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Submitted by Bill Schulz on Tue, 11/27/2012 - 8:20am.
William F. Schulz
When an organization has a huge budget, it can afford to waste a few dollars here and there without worrying that that profligacy will have a substantial impact on its mission. For an organization of UUSC's size, however, every penny counts.
That's why we're so proud we spend 87 cents of every dollar on programs. And it's why we take the three themes of of our 2012 Annual Report so seriously.
First, engagement. We're eager to use the people power at our disposal to optimize our effectiveness. Our members, most of whom are associated with Unitarian Universalist congregations, are natural born activists. They're itching to get their hands dirty, be it on their computer keyboards taking online actions or by building an eco-village in Haiti. UUSC is committed to helping our members do justice because a modest investment in activism can bring enormous dividends to everyone.
Second, innovation. Wherever we go in the world, we ask ourselves, "Who's been forgotten and who is doing the most creative, groundbreaking work to transform and empower those forgotten populations?" By finding the most innovative, entrepreneurial approaches to problems and crises, we accomplish several things at once: we support the risk takers, those on the cutting edge, who governments or more traditional agencies may have overlooked or shunned; we encourage new solutions to old quandaries; we engage with communities, often of women or ethnic minorities, too often marginalized in their societies; and we do all this at a modest cost.
But how do we know whether what we, our activists, and our partners are doing is truly making a difference, accomplishing our objectives? That brings us to our third theme, impact. Over the past year UUSC has begun a groundbreaking process of establishing measurements of project success and accountability, doing an honest assessment of impact, and learning from our achievements and perhaps even more often from when we fall short of our goals. It's not always easy to measure social change. Not everything we do is by any means quantifiable. But we're experimenting with different approaches to measuring impact because we know that at the end of the day the only thing that really counts is how many lives we've actually changed.
You'll find in our annual report many examples of our engagement with activists, our commitment to innovation, and our determination to make an identifiable impact on the world. You'll also find the voices and names of many of those who make our work possible; who know that UUSC is smart, nimble, and relentless; who want to see the cause of justice flourish; and who are convinced that UUSC is one of best means to make it so.
To all of you who have made that investment, be it in time, energy, or money, our warmest, deepest thanks. Happy reading!
William F. Schulz
President and CEO
Chair, Board of Trustees
Submitted by Maxine Neil on Fri, 06/29/2012 - 11:31am.
I am happy to report that 3,858 generous donors have given a total of more than $339,000 to help UUSC surpass the 2012 Annual Fund Campaign goal of $300,000. Thank you!
Not only did we reach our campaign goal, but we also — with your help — met the $100,000 matching challenge as well.
Your loyalty to human rights and social justice were exhibited in a tangible way by how you answered this vital call to support UUSC. Whether you made your gift online, sent it through the mail, or talked with one of our callers on the phone, your amazing response helped us meet this year's goal.
Be confident that — because of your commitment — more than 50 partners in 20 countries around the world will be able to rely on UUSC's partnership to advance human rights and social justice.
On behalf of the staff and the ultimate beneficiaries of your generosity, thank you! We could not have done it without you.
Submitted by Guest on Mon, 04/09/2012 - 6:09am.
Mark Cronin-Golomb gives his UUSC marathon jersey a test run.
This year, two dedicated athletes are running the Boston Marathon to raise funds for UUSC. One of the runners, post author Mark Cronin-Golomb of the UU Church of Reading, Mass., is excited to have this opportunity to support an organization that reflects his values.
I love to run. It lets you get out in the open air, and if you go a long way, you can take in some interesting scenery. You meet fascinating people with similar philosophies and goals. And I enjoy that those not in the know sometimes think we are a little crazy. There is nothing like getting together at the starting line on the day of a race with hundreds, or even thousands, of people whose main goal is to challenge themselves and maybe get a little fitter.
I ran my first marathon — the Boston Marathon — in 2008, with the Tufts University Marathon Team, a group of some 200 students, faculty, staff, and alumni. We raised money for nutrition research at the Tufts Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, whose mission is to improve the nutritional well-being of people worldwide. I learned a lot that time around, about how deceptively difficult the course is and how important proper pacing is. The last third of a mile on Boylston Street was pure pain.
Over the years that my family has belonged to the UU church, I've come to appreciate the importance of the work it does to promote the Seven Principles, which rightly belong to any civilized society. UUSC in particular works tirelessly toward that goal, and it gives me the greatest pleasure to be able to run the marathon this year in support of its efforts. While this is not my first marathon (in fact it will be my fifth), it is the first time I have tried to raise a substantial amount of money specifically for a cause in which I believe. In this case, the marathon is simply a means toward an end. If the fact that I am running 26.2 miles encourages people to give, well that's great. But my real goal is to convince others that UUSC is an organization worth giving to, for the good that it does.
And maybe this time with a little marathon experience under my belt, that last third of a mile won't be quite so painful.
Submitted by Bill Schulz on Wed, 07/06/2011 - 7:57am.
I set the bar high for UUSC's 2011 Annual Fund Campaign because I knew people would want to help us advance human rights and to do so in as robust a way as possible.
Some people thought we were asking too much of our supporters. But they proved the skeptics wrong — UUSC members' dedication to protecting human rights and promoting social justice is simply astounding.
Between April 1 and June 30, over 5,500 individual supporters and 190 Unitarian Universalist congregations donated $655,407 to help UUSC stand with those fighting injustice here in the United States and in more than 20 countries.
The generosity of these supporters helped us surpass our goal — I could not be more grateful. Please accept my warmest wishes for an enjoyable summer as we continue working for the inherent worth and dignity of every person and lifting up the voices of those confronting injustice.
Submitted by Charles Huschle. on Tue, 04/19/2011 - 7:59am.
Cheska Barneveld (front, center), one of UUSC's runners in the Boston Marathon, with (left to right) Constance Kane, Charles Huschle, and Maxine Neil.
Yesterday's 115th Boston Marathon made history in two ways. Geoffrey Mutai of Kenya won the race in the fastest marathon time ever recorded: two hours, three minutes, two seconds. And for the first time, three volunteers ran to represent UUSC, raising $4,810 so far to support UUSC's human-rights programs around the world.
Raghav Raghavacharya ran a blistering 3:34:07! Constance Kane, vice president and COO, and Maxine Neil, director of the Institutional Advancement Department, welcomed him at the finish line with profuse congratulations and thanks. Then he caught a cab to Logan because he has to be back at work today, at Google in Mountain View, California!
Missy Shea, of Salem, Mass., ran her fourth marathon in a time of 4:19:43. She was proud to be able to run for justice — and for her fourth child. Shea decided some years ago that she wanted to teach her children that nothing was impossible as long as you put your mind — and your body — into it. UUSC is proud to support Shea in showing the next generation that good things can come of good effort. And we're excited that she found us on Twitter after we started promoting the chance to run for UUSC in the Boston Marathon.
Cheska Barneveld, of Hoboken, N.J., ran her first Boston Marathon in 4:43:16. Barneveld has had a busy year, running for several charities in a New York half-marathon and other full marathons. She found UUSC on Facebook! And she met Constance Kane, Maxine Neil, and me at the finish line and expressed her joy at having run so well — as well as the intention to run again for UUSC in other road races.
Congratulations, runners — and thank you to all their supporters! The runners had a team goal of raising $10,000, so we still need to raise about $5,000 more to reach that goal. We have until May 5 to report our fundraising results, so please help these runners, and UUSC's annual fund, by making a gift today! It's easy to do at www.crowdrise.com/runforjustice.
Submitted by Charles Huschle. on Tue, 03/22/2011 - 6:52am.
We're excited to announce that UUSC's Run for Justice has three dedicated runners warming up for the 115th Boston Marathon, to take place on April 18, 2011. One is a Salem, Mass., mom who is running her fourth marathon; another hails from India and has run marathons all over the world; and our third is a restaurant manager from New Jersey who has raised nearly $30,000 in past charitable marathon fundraising.
Melissa Shea, from Salem, Mass., started running 15 years ago with a goal to run a 5K. After a few months of training, she ran her first 5K, which gave her the confidence to set higher goals. Since then, she has completed three Boston Marathons, two half-marathons, and, as she says, "more road races than I can count!" Melissa has four children and made a promise to run a Boston Marathon for each one of them. Why? Melissa says, "Whether I am sky diving, running a marathon, climbing a mountain, or zip-lining, I hope that setting and achieving goals has taught my children that nothing is impossible." Support Melissa.
Raghav Raghavacharya, from Sunnyvale, Calif., will be running his fourth Boston Marathon this year. An accomplished runner, Raghav has run 35 marathons in 10 years, in places from Hollywood to Bollywood, Silicon Valley to Bangalore — and several cities across the United States. Along the way, he has trained and mentored several runners in the Bay area and India. Raghav couples his commitment to running with a passion for social causes, approaching each marathon with zeal and enthusiasm to help foster universal access to justice, education, and opportunity. He has raised thousands of dollars for medical research and for organizations serving children in India, and now turns his efforts to support UUSC's work for human rights and social justice. Support Raghav.
Cheska Barneveld lives and works in New Jersey. She started running in 2009 and hasn't stopped. "I found that through running I could give back by working with amazing charities to help others," she says. She has run two marathons and two half-marathons for organizations devoted to Down syndrome, cancer research, children in Peru, and Outward Bound — and in the process raised close to $30,000. On April 18, she's running for human rights. Support Cheska.
Support UUSC's runners today by donating at www.crowdrise.com/runforjustice!
Submitted by Daniel Karp. on Wed, 03/02/2011 - 12:49pm.
Thanks to more than 11,000 individual supporters, UUSC has surpassed the goal for the "3 for 1 for Haiti" matching challenge grant from our friends at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation at Shelter Rock in Manhasset, N.Y.
It is impossible to adequately express our gratitude for all the support we received. We just hope that every individual that contributed to the UUSC-UUA Haiti Earthquake Relief Fund knows how much they mean to survivors living in Haiti today.
It is also important to note that UUSC met the goal a full 18 months before the deadline to raise $166,000 alongside Shelter Rock's pledge of $500,000 — a truly outstanding achievement. Now UUSC has the necessary funds to help our grassroots partners rebuild communities, protect those at risk, offer employment and hope, and keep the promise of a new Haiti alive.
Meeting our goal with so much time left in the challenge is as sure a sign as any that UUSC's family of supporters will not be deterred when human suffering can be prevented.
As UUSC President and CEO Bill Schulz recently wrote in a letter to our members, "UUSC cannot sit back on its laurels. The impact of the recession on our work outside of Haiti has been considerable. At a time when our partners in over 20 other countries are in heightened need, nearly half of all American donors recently reported giving less in 2010 than the year before. Just as fires scorch forests at their driest moments, humanitarian crises often seem to strike when resources are most stretched."
Bill has hit the nail on the head. The generosity of our donors to help those in dire straits is something to admire. Now UUSC needs you to reach into your wallet and send contributions to support the thousands of grassroots organizers working to promote social justice and the hundreds of communities struggling against unjust power structures in places like Guatemala, Uganda, Kenya, Afghanistan, and many other places around the world where UUSC is working to uphold the inherent worth and dignity of every person.
Please take a minute right now to make a contribution to ensure that our partners around the world confronting unjust power structures are afforded every chance to claim their full measure of human rights.
Submitted by Anonymous on Wed, 01/26/2011 - 8:58am.
Last week, we were excited to hear from Gary D. Nissembaum, chair of the Social Action Committee at the Unitarian Church in Summit, N.J., about his congregation's work in joining UUSC to support a just recovery in Haiti. Read his statement below.
Sunday, January 23, the Social Action Committee of the Unitarian Church in Summit will launch its offertory plate collection for UUSC's project with Camp Oasis in Haiti. Our congregation has set the ambitious goal of raising $8,520 over four Sundays. This will allow Camp Oasis to feed, clothe, house, and provide education for five girls for one year.
The offertory collection will be matched 3 to 1 by the Unitarian Universalist Congregation at Shelter Rock in Manhasset, N.Y., so the ultimate amount collected through both the offertory and the match is anticipated to be a total of $34,080. That is far more than our congregation has ever raised for a UUSC project, and it is a tangible expression of our congregation's commitment to living boldly.
We also trust it will make a significant difference in the lives of those children. It demonstrates the vitality of the partnership between our congregation and UUSC. It was through this partnership that our offertory plate collection was utilized in 2009 to fund the construction of a women's shelter in Darfur and in 2010 to fund a farming initiative involving the purchase of oxen in Uganda.
—Gary D. Nissenbaum, chair of the Social Action Committee, The Unitarian Church in Summit, N.J.
Submitted by Anonymous on Fri, 12/03/2010 - 7:17am.
A few weeks ago, Dave DeSario and Chris Beattie set out to climb Mount Kilimanjaro — to take on a challenge, to honor the memory of Dave's mom, and to raise money for UUSC's work in Tanzania on environmental justice. And they did it! Below, Dave reflects on the experience.
I like air conditioning, tap water, and cow's milk. I enjoy a hot shower, but honestly, even a warm one will do. Toilets are great. So is all the oxygen we have down here at sea level. Ahhh, it tastes so good! And I really have a thing for electricity. You might even say I'm addicted. I'm a young man from the suburbs that's traveled outside the United States only once (counting Montreal).
And yet, all of a sudden I heard, "Karibu Tanzania! Welcome to Tanzania! This way to Mt. Kilimanjaro." My thoughts: What have I gotten myself into? Send help.
I went to Tanzania with too many ideas about what I needed to accomplish. I went to visit my friend Chris while he was working abroad. I went to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro. To learn about the world. To escape the first Thanksgiving without my mom. To get as far away from my responsibilities as I could. To experience a place so different from all that I know. To help UUSC fight for the human right to water. And to honor my mom, a UU preacher who was inspired by the work of UUSC. It was a lot to ask of one trip.
I often lay awake late into the night, too excited to sleep, my head filled with grand ambitions like these. But this time was different. I can't say that these ideas had ever come together so well.
On the trip, I was able to open my eyes for the first time to see a different way of living. What is so poor and foreign to me is familiar, everyday life to most people on the planet we share. As I traveled, I glanced on what brought UUSC to Tanzania: water for the people.
I walked along a stream flowing down from Kilimanjaro in the direction of the town of Arusha, at the base of the mountain — a stream so cool and clear it called out for people to jump in and swim with their mouths open. I saw another stream, perhaps the same one, leave the boundary of Kilimanjaro National Park and flow alongside the main street of Arusha. Not quite as clear anymore. Further down the road, I think I caught sight of the same stream, rolling into the crowded city of Moshi and continuing to run behind the homes and businesses near the highway. I stared at it out the window on the beginning of the 10-hour bus ride to Dar es Salaam (Dar's no Montreal, let me tell you). Water that was once clear had quickly become a heavy reddish-brown that matched the color of the soil. There was trash all over the banks and caught in the current.
It was an eyesore, even for a drainage ditch on the side of the road. But people came and knelt down by the stream. Some filled up buckets, others reached in to wash their faces, and some quickly dropped their clothes to the ground, as crowded cars drove by, and walked right in, without the thought of how lovely it is to take a hot shower. In a bathroom. With a curtain. Or how good the tap water tastes in New York City. And this was Tanzania during one of the rainy seasons — what is it like trying to access water the rest of the year?
With the generosity and encouragement of so many friends, and the support of UUSC, we raised almost $4,000 together to help UUSC in their work with the Tanzania Gender Networking Program against water privatization.
I celebrated Thanksgiving on the beach in Zanzibar with homesick Americans over chicken curry (it's poultry — that's close enough) and mashed potatoes. We raised our bottles and toasted more Kilimanjaro brand beers than we could count "to the place second-best to home." And Chris and I hiked for a week, through rain forest, across a desert, and up to the glaciers at the highest point of Africa. My mind was clear and empty of every meaningful worry (except for the fear of heights). I took a once-in-a-lifetime experience from Tanzania: a vacation, an adventure, a broader view of the world. At the same time, I was able to stand with the UUSC for human rights and environmental justice. I hope people will read this and find a way to make something like this happen for them, too.
As I learned to say in Swahili, "Nina buhati." I am very fortunate.
Submitted by Jessica Atcheson on Mon, 11/29/2010 - 1:15pm.
Dave DeSario (left) and Chris Beattie (right) at the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro.
Dave DeSario: mountaineer and human-rights advocate.
A few weeks ago, I wrote about Dave DeSario and Chris Beattie, who set out to climb Mount Kilimanjaro — to take on a challenge, to honor Dave's mom, and to raise money for UUSC's work in Tanzania on environmental justice. And they did it! I was really excited to check my e-mail Monday morning and find an e-mail from Dave — along with proof (see photos at right) that they made the summit.
The fact that they climbed the tallest freestanding mountain in the world is cool. But even cooler than that? Their project has raised more than $3,700 so far — almost 150 percent of their $2,500 goal — for UUSC. With one more day left in the fundraiser, it may be even more than that by the project's end; they're hoping to make it an even $4,000.
That support — fueled by their thousands of steps up the mountain and the memory of Dave's mom — will go to our work with the Tanzania Gender Network Program (TGNP). In the country that's home to Kilimanjaro, TGNP empowers women and marginalized communities while working against the effects of water privatization.
We're excited to hear more about how the trip went and what this project has meant to Dave and Chris — keep an eye out for a guest blog post from Dave soon! We all have mountains to climb and many are daunting, whether it's literally Mount Kilimanjaro or it's ensuring the right to clean water. We're happy that, in this case, the former will be part of making the latter possible.