Austin Split the Plate
Split the Plate Offering Policy
This is the Split the Plate Offering Policy for the First UU Church of Austin. A current list of recipients can be found at http://www.austinuu.org/socialaction/splittheplate.htm
Date of Board approval:
To document the established FUUCA practice of a monthly "Split-the-Plate" offering and to provide guidelines to the Social Action Committee ("the Committee") for selection of recipients of these offerings. The Committee has asked the Board to clarify the respective responsibilities of the Board and the Committee in the selection process and has suggested certain criteria to make the selection process work more smoothly.
This policy applies to the practice of designating one Sunday per month, for eleven months, on which the non-pledge worship service collections are split evenly between FUUCA and a specified charity, and to provide guidelines for the selection of recipients of such offerings.
Several years ago, the Board of Trustees voted to designate one-half of the non-pledge plate collections on one Sunday per month as a donation to a charitable organization outside FUUCA. The Board delegated to the Social Action Committee the responsibility for presenting to the Board of Trustees, in November of each year, a slate of eleven recommended recipients and one alternate for the coming year. The Social Action Committee has done a commendable job in soliciting nominations for Split the Plate recipients, selecting from among the nominated charities, and in describing the work of the selected charities to the congregation on Split the Plate Sundays. Each year, FUUCA donates a significant sum, $11,578, in 2002, to charities serving the larger community. The Board of Trustees considers the Split the Plate program an important part of the work of this church.
The Split the Plate program furthers the mission of this church "to make a positive difference in the lives of our members, our children and the larger community".
Criteria for selecting Split the Plate recipients
The Board delegates to the Social Action Committee, or its successor, the responsibility for recommending to the Board of Trustees, in November of each year, a slate of Split the Plate recipients for the coming year. To assist the Committee in making these selections, the Board establishes the following guidelines:
1.Recipient organizations shall support a charitable purpose that is consistent with Unitarian Universalist principles.
2.To ensure that recipients are organizations to which the FUUCA, as a charitable organization, may legally donate funds, recipient organizations must hold federal tax-exempt status under section 501c(3) of the United States Internal Revenue Code.
An exception to this requirement may be made for certain organizations, such as our Romanian Partner Church, which do not have IRS tax exempt status but which, because of their mission and administration, can be identified as legitimate charitable organizations. If the Committee nominates an organization that does not hold charitable tax exempt status, the Committee must state that the nominee does not hold 501c(3) exempt status and detail for the Board the basis on which the Committee recommends the organization as a legitimate charitable organization. A charitable organization shall not be ineligible solely because it is the charitable arm of an umbrella organization that does not itself hold a charitable tax exemption.
3.Recipient organizations should be independent of the FUUCA.
4.An organization to which FUUCA makes a contribution through a line item in the budget may be an eligible Split the Plate recipient. If the Committee nominates such an organization, the Board requests an explanation of why an additional contribution would be appropriate.
5.The slate of proposed recipients should reflect a variety of charitable causes.
While the Board of Trustees, as the body which bears ultimate legal responsibility for the expenditure FUUCA funds, must retain the ultimate authority to name the recipients of Split the Plate offerings, it is the intent of the Board to accept the Social Action Committee's nominations which meet the above listed criteria. The Board of Trustees again thanks the Social Action Committee for its careful solicitation of nominations and selection of Split the Plate recipients, and the members and friends of FUUCA who have helped to make this program a success.