20 Dec A Record-Breaking Year Because of You.
Dear UFI family and friends,
Merry Christmas! As we celebrate this season of giving, I’m writing to let you know your support this past year was instrumental in providing many of the resources needed for 2017 to be a record-breaking year for UFI. We cannot thank you enough! Miracles are happening – yet we can only take advantage of them with the needed resources.
Through the help of Providence, we are at a transitional moment in the pro-family cause, and the pivot is turning in our direction. The change in Washington has put the opponents to the family on defense for the first time in recent memory. What this means is, with the continued support of families like yours, we are now on the offense and making positive differences at the UN regaining “ground” for the cause of the family.
UFI’s UN Mission Visit Coordinator, April Gallart, shared her insights into these changes taking place at the UN in this way:
“We all noticed an increased desire [among the diplomats] to stand for families and traditional values; something we haven’t seen so much of in past years. It felt like the tide was turning. These countries have experienced the very real harms from some of the UN’s women’s and children’s programs — programs they were pressured into accepting, and they’re now eager and hungry for resources and support to move forward in ways that align with their culture, traditions, and religious values.”
We have a loyal group of supporters that helped make this happen. Here is everyone’s contribution set the stage for in the pro-family cause this year:
1. This year UFI monitored and participated in multiple United Nations Events. Here are a couple of examples:
a) Commission on the Status of Women (New York) – Every March we attend the Commission on the Status of Women at the UN. This year we brought the largest contingent of UFI members in our history – 26 total.
Your contribution allowed us to have private meetings with a record number of 37 country delegations, and give two Side Event presentations that were standing room only; one in coordination with Operation Underground Railroad and the other with the Mission of Kenya. We also had over 300 people attend these two Parallel Events. One was sponsored by the Mission of Nigeria on the topic of Family Capital and the other spotlighting the fine work of Operation Underground Railroad.
b) Human Rights Council in Geneva – For the first time in many years, a UFI team was in attendance at the Human Rights Council session in Geneva, Switzerland. We were able to deliver pro-family/pro-life materials and meet with diplomats from 16 missions. The UFI delegates were able to lay the groundwork for becoming involved in the UN Universal Periodic Review (UPR) process, where they determined the UPR process is an approachable and cost-effective way to have a major impact on international pro-family/pro-life policies. We are looking forward to engaging with this in a substantial way in 2018.
2. Through the coordinated efforts of the pro-family caucus at the UN, landmark changes took place in UN documentation this year and UFI was actively engaged:
a. The word “family” has returned to UN Commission outcome documents. While this may seem small, it speaks volumes to the delegates at the UN. For close to eight years, the word “family” has been absent from UN documents, implying the family was a controversial and outmoded way to solve the world’s issues.
b. Parental Right’s language was placed back in General Assembly Resolutions including (1) rights of the child, (2) rights of the girl child and, (3) rights of girls with disabilities. This also may seem small – but the wording is significant because it sets the tone for all policy documents thereafter.
3. A new WorldFamilyNews website – Because of the generous help of Ben Pingel , and after over a hundred hours of work by UFI staff, we launched a brand new site for World Family News. This has allowed us to keep our network of readers informed about issues impacting the family throughout our country and around the globe. We encourage you to check it out!
4. In our digital outreach, during the last year UFI has produced over 100 UFI blog posts, scores of Facebook posts, 17 weekly alerts/articles, while the UFI sponsored WorldFamilyNews.com carried over 1,000 news articles. This has been done to help others become educated on the issues, share the information with others and stand for family and life wherever they live.
5. UFI has partnered with a new, very pro-family, Spanish website and print magazine, Familia Cultura, to distribute UFI articles and materials to their Hispanic audience. We are hoping this partnership will be in full bloom in early 2018.
6. UFI was chosen as one of a select number of pro-family/pro-life groups to participate in a petition that gathered almost 100,000 signatures of people who are solidly in support of maintaining a “right to life” for unborn children worldwide.
7. Mentoring the rising generation – One thing we are very proud of is the relationship we have with select colleges to provide internship opportunities for Jr and Sr year Family Advocacy students. This year, because of your support we mentored a RECORD nine (9) interns at CSW in New York. Each of them came away from that experience changed for life, having a front row seat of the difference standing for the family can make throughout the world.
We also sponsored seven (7) online interns over the course of the school year. These interns participated in online advocacy through contributions to our blog, WorldFamilyNews, as well as increasing our presence on social media.
8. Finally, 2017 was another year of change for us. The role of President of UFI transitioned from Kelli Houghton to Tori Black. Kelli has been a part of UFI for almost 20 years, and her leadership focused on building the base of UFI executive and project managers, bringing more people into roles of responsibility where they could serve and grow.
Kelli is handing the baton off to Tori with a very able team to assist in keeping our mission moving forward. Tori has been part of the UFI executive team for a number of years, and her experience and know-how have prepared her well to run with the torch. We are very excited for the work she will do as our next president.
As you know, UFI is a completely volunteer-run organization. The entire executive team volunteers thousands of hours, and much of their own resources, because they believe in the pro-family cause to the core of their souls. What this means to you is 100 percent of the funds donated go to fulfilling our mission. We have zero overhead, except for our dear bookkeeper, Esme. We are at a crucial moment in the pro-family cause where UFI’s role at the UN, online, mentoring the rising generation and rolling out new programs to further educate others on how to promote the family is vital to continue playing offense.
With all we accomplished in the past 12 months, your donation will continue this momentum. Thank you in advance! You are doing something that makes a significant difference on families around the world, and your continued support means everything to us.
Robert F. Spiel
United Families International, Chairman