30 May Purpose, People and Funding
Purpose, People and Funding
Posted | May 30, 2007
With the motivation of the World Congress of Families at our heels, we at United Families International have taken a close look at our efforts to make a difference for families in the world. We are very pleased to report to you, an important supporter of this family cause, on the recent activities and accomplishments of United Families International. This report is particularly timely as UFI has taken significant steps over the past year to more effectively move this work forward.
The report below is organized within the three key elements to the success of any charitable organization: people, purpose and funding.
Our purpose remains as clear as it was when we were originally organized in 1978: educate the public on matters affecting the family unit, work for family-friendly public policy and encourage the building of strong family units.
Many years ago, United Families International identified what we refer to as “The Five Respects,” which deserved our focus and protection. These are the areas in which we identified the greatest threats to the family unit:
marriage between one man and one woman;
the protection of human life, including unborn children;
the rights and obligation of parents;
the respect for cultural and religious values that preserve the family; and
assistance for children growing up without families
Our most recent successes, as outlined below, are directly connected to these five respects.
The completion of two new “Guides to Family Issues”: Abortion, and Cohabitation vs. Marriage;
Three additional guides addressing the topics of marriage, divorce and pornography to be published in the next few months;
A new, updated “UN Negotiating Guide” to better assist lobbyists, ambassadors and delegates at the UN;
Completion of the last three of five Stay Alive program modules;
Stay Alive song competition was held in Kenya for music to accompany each module and reinforce the principles taught;
Issuance of the first formal report by Stay Alive program evaluators where schools tested showed a drop of 61 percent in teen pregnancy (Panos, Panos and Cox, 2006);
Acceptance by the United States Agency for International Development of our preliminary proposal for approximately $1 million in funding to expand the Stay Alive program in Tanzania;
UFI’s Canadian chapter leading an effort to apologize to the world about its government’s decision to legalize same-sex “marriage”;
The gathering of hundreds of signatures at the recent World Congress of Families IV in Poland asking the Canadian government to re-visit their marriage law, which will be added to the thousands of signatures collected through online efforts;
UFI’s news alerts reached almost 150,000 constituents weekly, more than ever before; and
UFI’s volunteer team succeeded in prohibiting language that would have redefined the term “family” at the UN Conference on the Commission on Population and Development.
United Families International has been a volunteer-based organization since its inception in 1978. But thanks to generous supporters, we have been able to staff the organization with professionals as well. Our volunteers and donors are the heartbeat of the organization, but our professionals provide the synergy that brings the credibility and professionalism needed to better succeed in the fight.
In October 2006, I was selected as the new president of UFI. I had been a volunteer of United Families since 2001 and had leadership roles in the two regional conferences held in Arizona in 2001 and 2003, and also served as the Arizona chapter president from 2004 to 2006. In 2006, my husband Glade and I were honored as the National Parents of the Year.
Another exciting new hire to the organization is Laura Knaperek. In January, 2007, she was hired as the new executive director. Laura served in the Arizona State Legislature for 10 years as committee chair for the Appropriations, Higher Education, and Children’s Delivery Systems Committees. Laura brings with her a passion for conservative pro-family policy and enthusiasm for the work.
Julie Walker serves as the director of operations. As an experienced CPA and business leader, her areas of focus are on finances, administration and our humanitarian program, Stay Alive. Julie has been on staff with UFI for almost five years having developed and implemented the business and financial systems for the organization and assisted in the management of the Stay Alive program as well as the International Policy Program and the Defend Marriage Project.
One of UFI’s key staff is Dennis Durband, our publications director. Dennis has been leading the development of our “Guides to Family Issues” booklets for several years now and is assisted by its key developer and volunteer, Marcia Barlow. Marcia has been involved with UFI for seven years, and Dennis has been on the staff for four years.
Our International Policy and United Nations program is staffed by longtime volunteer lobbyists. For example, Kathy Wall and Marcia Barlow have played integral roles in leading teams of volunteers in UN negotiations.
Michelle Stone began volunteering for UFI seven years ago, organizing and participating in UN lobbying efforts. She has since continued on in various UFI humanitarian efforts and currently serves as the program director for Stay Alive. Michelle is a great supporter of the pro-family movement.
UFI’s programs are stronger than ever with the new leadership in place; long-time volunteers and staff have a renewed sense of purpose and effectiveness. But, we cannot do this work without funding and we need your help.
Shortly after I took on the responsibilities of being the UFI president, we began the effort to raise funds for the Arizona marriage amendment proposition and succeeded in raising more than $250,000. We thank all of you who generously contributed to the Arizona coalition’s efforts.
Since that time, UFI, as a co-sponsor of the World Congress of Families IV, has been busy preparing for this exciting event, held every three years. Completion of several documents and the development of educational and support tools for distribution to world leaders and activists present at the conference was our major goal for the first half of 2007. With the support of our “team,” you included, we are happy to report that our goals were more than met.
With all of our success over the past eight months, the only area in which we have been less than successful is in raising sufficient funds needed to continue doing our current work with our current staff. We made the difficult decision in January to cut our full-time staff attorney, which resulted in a significant reduction in our ongoing operational expenses. Even with these savings, we still need to raise $150,000 in the next two weeks or we may be forced to cut programs and personnel.
Please join us again as you have in the past by donating to this worthy cause. Only you can keep UFI alive. Without you the great successes of the past will be just that. A future without UFI will leave a gaping hole in the fight for the family at the UN, in the states and in the world. Make a difference today by sending in your generous donation of $100 – $500 – $1,000 or more to United Families International. If you cannot afford to send that much, send $10, $25 or even $50. Whatever you can do will be appreciated and is needed.
Our mailing address is: United Families International, P.O. Box 2630, Gilbert, Arizona, 85299-2630. You can also donate online. Please send in your donation right away. As a long-time volunteer, I can tell you that your donation will have a greater effect for good than it ever has.