Strong RE Programs Begin with Strong Leaders
The LREDA Grant Program
In 1998 the Unitarian Universalist Congregation at Shelter Rock (UUCSR), Manhasset, NY approved the grant proposal submitted by the LREDA Grant Committee and awarded $800,000 to provide grants of $15,000 each to congregations in order to help them raise compensation levels of their religious educators to at least the minimum levels recommended by the Unitarian Universalist Association. The plan was that the grants would give each congregation the initial incentive as well as the time to develop a plan to maintain the salaries at the higher levels.
Because of the success of this incentive program, LREDA wished to benefit more congregations. They submitted a second proposal to the Veatch Program at UUCSR and received a second grant of $250,000 which provided grants to 15 additional congregations to raise the salary and benefits of their religious educators.
These grants have proved to be an important investment to the participants. Strong religious education programs are vital to the health of our congregations. Not only do they provide essential religious education leadership but a strong, vibrant ministry of religious education is often the major point of attraction for families seeking a religious and spiritual home. LREDA is grateful for the creative vision of the leadership of the Congregation at Shelter and the Veatch Program. We are grateful for their confidence in the ability of LREDA to administer this program and change the face of religious education leadership in our Association.
Pat Ellenwood for The LREDA Grant Committee
Deborah Kahn, Jaco ten Hove, Barbara Wallace
Goals of the LREDA Grant
· greater job satisfaction and longer tenure in the position
· increased stability and depth in lifespan religious education programming
· better educated, more experienced religious educators through continuing education and participation in professional meetings and conferences
· greater congregational satisfaction with and respect for the religious education professional creation of models for good compensation and benefits practices
· changes in norms and standards of congregations and the association
Criteria of the LREDA Grant
Each congregation will need to meet the following criteria to be eligible for this grant:
1. Completion of a written covenant between the congregation and the religious educator
2. Minimum employment at half-time or six units per week without expectation of additional volunteer hours
3. Presentation of congregational budget with plans to reach within three years fair compensation in salary, benefits, and professional expense provisions within the guidelines published in "To Sustain the Living Tradition" and to sustain it thereafter.
4. Paid membership in LREDA for the religious educator
5. Evidence of support by the congregation for Anti-racism/oppression and Welcoming Congregation initiatives
6. Receipt of positive written recommendation from district field staff
7. Evidence of fair share congregation status in the UUA Annual Program Fund
8. Evidence of full payment of district dues
LREDA Grants awarded through the generosity of The Congregation at Shelter Rock 1998-2003
Community Unitarian Universalist Church Daytona Beach, FL
Tennessee Valley UU Church Knoxville, TN
Buxmont Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Warrington, PA
First Unitarian Church of Honolulu Honolulu, HI
Unitarian Society of Ridgewood Ridgewood, NJ
Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Santa Fe Santa Fe, NM
Towson Unitarian Universalist Church Lutherville, MD
Unitarian Universalist Church of Delaware County Media, PA
Henry David Thoreau Congregation Stafford, TX
All Souls Unitarian Church Colorado Springs, CO
Unitarian Universalist Fellowship at Stony Brook Stony Brook, NY
South Nassau UU Congregation Freeport, NY
Unitarian Universalist Church of Urbana-Champagne Urbana, IL
Unitarian Universalist Society of Sacramento Sacramento, CA
Unitarian Universalist Congregation of York York, PA
People’s Church of Kalamazoo Kalamazoo, MI
Unitarian Universalist Church of Long Beach Long Beach, CA
Unitarian Universalist Church of Berkeley Kensington, CA
Valley Unitarian Universalist Church Chandler, AZ
Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Frederick Frederick, MD
Unitarian Universalist Church of the Restoration Philadelphia, PA
Mt. Diablo Unitarian Universalist Church Walnut Creek, CA
Unitarian Universalist Church of Annapolis Annapolis, MD
Unitarian Universalist Church of Montclair Montclair, NJ
Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Columbia Columbia, MD
White Bear Unitarian Universalist Church Mahtomedi, MN
Unitarian Universalist Church of Jacksonville Jacksonville, FL
Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Binghamton Binghamton, NY
Unitarian Universalist Church of Eugene Eugene, OR
First Unitarian Church of Omaha Omaha, NB
Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of San Dieguito Solana Beach, CA
Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Harford County Churchville, MD
First Unitarian Congregational Society of Brooklyn Brooklyn, NY
Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Somerset Hills Somerville, NJ
Unitarian Universalist Church Palo Alto, CA
Second Unitarian Church Chicago, IL
Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Sonoma County Santa Rosa, CA
Unitarian Congregation Saskatoon, SK, Canada
Evergreen Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Marysville, WA
Spirit of Life Unitarian Universalist Odessa, FL
Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of the Conejo Valley Thousand Oaks, CA
Quimper Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Port Townsend, WA
First Unitarian Church Des Moines, IA
Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Northwest Tucson Tucson, AZ
Unitarian Universalist Church of Riverside Riverside, CA
Unitarian Universalist Community of El Paso El Paso, TX
Unitarian Universalist Church of Charlotte Charlotte, NC
First Unitarian Society of San Francisco San Francisco, CA
Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Northern Nevada Reno, NV
Bellingham Unitarian Fellowship Bellingham, WA
Conclusions of Research and Analysis
The Grant Committee LREDA is pleased to share with you a summary of the results of a Research and Analysis Project completed in January 2007 designed to determine the effect of an incentive grant for religious education leaders on the congregations that received the $15,000 awards. Dr. Carol Owen, Professor Emerita Northeastern University, was the Research Director; and Lynn Larsen, a graduate student in the School of Education at Boston University, the Research Assistant.
· The majority of congregations reporting were able to sustain higher levels of payment to their religious educators at least one year beyond the life of the grant.
· The majority of congregations reporting were paying at least a 10% pension benefit after the grant period ended.
· Less than half of congregations reporting seemed to have recognized the importance of professional expenses to a religious educator’s work.
· The LREDA Grant was perceived as having many beneficial effects on the role of and respect for religious educators.
· While congregations have reported some physical growth, more often they have commented on the program’s many contributions to congregational health.
· The majority of the responses (51%) were that either more employees were being paid at guideline levels or a plan had been developed to accomplish this.
· There is no indication that some pre-existing condition other than the grant could account for a congregation's increasing the salary of its religious educator to the recommended level.
LREDA Grants awarded through the generosity of The Unitarian Universalist Veatch Program at Shelter Rock 2003 - 2006
Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Wayne County Wooster, Ohio
Atkinson Memorial Church Oregon City, Oregon
Thomas Jefferson Memorial Church Charlottesville, VA
Unitarian Church North Mequon, Wisconsin
All Souls Unitarian Universalist Congregation New London, Connecticut
Neighbourhood Unitarian Universalist Congregation Toronto, Ontario Canada
Unitarian Universalist Church of Greater Lansing East Lansing, Michigan
Unitarian Society of Santa Barbara Santa Barbara, California
Unitarian Universalist Church in Cherry Hill Cherry Hill, New Jersey
Channing Memorial Church Ellicott City, Maryland
Unitarian Universalist Church of Harrisburg Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
Unitarian Universalist Church of Tucson Tucson, Arizona
First Unitarian Church of Chicago Chicago, Illinois
Unitarian Universalist Church of the Monterey Peninsula Monterey, California