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First Home Grant Program

Statement of Purpose

The primary purpose of the Unitarian Universalist (UUA) first home grant program is to facilitate the continued growth of congregations seeking to purchase their first piece of land and/or building or to construct its first spiritual home.

It is possible for a congregation to receive two first home grants. For example, a congregation may conduct a capital campaign to purchase a piece of land. Assuming that the congregation meets the criteria below, they would receive a grant. If the same congregation conducts a second capital campaign to raise money to construct a building, the congregation could receive a second grant.

Grant Amount

A congregation may qualify for a grant equal to ten percent of financial commitments made to a capital campaign. The grant will be paid in its entirety upon approval. There is a $25,000 maximum limit to any grant.

Grant Guidelines

  • Application: A congregation submits a grant application (www.uua.org) including a detailed membership growth plan describing its commitment to growth. 
  • Capital Campaign: The congregation completes a capital campaign to raise money for a capital project. These financial commitments represent money beyond that needed to support the annual operating budget. These commitments must be equivalent to at least three times the financial commitments made to the most recent annual budget drive. 
  • Debt Service: The congregation's annual debt service cannot exceed twenty-five percent of its annual operating budget. 
  • Annual Program Fund Fair Share: To receive a grant a congregation must be a Fair Share member of the Annual Program Fund.
  • Phase I environmental study: A Phase I environmental study is required before a grant can be approved. Congregations seeking a grant to purchase property are urged to require the seller to complete a satisfactory Phase I environmental study before the congregation takes ownership.
  • Insurance Coverage: A congregation must adopt the minimum recommended limits of property and liability insurance as defined on the last page of the application.=
  • Congregational Dissolution: In the event of congregational dissolution, all outstanding debts must be paid. The remaining assets, both real and personal, including all property donated to the congregation,will become the property of the Unitarian Universalist Association.

Steps in the Review Process

  1. The director of Congregational Stewardship Services (CSS) receives the completed first home grant application. The application is checked for completeness and each section is reviewed for accuracy and consistency. The congregation is contacted if any information is missing or if further documentation is needed.
  2. The application is evaluated using the first home grant requirements. The congregation is contacted if further information is needed. The director of CSS then makes a recommendation to the UUA treasurer.
  3. The application and recommendation is sent to the office of the UUA treasurer who reviews the application and considers the recommendation of the director of CSS.
  4. The treasurer, in cooperation with the director of CSS, makes a decision for action. The decision may be to approve, approve with contingencies, or decline the application.

The Unitarian Universalist Veatch Program at Shelter Rock

First home grants are made available to Unitarian Universalist congregations as a result of generous grants from the Unitarian Universalist Veatch Program at Shelter Rock and gifts from individual donors. The Veatch Program promotes the growth of UU congregations through its support of this program. Please join us in expressing gratitude to them for their commitment and generosity. Please acknowledge them wherever appropriate in all printed materials.

For more information contact congstewardship @ uua.org.

This work is made possible by the generosity of individual donors and congregations. Please consider making a donation today.

Last updated on Thursday, February 16, 2012.

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