Cause of the Month
The Social Action Committee (SAC) of the UUFA previously selected Causes of the Month for the program year. A new process was implemented in 2020 to determine Causes of the Month. The Social Action Committee (SAC) invites the members of the congregation to choose the organizations that receive Cause of the Month funding through a two-step process. First, any member can nominate a Cause of the Month (limit one per member). Second, UUFA members then vote on the nominations with the twelve organizations receiving the most votes becoming the Causes of the Month. For the 2021-2022 Causes of the Month, the nomination process was completed in February. Between March 8 and March 28, UUFA members are voted to select the Causes of the Month for 2021-2022.
The goal of this new process is for members to choose organizations that care for diverse populations with a primary emphasis on those organizations who are empowering people to better themselves and move out of difficult circumstances in their own lives. Hopefully, organizations are chosen ensuring that UUFA's contribution will have the greatest impact. Above all, the selection of groups should be guided by the seven Unitarian Universalist principles and the UUFA Mission and Vision statements.
For further information, contact Deb Brenner.
Living Our Values
Since its inception in September 2005, the UUFA Cause of the Month (CotM) program has been primarily helping groups in need in the Athens area, thus increasing the visibility and appreciation of our Fellowship in the community. In addition, several UU-affiliated programs have also been CotM.
Share the Plate
Over the past fifteen years, supporting the Cause of the Month has always been an integral part of UUFA. Beginning in July 2013, the congregation initiated Share the Plate. Instead of each person making an individual contribution to the Cause of the Month only on the first Sunday as in previous years, the Fellowship as a whole contributes half of the plate offering every Sunday to the Cause of the Month. Of course, the monies involved in Share the Plate do not include pledges, which are essential to fund the Fellowship’s budget.
Remember that the only funds that are truly shared between UUFA and the Cause of the Month are these monies you put in the offering plate beyond your pledge and/or beyond any other earmarked contributions.
IF you have any suggestions about what you would like to see as a UUFA SAC Cause of the Month, please contact SAC Chair David Jarrett (firstname.lastname@example.org).
2020-2021 Causes of the Month
(Click on the month and year for a link to the organization's Cause-of-the-Month video.
Click on the highlighted headings for a link to each organization's website.
Every Fifth Sunday: Our partner church in Okland, Transylvania (Romania)
UUFA's Partner Church Committee has worked to connect our Fellowship with our sister Unitarian church in Okland, Romania, for almost 30 years. Over this time, we have helped them with things such as buying a cow to fixing the church steeple. We have had over four groups of pilgrims from the UUFA visit their community, and visitors from there have come to Athens to visit. In 2019, we supported seven students with stipends from this church who are in seminary or college and hope to do so in this next year as well.
April 2021: Books for Keeps
Books for Keeps (BFK) works to improve children's reading by addressing barriers related to accessibility and appeal of reading material. They use research-based info to purchase books and by asking the kids what they want. Every elementary child in Clarke County receives 12 new books in April and May of each year. Each child chooses his/her books that they want — no suggestions of making them choose their books — research shows they will read what they choose. Words cannot describe the joy and excitement of these kids getting their own books, For many, it the first books they have owned.
May 2021: The Ark
The Ark opened in 1984 with the mission to help those in need. For the past quarter century the ark has been this community’s emergency room for individuals and families facing financial crisis.
The Ark provided $85,980 in assistance to work with "neighbors," in 2019. It has been a primary Food Bank referral source with 2,032 referrals. Thanks to The Ark, 339 families have been served, preventing 128 evictions and 126 power disconnections. In recent years, The Ark has created a financial education program — CWA, which has provided 213 low-wage workers with $25,550 in loans (average loan $500-$600) with a 99 percent repayment rate and 381 hours of financial education resulting in an average 107-point credit score increase and financial Independence. Not simply numbers, these accounts represent stories of success.
June 2021: Georgia Conflict Center
Georgia Conflict Center focuses on community peacemaking, restorative justice, Nonviolent Communication, and structural violence to GCC’s work. The work of GCC is perfectly captured in its motto, “Conflict is inevitable; violence is not.” GCC has continued to expand, supporting schools, jails, prisons, faith communities, businesses, and other groups in sharpening their conflict resolution skills and finding restorative means to address conflict and harm. This positive orientation to conflict underlies all of GCC’s efforts, because ultimately all conflicts are human conflicts, and it is in our nature to address these in a way that takes account of the needs of everyone.
Causes Lifted Up Previously This Program Year
July 2020: U-Lead Athens
Our mission at U-Lead Athens is to provide tools, resources, and a safe and nurturing environment for our students. We look to encourage success in school and to prepare them for future careers and education. Click on the link above to learn about us, our goals, and how we plan on achieving them.
August 2020: Food 2 Kids
Food 2 Kids/Food 2 Tots, after determining a need, joined together to provide food for children in school and for those kids who are not yet school age. The Food 2 Kids program provides weekend meal bags to over 1,500 students identified by teachers and school counselors as chronically hungry. These bags contain six meals and healthy snacks and are delivered directly to students at school by volunteers. The Food 2 Tots program provides weekend meals to preschool children. This program distributes food that is age appropriate for younger children and helps eliminate the threat of weekend hunger.
The Athens Queer Collective, working to build a stronger, more cohesive and inclusive Athens queer collective through education, outreach, community support and advocacy. Until now, there hasn't been a local Athens organization that addresses intersectionality in the queer community or provides ongoing resources and support, so they stepped up to change that. They offer opportunities for community building and fellowship via support groups for transgender,adults, LGBTQIA+ youth, and queer and trans people of color plus education and hands-on sensitivity and bias training for local businesses, non-profits, agencies and public servants who wish to better serve their LGBTQIA+ patrons.
Support for Immigrant Families in Crisis (SIFIC) provides human and financial support when a family member is detained or deported. Families in crisis experience emotional, financial, and operational upheaval. SIFIC members serve as buddies to help the family navigate various systems--social services, legal assistance, finances, transportation and provide emergency funding for an attorney, and/or help with short-term living expenses including food and rent. UUFA is an active member of the Interfaith Sanctuary Coalition, which supports SIFIC. In the past year, SIFIC has proved emergency support for over 25 families/100 individuals.
November 2020: the Athens Economic Justice Coalition (EJC), a 2020-21 UUFA Justice Partner
The Athens Economic Justice Coalition, a multi-ethnic organization, began in 2003 as a living wage campaign group, with three strategic goals:
- Educate the public on issues of working without a living wage,
- Educate low wage and no wage workers and empower them, and
- Negotiate with authorities that can make a difference in treatment of workers.
The Athens Economic Justice Coalition was founded by UUFA member Ray MacNair. The EJC strives to get workers living wages and fights wage theft and worker abuse and also has been setting up workers’ co-ops to get people to work and teach them to run a business. This organization sponsors Freedom University, Unity, and Peachy Green Cleaning Coop and has lead voter registration and GOTV (Get Out the Vote) initiatives.
The Cottage provides services in English or Spanish regarding sexual assault for parents, children, teens, adults, and LGBTQ individuals. They provide prevention and awareness, child and adult service evaluations, empowerment to individuals, and partnerships with agencies and communities. Their mission includes education, awareness, and training to recent sexual assault and child abuse with a staff of counselors and social workers.
January 2021: Athens Anti-Discrimination Movement (AADM), a 2020-21 UUFA Justice Partner
The Athens Anti-Discrimination Movement, a UUFA Justice Partner, addresses discrimination in downtown businesses, unequal administration of the criminal justice system, and discrimination within our school system and housing. AADM works with youth to help end the school to prison pipeline existing in Athens and works with the school system to help those most at risk of dropping out or being suspended to stay in school and achieve their potential. AADM helps educate the community concerning the inequities and systemic racial discrimination through community dialogues and workshops, and advocates for social justice and reform of the criminal justice system here in Athens.
February 2021: Sandy Creek Nature Center
Sandy Creek Nature Center is a leading provider of environmental and nature education for children and adults with more than four miles of trails, interactive exhibits, live animals, a planetarium, summer camps for children, community educational programs, advocacy for environmental sustainability, land conservation.
March 2021: Dignidad Inmigrante En Athens
Dignidad Inmigrante en Athens is comprised of and led by undocumented immigrants with a demand that the fundamental rights to education, work, housing, and family (love) be safeguarded for all human beings, regardless of their immigration status, race, gender, or sexual orientation. DIA's mission is to create space for liberation of Latinx immigrants living in the US. They educate and engage the public regarding the cultural contributions of Latinx immigrants. DIA's two public campaigns have been successful in stopping cooperation between the sheriff's office and Ice and stopping the ACCPD from arresting immigrants driving without a license.