As part of this year’s Stewardship Campaign, Emerging Abundance, we have introduced the Emergence Fund. What is that, you say?
The Emergence Fund is a special fund where Members and pledging Friends can make single-gift donations, in addition to their ongoing pledges. Why? As the Stewardship Team shared with the congregation, UUSM lost significant sources of income due the pandemic. Both rental income and congregational fundraising fell off sharply in 2020. UUSM gratefully received funding provided by the government and other entities in the past two years. These funds definitely offset some losses, but now these additional sources of funding are gone. Yet our regular income sources have not rebounded to pre-pandemic levels.
It is easy to donate to the Emergence Fund. Any amount from $100 to $10,000 or more will help fill the gap for the 2023–24 church year. Simply commit to a single, flat amount when you fill out your pledge for the coming year. There are multiple ways to donate right now; just indicate “Emergence Fund,” when you do. If you choose a text donation, use the code EME.
The Emergence Fund is one of several strategies to address our income needs, and it’s designed to complement our current Stewardship Campaign. Throughout the month of April, we are providing multiple opportunities to engage with other members in groups or individually with Stewards. These conversations are intended to evaluate our relationship to the church as individuals and solidify our collective vision for the future. These conversations are motivating us to help sustain the community.
Should you give to the Emergence Fund or increase your pledge? While we submit a pledge every year, UUSM anticipates that pledges will continue and increase from year to year. Our financial future is assured when we maintain, increase, and fulfill our pledges.
However, if you simply cannot increase your pledge this year but can make a one-time donation, then a commitment or immediate donation to the Emergence Fund is much appreciated. For example, one board member donated a one-time work bonus separately from their pledge commitment, which is based on their regular income.
How long do we expect to need the Emergence Fund? It is hard to predict but we anticipate funding and deploying the Emergence Fund for the next two years. Beyond that, we will evaluate our income sources and budgets. It’s possible that rental income could rebound to pre-pandemic levels (almost $100K). We will continue to promote our facilities and campus to the community. And Forbes Hall construction should be complete some time in 2023.
The future of our congregation depends on the Emergence Fund and the deep listening of our Stewardship Campaign. Most of all, it depends on our members. Those who cherish fond memories of community and see a future with even more meaning and impact.