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neil_lichtmanWe’re nearing the End of the Fiscal Year

We have just May and June remaining in this Fiscal Year. For the Annual Program Fund, this is our “Push” period…the time we contact congregations that appear to us to be falling short of donating at their pledge levels. So, if our information gives us the sense that your congregation is going to fall short and hasn’t yet told us, you’re likely to hear from us.

First, we’ll send your congregation’s Minister and Board President an e-mail requesting we find a mutual time for a phone call. As a matter of each of us being in “right relationship” with each other, we reasonably expect a reply to this e-mail. For our District, much is at stake.

Those of you who were at District Assembly clearly saw what is at stake. The CMwD team has had to make some unfortunate cuts (all of our CMwD staff will be taking one week's furlough in the next fiscal year) to its budget for the upcoming Fiscal Year specifically due to the drop in donations to the UUA which lead to automatic cuts in the level of funding that comes back to the District.

When we do chat, we do want to hear what is going on in your congregation that might be impacting donations this Fiscal Year and perhaps the next. Of course, we’ll have a sympathetic ear. And, we’ll try to help you find solutions.

In conclusion, let me say once again that your UUA and your District leaders thank you for your generosity.

Neil Lichtman

Your CMwD APF Chair

neil_lichtmanToo often we hear about the consequences of negative actions. We condition ourselves to think of consequences as a strictly negative word. However, the word “consequences” works both ways. Positive actions have positive consequences. For our Central Midwest District Congregations, our mutual generosity has powerful positive consequences.

We thrive on excellence in ministry. Our generosity helps directly in creating and maintaining excellence in Ministry. It does likewise for Religious Education and Lay Leadership.

We share a commitment to seven powerful principles. Great principles have great prices…prices that can be measured in commitments of our time, energy, willingness to put our beliefs on the line, and, of course, financial resources. Indeed, our generosity allows us to see our principles in action. That’s a powerful consequence of our generosity.

We have built a special community. For many of us, our congregations are deeply important to our lives. For many of us, being a Unitarian Universalist is an important part of our identity. When we are generous to our UUA, the consequence is we are generous to each other, and ultimately to ourselves.

As we enter the last few months of this Fiscal Year, we ask you to think about the positive consequences of your generosity as your congregations make their final decisions about donations to both our UUA and Central Midwest District.

In closing, I hope to see you at

District Assembly in Wheeling IL on April 30 - May 2.

Neil Lichtman
Your CMwD APF Rep

neil_lichtmanAs I write this, I’m aware that tomorrow is the first Monday of 2010, and it’s a working Monday for those with jobs.

As I look at my calendar, I also see that my congregation’s Canvass Committee has its start-up meeting Wednesday evening. Indeed, congregational work will be back in full swing. Making financial ends meet for this Fiscal Year, and starting to think about the next Fiscal Year are upon all of us.

My request is that whoever reads this takes it upon him/herself to download a few wonderful and important documents from our UUA and share them with their Boards.

First, may I suggest “We Build This Community”, an easy-to-read review of all the programmatic work that the UUA does with your donations. As Board members change, it may be helpful to give new members a quick overview. You’ll find this at uua.org/documents/stew-dev/apf/apf_brochure.pdf.

Second, at uua.org/documents/stew-dev you’ll find excellent materials to help your Boards think through stewardship.

Third, please download the Summer 2009 Newsletter. Enjoy the article about the Central Midwest District’s very own Third Unitarian Church of Chicago: “Generosity as a Spiritual Path.”
Then read about two congregations that have worked hard to become and sustain Fair Share generosity. You may download this Newsletter at uua.org/documents/stew-dev/apf/0909_news.pdf.

Here’s to a Special New Year for all our congregations.

Neil Lichtman

neilHere are some important thoughts for us from Rev. Naomi King, Minister, The River of Grass UU Congregation, Plantation, Florida, and UU Ministers Association Liaison to the APF Committee. (Adapted for general use by Laurel Amabile, Director, Annual Program Fund.)


10.  You teach your congregation that we truly are called together as one association of
congregations and that our greatest strength is not individual but communal.  Together,
we overcome fear, alienation, and loneliness, creating a better today and a more hopeful

9.  You encourage generosity by modeling generosity.

8.  You connect your congregation to great stories of our Unitarian Universalist living faith
all around the world.

7.  Your congregation’s “fair share” gift models individual right relationship in expending
our individual resources.

6.  You strengthen the connection between your congregation and our family of associated
congregations – our Unitarian Universalist Association

5.  When people see what our Unitarian Universalist faith is doing through their giving
around the world, it encourages and develops heir stewardship and their sense of making
a difference.

4.  You are having the greatest effect on our home mission in planning new congregations,
strengthening existing congregations and reaching people with the good news of
Unitarian Universalism.

3.  When you give at the “fair share” level to our Association, you model your congregation
living our values of interdependence, mutuality, cooperation, and hope.

2.  You strengthen the identity of your congregation as a mission- and service-focused

1. Your gifts enable your congregation to expand our living faith values of love, reason,
freedom and justice – healing and transforming our world here and now.

Why contribute to APF?
Because we can be and do more together than we can be and do on our own.

neilThis month’s column has two purposes: (1) encourage each of our Central Midwest District Congregations to make pledges to both our District and to the UUA and inform us of them using the reply forms you have received, and (2) provide direction to resources for congregations who face financial stress.

I realize you think I’m a broken record on the first issue…at least if you’re old enough to know what the expression “broken record” is. Pledging is very important to us because it allows us to budget with some precision. Pledging should also be important to you because it is an act of faith in maintaining and building UUism beyond the borders of your church grounds. It is your promise to help all UUs. It is also your best guarantee that if and when the day comes you need assistance it will be there for you.

I believe that many congregations have already put contribution line items the cover your donations into your current Fiscal Year budget. We are asking you share them with us if you haven’t already, whether they be Fair Share or less, or for the rare yet praise-worthy congregation, more than Fair Share. Yes, these do exist!

We also know that a few congregations have intentions to donate but have not put numbers into current budgets. Nevertheless, we are asking you to share those intentions.

We also know that a few congregations cannot make a donation to both the
CMwD and the UUA, but we still need to know your plans.

Ideally, we’d like you to think of your donations to the CMwD and the UUA as one consolidated donation for the good of all, but we realize this will take some doing.

My second goal here is to give easy direction to Stewardship Resources.

Here are some excellent web sites:





Thank you for sharing and caring.

Neil Lichtman
Your CMwD APF District Rep

Neil LichtmanThere are two things I’d like to share with you in this month’s message.

First, a report on how the UUA’s Annual Program fund ended here in our district - CMwD congregational support to the UUA’s APF in the just closed Fiscal Year was $450,413 down from the previous Fiscal Year’s support of $491,345. This 8% drop exceeded our national average of a 2% drop.

We recognize the impact the economy has had in general and the specific struggles of a small number of our congregations. Meanwhile, plentiful resources exist to help congregations create generosity in difficult times.
As you’ve read here a number of times before, both Ian Evison and I are available to help you reach those resources or discuss your issues.

The second thing I wanted to let you know about is pledging to both the UUA-APF and the district.   A bright spot in the last Fiscal Year was that 90% of our CMwD congregations told us their intent via pledging or formal letters during the year. This is very, very helpful – just as knowledge about pledging is crucial to your congregation in financial planning.

Given how tight both the UUA and the CMwD need to budget for this current new Fiscal Year we’re in, we very much need to know your intentions now, if you haven’t already pledged. We hope that every congregation has these numbers in their new budgets and we request you share them with us either formally by filling out pledge forms mailed to you or e-mailing us personally.

Thank you,

Neil Lichtman
Your CMwD APF Chair

neil.jpgJust today a leader in one of our congregations suggested that his congregation could use a reminder of what a congregation receives for its donations to the UUA. I find that appropriate as we come close to the end of our fiscal year when we ask our congregations to reach one last time into their budgets to meet their pledges.

neil_lichtman.jpgMy purpose this month is to update you on how your contributions to the UUA’s Annual Program Fund are faring.

First, in terms of total contributions to the UUA, the Central Midwest District is running 7 percent below last fiscal year. Meanwhile, nationally, contributions are running at only 1 percent below. Clearly, we are underperforming compared to the national average, and this decline will impact UUA contributions which are given back to our district.

neil.jpgDear Fellow UUs:

I’ll keep my remarks for this month very short.
Simply, I hope you can attend District Assembly and while there stop by my display of our Wall of Generosity. I would like to hear from each attending congregation how you are faring financially in this difficult period.

neil_lichtman.jpgBefore getting into the meat of my message this month, once again I’d like to draw your attention to the e-mail survey from your CMwD requesting a very brief update on your congregation’s financial situation and latest expectations for donating to both the UUA’s Annual Program Fund and to the District for the remainder of this Fiscal Year. If you have not yet responded, please Click here for the Finance Survey.