by Peter Krone, chair, 2016 UUCF Annual Giving Campaign.

I have been at UUCF for just over 30 years and have worked on many giving campaigns – pledge drives, canvasses, annual giving and capital fundraising efforts and I have been asked WHY – why take on the task of chairing this year’s campaign? I think the answer came to me in our deliberations about this year’s theme – “Now, more than ever, we are called”:

We are called to be a presence in this community – to keep our doors open so that we may welcome the stranger, the visitor – remembering that at some time, we all have been visitors here.

We are called to extend our greeting – “you are welcome here” – beyond our Sanctuary walls to those participating via live streaming, listening to podcasts, browsing our website and wherever the values of our faith may be welcome or needed.

We are called to ensure the religious education of our children and youth, the continuing education of adults, the education of members of our larger community, education for UUs in India and Romania and to raise the next generation to do good.

We are called to support our ministers and staff, upon whom we depend so much, with a fair and just income.

We are called to social justice for working toward climate solutions, fighting for racial justice, preventing gun violence, working to end homelessness and hunger, supporting our immigrant neighbors and fighting for reproductive justice, just to mention a few.

And, now more than ever, we are called to be an alternative, through what we say and what we do, to the fear, anger and hate that is becoming an everyday experience in our society.

Now, more than ever, we are really called.

This year’s campaign is UUCF’s largest and most significant fundraising effort, providing almost 80% of the funds needed to run our congregation. Our goal this year is more than $1 million – $1.072 million to be exact – and this goal is consistent with prior-year goals and is necessary to support our congregation for 2016-17.

Last year, the actual giving amount was $100,000 short of the goal. We ended up at $970,000. It was a year of transition for us and because of a generous bequest from Stan Richards and some budget cuts, we were able to meet our financial obligations and avoid a staff furlough. This year, we need to make up that difference and the math is simple – $100,000 from a projected 500 pledging households is a $200 increase for each annual pledge. (That works out to an increase of about $17 per month.) Now I understand that this may not be possible for everyone, so meeting our goal is going to require each of us to give some serious thought about our giving levels. I encourage everyone to participate – 100% participation – and to consider the giving guidelines of 2% of gross income or at least a $200 increase in your pledge amount. Any and all pledges will be gratefully accepted.

I believe it’s important to communicate expectations about UUCF’s financial goals and then work hard to achieve those goals. Talking about the congregation’s financial needs is not always an easy conversation, but it is a necessary one. I strongly encourage you, even if you are uncomfortable with financial matters, to study and understand UUCF’s finances – where our money comes from and how it is used – as you consider your pledge amount. Please ask if you have questions.

I want to thank everyone who picked up their Annual Giving pledge packets yesterday. For those who were unable to do so, your packet will be mailed to you. Packets include a wonderful message from Rev. David Miller, a pledge card with pledging instructions, recommended giving levels and financial information about UUCF. Pledges may be mailed, entered online or delivered in person on Sunday mornings. Also, your pledge is confidential – no one on the Annual Giving Committee will know what you pledge.

I also want to reiterate my thanks and appreciation for the Annual Giving Campaign committee, staff and volunteers who have worked on this campaign. The Annual Giving Committee – Terry Goplerud, David Saunders, Barbara Kenny and Darryl Branting and I – has been actively working on this campaign and we are supported by our staff, Rev. David, Director of Administration Rich Sider and Communications Director Mary Lareau.

Now, more than ever … let’s make this happen.