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Announcing: UU Funding Summit

Updated: Jun 12, 2020

For the master's tools will never dismantle the master's house. They may allow us temporarily to beat him at his own game, but they will never enable us to bring about genuine change. And this fact is only threatening to those women who still define the master's house as their only source of support.

-Audre Lorde

Antique steel bank vault door. Photo by Jason Dent on Unsplash

In this moment, the Unitarian Sunday School Society (USSS) unequivocally declares support to Black people as they continue the fight for equity and justice in United States society. We, the members of the Board of the USSS, recognize that our centuries-old Fund holds wealth generated on the backs of Black and Indigenous people. The Unitarian Sunday School Society is called to address white supremacy culture as it is embedded in our funding board and move Unitarian Universalist funding towards liberationist practices.

Once again historically white philanthropic institutions are being called to fund racial justice solutions that center BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) voices at decision-making tables. BIPOC leaders call for emergency relief and loan funds right now. Unitarian Universalist philanthropic organizations are finally ready to listen - to examine the history and complexity of our funding and identify the changes that have to be made. It’s time for a redistribution of wealth.

The USSS Board is committed to uprooting the structures of the master’s house, collaborating beyond our limited circle of experience, and moving past fear towards justice. The USSS board acknowledges we will make mistakes as we do this work, but we are committed to listen to and align with BIPOC strategies for liberation.

This October, the Unitarian Sunday School Society is proud to convene a summit of funding organizations within Unitarian Universalism that will interrogate how the collective financial practices of our institutions uphold racism and how to dismantle white supremacy within them. This collaboration is an expression of our USSS mission to: “Fund innovative, relevant ideas to support and deepen Unitarian Universalist faith formation.”

Edgar Villanueva, author of Decolonizing Wealth, and William Cordery of Leverage Philanthropic Partners will guide representatives of the USSS, the LREDA 21st Century Fund, the Unitarian Universalist Association Office of Stewardship and Development, the Unitarian Universalist Funding Program, and the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee in a summit to explore these questions and more:

  • How do accumulated wealth, grant-making processes, and endowments reinforce racism?

  • What is the source of this money, from whose labor?

  • How and why have white people traditionally held too tightly to this money?

  • How can our organizations redistribute the wealth we manage with racial equity?

  • What new mechanisms must we explore immediately?

  • How can we become nimble in responding to moments of crisis?

Check back for periodic updates on our process here on the USSS website.

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