For the past year, UU Wellesley has been preparing for a Capital Campaign, due to “kick off” in April 2015. The precipitating event was a major flood in September 2013, which severely damaged our basement and has left much of the space unusable to this day. An assessment committee was quickly assembled to take stock of the damage and the cost of repair. Its task grew from considering immediate flood concerns, to considering which areas in our physical plant have suffered from chronic underfunding of maintenance, and finally to considering the potential benefits of renovation. Although the Capital Campaign will be driven by a need to restore our buildings and prevent future flooding, it also represents our generation’s chance to define how the facilities can serve our future needs and support our congregational mission. It has been nearly 20 years since we undertook the last Capital Campaign (“Legacy”) and the changes to our congregation since then require a re-visioning process.
Goals of the Campaign
- Build our faith community
- High participation
- Raise funds
Our first goal is to build our faith community, consistent with the recently developed Mission Statement. By “high participation” we mean broad-based investment of our "time, talents, and treasure.” The Capital Campaign will require input and energy from all of us, so that it reflects who we are as a community. Finally, we must raise the needed funds to pay for the repairs and improvements to our facilities.
Three key groups
On the funding front, the Capital Campaign has organized to determine how much capital is needed and how it can be raised. This involves the efforts of:
- a Building Assessment Committee
- Capital Campaign/Stewardship Committees (Joint)
- a UUA Consultant
The Building Assessment Committee has been asked to study the issues affecting our facilities, to propose new space configurations that reflect congregational priorities and possibilities, and to evaluate the costs and benefits of various options; this committee represents the “spenders.” The Capital Campaign and Stewardship Committees are the “fund raisers”; they have substantial overlap in responsibilities, and are functioning as a joint committee, with the understanding that both near-term budget and long-term facilities issues must be addressed. The process is complex and we have been working with a consultant from the UUA to help us navigate it.
There are four areas that will require attention: flood control, the Rice House structure, repairing and reconfiguring parts of the church, and deferred maintenance. The Building Assessment Committee is applying four processes to each: stabilize, study, repair, and redefine. This is an iterative process, involving both internal discussion and external input from engineers and other professionals.
After many months of meetings, the Building Assessment Committee has prepared several scenarios for our facilities and shared them with the congregation at a Quarterly Conversation meeting. There has been significant professional input, including from our architect and from a civil engineering firm (with a second engineering firm engaged to provide additional recommendations for our site). The committee has collected many ideas from the congregation on the needed repairs/upgrades to our facilities and has tried to establish priorities. For more information on the options, click HERE.
Barry Finkelstein---our UUA Consultant—recently completed his Financial Feasibility Study for our upcoming Capital Campaign. As part of this process, he collected information via interviews and surveys from 28 households. Thank you everyone who participated, giving us thoughtful and candid input. Barry used this sample to determine the congregation’s familiarity with and support for the proposed campaign.