to come. And finally there are the changes to the financial situation of our sustaining members and friends.

Before we discuss these further, we want you to know that at this time UUCT is not in imminent financial danger. We continue to pay our staff and bills and to receive income from pledges, donations, and renters. Our staff and the Baja 4 ministers continue to provide pastoral and spiritual services including weekly on-line worship.

We also want you to know, as we discuss your continued support, that if your circumstances have, or will, change we encourage you to confidentially let our minister (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) and/or stewardship chair (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) know. We care about you and it is ok if you need to change your pledge.

Current Stewardship and Support

Our primary sources of income are pledge fulfillment, donations, fundraisers, and rentals. Fortunately our fundraisers are behind us and were successful. Many of you have prepaid or use automatic means to fulfill your pledges. Our main concern is for those who primarily contributed to UUCT on Sunday during the offering. Instead, you may mail checks to the office or switch to electronic methods. You can discuss your options with our administrator (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.).

Donations, including Share the Plate, were largely received during the offertory. These are potentially significantly impacted by loss of the Sunday worship services in our beautiful sanctuary. You are asked to use our credit card service (which can be reached by the link or the On-line Giving button on our website), the very easy to use Text-to-Give (1-833-361-5796), or checks sent to the office. The on-line giving gives you the option to identify the contribution and use the memo line for checks. A tutorial video on Text-to-Give is here. After setting up an initial “profile” these options are easy to use for subsequent donations.

As noted in the introduction, we have been receiving pledges. We are working to understand how this compares to normal times for which we need a month or two track record. Since we closed the campus on March 10th up to April 5th our pledge deposits were $22,711, which is within the normal range of a month. Our non-pledge deposits (donation and offertory) were $2,511. This is similar to giving for July to November while lower than December to February when there were special collections and enhanced Share the Plate. What are substantially down are room rentals, which is to be expected.

Our main renter, the Children's Center, has been substantially affected as all but essential workers have removed their children. They have made a partial rent payment, which we fully understand. We will be working with them to ensure a just and compassionate adjustment.

On the expense side the staff and finance committee are working to keep expenses down. The FC has requested that non-urgent expenses be minimized as much as possible while they understand the cash flow situation we are currently encountering. A detailed report will be provided separately.

In summary, if you relied on the offertory to fulfill your pledge or make donations learn about the on-line options and keep supporting UUCT but with our understanding that some may have a changed financial status.

Employee Compensation

In keeping with our values the Board has directed that our employees, including our Sunday childcare providers, continue to be paid. Our minister, LFD director, music director, and pianist are working from home. Our administrator works from home and comes to handle matters at the office, including mailed checks, on a reduced schedule. Our custodian is on campus to keep an eye on things, also on a reduced schedule. Everyone is working as hard as they are able to fulfill their duties.

Something that many of you have asked about is the federal support for employees authorized by Congress. Yes! we have submitted an application with our bank for $124,072 from this program. It is a loan that is forgiven provided the money is largely used for 2.5 months of employee compensation, which of course we fully intend to do. If we get this money it will ensure that our fiscal year will end in the black even with some decrease in our other income. Note, that the amount includes our No More Deaths employees since UUCT is the legal employer though they are managed by and work for NMD. We were in the queue for a loan/grant but the money has run out and we were not funded. We are hopeful that Congress will pass a bill with additional funding for the program and our application will be granted.

The Minister’s Discretionary Fund

If you are financially struggling, please reach out to Rev. Bethany (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.). She can refer any UUCT member or friend to Interfaith Community Services and you will receive a call from them within a few days. Beyond that, bills or basic needs that ICS cannot meet may be able to be paid for through the Minister's Discretionary Fund.

There has been some interest from friends with stable income in donating some or all of their stimulus payment to support our members and friends. If you are so inclined you may donate this to the Minister's Discretionary Fund. The purpose of this fund is to support our church family members who are in need and from which our minister can confidentially provide help. To do this you can use mail or via the on-line donation to “Minister Discretionary”.

Fiscal Year July 2020-June 2021

Our Stewardship Campaign for the next fiscal year (our church’s financial/budgeting year) was successful due to your generous pledges. The Finance Committee began to build a budget around our expectations for a normal year. However, we are all recognizing that such expectations may not apply because of the economic effects of COVID-19 and the general shutdown of the economy. So the plan is to be conservative with a transition budget to be adopted in June and then a revised budget in the fall as we see where the economy is going.

Again, some of you may find yourselves in a situation where your next year’s pledges are no longer within your means. We encourage you to let us know your realistic pledge by confidentially letting the minister or pledge chair know. This is important to help us plan our budget. Any revised pledge total will be forwarded to the Finance Committee. You can use email or the same on-line pledge form (or the Pledge button on our website) with a comment that this is a change in your pledge.

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