FUM Creates New Sustainability Committee

Called to Energizing and Equipping Friends in New Ways

The mission of Friends United Meeting calls us to “energize and equip” Friends. While this is happening in multiple ways, the General Board is initiating a new effort to support the financial sustainability of our project partners and ministries. In June 2019, the Board adopted the policy that all current and future FUM ministries should move toward the goal of being self-sustaining. The Board recognizes that paternal missional systems that create financial dependency do not “energize and equip” the communities we serve. The Board committed FUM to come alongside ministry leaders and boards to develop sustainability plans that will result in long-term financial stability. At that time, the Board stated, “This absolutely does not imply a diminishing of our commitment and spiritual partnership with any given ministry. Rather, we believe that genuine spiritual partnership is one in which no one is indefinitely dependent on the other.”

The General Board acknowledges that sustainability will look different for different ministries. Some ministries will be best served by having their own endowments; others will be best served by developing a local business or making investments that generate operational income; others may have yet a different path to sustainment. Because FUM serves many vulnerable and under-resourced communities, the Board understands that this ministry of “energizing and equipping” is a long-term commitment.

During the March 2021 meeting of FUM’s General Board, members approved the appointment of a new Sustainability Committee to assist staff, project partners, and local leadership in development of, and implementation of, sustainability plans in keeping with the FUM sustainability policy. The Sustainability Committee of the FUM General Board shall consist of four to eight committee members, half of the members coming from the Africa region, and half from the North American/Caribbean region (allowing for the possibility that other geographic areas might also be represented). At least two members shall be active members of the General Board.

The new committee is charged with the following responsibilities:

Offer guidance and advice to the FUM staff and project partners regarding sustainability plans.

Assess opportunities for sustainability projects or plans within ministries. Such opportunities may include endowments, profit-making business ventures, investments, etc.

Working directly with local leadership, design practicable sustainability plans that are economically and culturally appropriate, with specific implementation steps.

Determine the feasibility of proposed sustainability plans.

In partnership with staff and appropriate committees (such as advancement and/or finance), set fundraising goals to support sustainability efforts.

When needed, assist local leadership and staff in implementing sustainability plans.

Create appropriate assessment frameworks for sustainability plans.

Monitor the implementation of sustainability plans, including oversight of funds in support of such plans, and provide advice or assistance as necessary.

At request of the General Secretary, and in partnership with staff and trustees, consider and help to develop large-scale capital development projects to provide income for the sustainability of multiple ministry projects.

The Nominating Committee of the General Board is currently seeking members with particular expertise to populate this new committee. Please let us know of entrepreneurial-minded Friends with solid business experiences, with an interest in “energizing and equipping” FUM’s global partners in this new way. E-mail us at info@fum.org.

Karla Jay