Midwestern Unitarian Universalist Conference & Midwest Unitarian Universalist Foundation

2016 Annual Report
to the MidAmerica Region & the Mountain Desert District

Midwestern Unitarian Universalist Conference


With the consolidation of the American Unitarian Association (AUA) and the Universalist Church of America (UCA) in 1961, Midwest Unitarian groups and Western Universalist groups formed the Midwestern Unitarian Universalist Conference (Conference) and the Midwest Unitarian Universalist Foundation (Foundation).


The purpose of the Conference is to further the interests of Unitarian Universalists and their institutions in the mid-continental states (i.e., MidAmerica Region and the Mountain Desert District); to promote, foster, and encourage the interests of the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA); to support those institutions to spread the message of Unitarian Universalism; and to distribute income generated by funds held in trust by the Foundation, a subsidiary corporation. The purpose of the Foundation is to hold those funds received from the AUA, UCA, and other sources in trust, and to invest, administer, and safeguard those funds.


There are four funds for which the Conference and the Foundation are responsible

  • the General Fund, which provides an annual grant to the MidAmerica Region and the Mountain Desert District, and which can fund other initiatives;
  • the Ryder Fund (1888): the income is used to provide emergency financial support for retired ministers and their spouses;
  • the Colchester Fund (1926): the income is used to provide an annual scholarship that is awarded by Meadville Lombard Theological School in Chicago to a Unitarian Universalist theological student, and
  • the Laughlin Fund (1903): the income is used to provide emergency financial support for elderly Unitarian Universalists.


The Conference has several working committees/sub-committees: the Nominating Committee, Colchester Sub-Committee, Laughlin Sub-Committee, and Ryder Sub-Committee.

Interim Meetings

The Conference directors and the Foundation directors work separately during the year via tele-conference.

Annual Meeting

The Boards of the Midwest UU Conference and the Midwest UU Foundation hold their annual meeting in Chicago in early May, where they meet separately and jointly. The 2015 meeting was held on May 1-2.

At the annual meeting in May 2015, the Conference directors affirmed their May 2014 vote to amend the Conference Constitution to recognize the consolidation of three UUA districts (Prairie Star, Heartland, and Central MidWest) into the MidAmerica Region and to align the Constitution with current, best practices by the Board.

Distribution from the General Fund

Part of the agenda at the Annual Meeting was to determine the annual grants for 2015-2016 to the MidAmerica Region and the Mountain Desert District. These grants are based on a formula that takes into account the number of congregation members (weight = 45%), the number of congregations (weight = 45%), and the geographical size (weight = 10%) of the region or district. The number of members and congregations was based upon UUA certification data as of February 1, 2015.

The maximum amount available for distribution is 4% of a rolling 13-quarter moving average of the Foundation’s General Fund. The distribution for 2015-2016 represented the 4% maximum, and was as following:
$79,552.38 to the MidAmerica Region
$21,097.62 to the Mountain Desert District

Conference Board Directors (seven members) (three-year terms)
(one director represents the Mountain Desert District, six represent the MidAmerica Region)

  • Rev. Kirk Loadman-Copeland, Denver, CO (President), (2016)
  • Allan J. Lindrup, (Vice President), First Unitarian Society, Chicago, IL, (2018)
  • Jeff Reed, (Secretary), Open Circle UU Fellowship, Fond du Lac, WI, (2017)
  • Bill Elwood, First Universalist Church, Minneapolis, MN, (2016)
  • Kathy Wire, First UU Church, St. Louis, MO, (2016)
  • Rae Jane Araujo, Heritage UU Church, Cincinnati, OH, (2017)
  • Michael May, First Unitarian Society, Madison, WI, (2018)
  • (Treasurer: see the Foundation Board of Directors below)

Midwest Unitarian Universalist Foundation

The fiscal year is from April 1 to March 31. The assets of the Foundation have grown from about $200,000 in 1962 to $3,127,880 as of March 31, 2015.

The financial statements are audited annually. The auditor of record for a number of years has been Wilkerson, Guthmann, and Johnson, Ltd. of Saint Paul, Minnesota. The audit for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2015 determined that the financial statements of the Midwest Unitarian Universalist Foundation presented fairly, in all material respects, the financial position, and the changes in net assets and cash flows in accordance with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America.

The investment distribution as of March 31, 2015 was as follows:
Mutual Funds 21.9%
Exchange Traded Fund 26.0%
Corporate Bonds & Notes 12.3%
UU Common Endowment Fund 39.8%

Foundation Board Directors (seven members) (three-year terms)

  • Sally Seiberlich , St. Paul, MN (President) (2016)
  • Katherine Brewin, Chicago, IL (Vice President / Assistant Secretary) (2017)
  • Hillis Howie, Evanston, IL (Treasurer) (2018)
  • Max Grefig, Wauwatosa, WI (Secretary) (2016)
  • John Saphir, Chicago, IL (2017)
  • Brian Hellmer, Fitchburg, WI (2016)
  • (2018) (This position became vacant when Bob Johnson did not stand for re-election. Erich Zuern will be elected to fill this vacancy.)

Bob Johnson completed his many years of service in May 2015 to both the Foundation Board, and earlier, to the Conference Board.

Respectfully submitted,

Kirk Loadman-Copeland, President
Midwest Unitarian Universalist Conference