Like other institutions, UUCPA maintains separate funds for different purposes. Some are funded by operating income. All can be funded by gifts when the donors are living, or bequests when the donors have passed away.
The Operating Fund supports the annual budget and is used to pay for current operations. Its primary sources of income are pledge payments, rental income, Sunday collections, and fundraisers. The Operating Fund is governed by the annual budget, which is proposed by the Board and approved by the Congregation at the annual meeting.
Just as households need both checking accounts and savings accounts, the church needs both an Operating Fund and a Capital Fund. Where the Operating Fund pays for anticipated, budgeted annual operations, the Capital Fund provides for anticipated longer-term needs, such as maintenance and the eventual need for new facilities.
In addition, the Capital Fund also serves as a “rainy-day” fund for unanticipated needs. For example, if income accrues more slowly than expected, the Capital Fund can advance money to the Operating Fund.
The primary sources of income for the Capital Fund are transfers from the annual budget, earnings from investments, and gifts or bequests. By Board policy, all unrestricted gifts and bequests are assigned to the Capital Fund. The capital budget is proposed by the Board and approved by the congregation at the annual meeting.
Some people prefer to give a gift that is specifically designed to contribute to the long term financial needs and health of UUCPA. The Board has designated the UUCPA Endowment Fund to receive such gifts. Endowment funds are invested for the long run. Annual spending is limited by California law to a percentage consistent with the preservation of the Endowment Fund.
The Endowment Fund grows both through an ongoing stream of gifts and accumulated investment earnings. The Endowment Fund is unsuitable for funding the maintenance and improvement of our campus, but in the long term it can provide flexibility and freedom for developing UUCPA’s program and responding to new opportunities.
An endowment gift can be made in the following form:
“I give to the Unitarian Universalist Church of Palo Alto Endowment Fund the sum of $___________.”
The Finance Committee at UUCPA also manages a number of other smaller funds for special purposes. One that deserves special mention is the Memorial Fund. The Memorial Fund receives gifts in memory of loved ones, and honors their memory by providing special support to Board-approved activities that enrich the life of our church.