Friday, September 13, 2013

UTO: my thoughts

A question was asked in another place - why doesn't United Thank Offering just get its own 501c3 number instead of using the Episcopal Church's tax i.d.? Episcopal Relief and Development took this direction a few years ago - why not UTO?

Remembering the ER-D switch to its own 501c3 instead of the church's tax i.d. -- 3 reasons were given - one to protect assets from lawsuits against the church, two -to keep it less political - it could stay out of issues accruing to the National Church, and three - to allow it to go after grants from corporations that would not give to "a church" (like the partnership with Nets for Life and the NBA).

The UTO has not wanted nor needed that separation for any of those reasons. UTO and 815 needed to be clear about roles and tax status -- that was being worked on and agreed to by all. The sticking point is the movement from UTO doing the majority of the work of reviewing and granting within the structure --- to --- the COO and UTO coordinator doing this with a small advisory role for UTO.

It is not clear why this change was being made and there has been no explanation (except in the PBs letter where she says "official leadership (the President of the House of Deputies, the Chief Operating Officer, the Executive Officer of General Convention, the Treasurer, and I) have no intention of divesting the United Thank Offering of its funds or applying excessive controls to its practices."

But the bylaws proposed by the COO do not bear our this statement. Comparing the former bylaws (approved by GC and Executive Council in 2012 - has that much changed in tax law and why wasn't it questionedthen?) you can see the shift of control.

Now we find out that the PHoD (see previous post) did not see any of the documents that were released by the PB and COO.
I am not saying anyone set out with bad intent -- but it has played out in ways that make one wonder.
Prayers that the Executive Council will hear from all - including those who have resigned - and offer some reconciliation. UTO is to great a program to lose.

See previous blog items and Episcopal Café for more on this.

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