Social justice is at the heart of EUUC’s identity.
When you pledge to the Social Justice Fund, you support essential programs at EUUC, in our region, and beyond — for example, congregational stands, EUUC car camp, Edmonds cold weather shelter, Everett Interfaith Shelter, local high-poverty elementary schools, and organizations promoting gender equality.
Last year $26,000 was pledged to the Social Justice Fund. Social Justice pledge funds are distributed to three of our social justice committees: Social Concerns, Peace and Justice, and Advocates for Women. They use these funds to educate, amplify our hands-on work, and donate to organizations doing work consistent with our UU values. Your Social Justice Fund pledge also pays for memberships in organizations such as the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee and the Northwest UU Justice Network.
The Social Justice Council oversees the social justice budget. The Sunday Offering committee is a member of the Council, but Sunday Offering donations are separate from Social Justice Pledge funds, going directly to the month’s cause.
Your generous social justice pledge helps us bring our vision of a just and sustainable world to those outside our doors. It is our faith in action.
The Social Justice committees are requesting a budget of $27,500 for the fiscal year beginning on July 1, 2017.
|Advocates for Women||$1,000|
|Peace and Justice||$1,500|
|Emerging Needs and Joint Events||$2,000|
If you have attended a benefit dinner hosted by Advocates for Women, you have tasted the generosity of its members. Members donate the food they prepare for their events, with no reimbursements from the Social Justice funds. When the table decorations are items to be given to the recipient organization, those decorations are usually purchased with budget money.
Each benefit dinner raises money for a non-profit organization which works to help women by enhancing gender equality, educational opportunities, women’s health, or personal income. All recipients are approved by the Finance committee, and are 501c3 organizations. Benefits are held twice a year, featuring a speaker who tells the attendees about how the recipient organization improves women’s lives.
Members of the committee also pass the basket at each of their monthly meetings from September through June. For the past five years, this fund has supported One by One, which provides surgery for obstetric fistula in African women and educates the women and their communities to build compassion and respect as the women return to their villages after surgery.
In the past 18 months, Advocates for Women collected
In the current year, there is one more benefit dinner in March, the ongoing monthly collection for One by One, and a plan to assemble 52 small bags of pampering gifts for newly housed women at Pathways for Women (YWCA).
Nearly all of the Advocates for Women budget is used to contribute to the benefits and other fundraisers they hold. The small amount remaining in their budget covers educational materials and supplies to support their projects.
The Peace & Justice budget covers expenses related to social justice advocacy, witness, and education. They purchase books, host forums, and make donations - both to educate and involve members of the congregation in peace and justice issues, and to collaborate with other social justice groups in the region.
Peace & Justice focuses in particular on issues that our congregation has demonstrated concern about, expressed by Congregational Stands: the corrupting influence of money in our democracy, and the devastating issues of global warming and climate justice. These are root causes of many of the social justice inequities of our time.
Also known as "P&J," the committee has been very active over the past 18 months, and will continue to lead and respond to the above issues, as well as racial and class justice, and other issues as they arise. Some highlights:
In the current year, we will host an all-congregation potluck and musical show "Climate Monologues" in February, and host an all-day creative activism workshop called "Changing the Course" in March.
The Peace & Justice committee includes a Meaningful Movies subcommittee. Sno-King Meaningful Movies is hosted at EUUC every two months, and is run by a joint team of EUUC members, Shoreline Social Justice Ministry members, and Snohomish Peace Action members. This effort is self-sustaining. Expenses are funded by donations, not from Social Justice pledge funds.
The Social Concerns Committee is primarily concerned with poverty, hunger, insecure housing, and education. Their budget is divided among several sub-budgets.
Cedar Valley Community School - This school has the highest proportion of low-income students in the Edmonds School District. Our funds are used to provide emergency support for students in need, special art projects, and field trips. We support a food program during the summer months. Our members and friends that volunteer at Cedar Valley have built a strong partnership with students and staff over the years.
Chase Lake Elementary School - Chase Lake serves children living in EUUC's neighborhood. Over 60% are low income and it is the district school for medically fragile students. Our funds support the Safety Net program, library, medical supplies, field trips, camp scholarships, and snacks for the Bus Bunch (McKinney-Vento) as they await transportation home to shelters, etc. They have the highest portion of return homeless students, a tribute to the sense of community and safety this school strives to give each student. Statistics show that these students have a higher percentage rate of finishing high school. Our members and friends enjoy volunteer opportunities at Chase Lake.
Mountlake Terrace Elementary - The newest edition to the list of schools we support, Mountlake Terrace Elementary has about 60% low-income students, which puts them in a category comparable to “the working poor.” Similar to Chase Lake, their demographics don't usually meet requirements for grants, yet the PTA doesn't have the money to fill the gaps that schools in wealthier neighborhoods can depend on. We are currently supporting their art program and volunteers are welcome to become "Reading Buddies.” They are establishing a program to teach parents how to become active in their children's early education, build a sense of community at the school, and hopefully develop habits that will give their children the support they will need to be successful throughout their education.
Holiday Toy Shop - Social Concerns has taken a leadership position in this project with Trinity Lutheran Church. Our funds assist with gifts for low-income children, particularly teens. Last year, 600 children enjoyed the holiday generosity that otherwise would not be possible. Volunteers play a vital part of the Toy Shop with over 60 EUUC members helping in various capacities.
Washington Kids in Transition - Our funds lend support to this volunteer organization committed to providing basic needs for over 400 homeless students in the Edmonds School District as a part of the McKinney-Vento Act. These children live in shelters, tents, cars, transitional housing, and other temporary housing.
More help for children - Our funds help provide 75 small food bags after school, support an emergency motel voucher program, and Emergency Closets for six schools. These consist of grab-and-go type food, emergency clothing, and hygiene kits, at the special request from the student support advocate at each school.
Planned Parenthood - We are proud of our continued support to Planned Parenthood. This organization provides health care services to low-income women, including but not limited to reproductive health care. Education and advocacy are also important parts of their services.
Strength over Speed - This Seattle-based organization provides peer-based support services to the LGBTQ community dealing with addiction and recovery. Our funds cover the cost of their website, which reaches out to thousands locally and internationally. It has become a model for recovery and continues to expand its functions and goals. We are proud to have been one of the very first sponsors of this successful program.
Car Camp - Newly formed in partnership with the Edmonds School District, this safe, nighttime car camp was established in the EUUC parking lot for local families with children who are living in their cars. Funds support a portable toilet and other supplies. Many thanks to the volunteers from our church & friends who have made this possible.
Cold Weather Shelter - In partnership with other South Snohomish County churches, our efforts provide a hot meal and a warm place to sleep for those in need in our area. Our volunteers provide a breakfast and lunch to-go. EUUC is responsible for staffing the shelter one night per week whenever the temperature drops below 33 degrees F. Our funds cover meals and other expenses. Up to 60 members of EUUC volunteer for this program.
Concern for Neighbors Food Bank - In addition to our ongoing collections for the food bank, these funds enable the purchase of much-needed food and household goods that low-income community members can access.
Garden Project - These funds support the vegetable garden at our church. This has been a gathering place for kids in the RE Summer Club and members of our church who either harvest or volunteer time to work in the garden. In addition to serving church members in need, the harvest is distributed to local food banks and low-income families at our local schools.
Interfaith Shelter - This is the only family transitional housing program in Snohomish County. Our funds subsidize rent for several families when they leave the shelter, helping until they are stable enough to pay rent on their own. Our funds also provide money for kitchen and bath supplies for the shelter residents. Several members of our church continue to volunteer at the shelter.
Neighbors in Need - Our primary project in support of Neighbors in Need is preparing and serving brunch once a month to low-income people, in conjunction with other services through our partnership with Trinity Lutheran Church. A dozen EUUC friends and members prepare and serve the food. The number of individuals coming for the brunch increased last year and the trend continues. Over 200 were served in October.
In the arena of social justice work, we cannot know what issues will weigh prominently in 3 months or a year. We want to remain nimble so we can participate in important social justice issues that are continually evolving in our society and the world. The Emerging Needs fund allows us to engage while the issues are playing out and our contribution will have the greatest impact.
The Emerging Needs fund could be accessed for a new project, to pay for hosting social justice projects and events that fall outside the current work of the Social Justice committees, or to pay for expenses related to issues that two or more Social Justice committees, or the congregation, are working on, including Congregational Stands.
Our appreciation of Unitarian Universalist voices and deeds in the national and international social justice arenas prompts us to give annual membership fees to the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee (UUSC), Washington State Unitarian Universalist Voices for Justice, and the NW UU Justice Network. These organizations engage in improving the lives of people locally and around the globe, and they amplify our Unitarian Universalist voice and good works in the world, our country, and Washington State.
We are also members of the Faith Action Network, another opportunity to make our voice stronger, as we collaborate with other local faiths on issues that demonstrate our similar values.
In keeping with the “Sunday Offering Policy,” the Sunday Offering committee researches and selects worthy tax-exempt organizations which are then approved by the Social Justice Council and the Board of Trustees. Each month one of those organizations is identified as the “cause of the month” and promoted during Sunday services. 100% of donations received for the cause are paid to that organization after the end of the month. Last year over $20,000 was collected and donated.