Last Updated: 04/10/2021

Note: The Congregational Care Fund was previously known as the Minister’s Discretionary Fund. We changed the name to recognize that the purpose of the fund was more important than who administered it.

  1. Congregational Care Fund Purpose and Goal
    WSUU maintains a Congregational Care Fund (CCF) to provide confidential assistance to members and friends of the congregation and members of the larger community in meeting their basic living needs (such as shelter, food, utilities, medical) and other exigencies (such as transportation, fees). While the priority is to assist members, at times, a donation may be made to another agency, or to support an emergent priority, or to meet other needs that would otherwise go unmet. All Congregational Care Funds are used in support of our Unitarian Universalist Seven Principles, and usage is deeply grounded in trust between the Minister and the congregation. The Minister has discretionary and confidential use of these funds in accordance with tax-exempt law and this policy.
  2. CCF Controls and Review
    1. Contributions to the Fund
      Contributions to the fund may be made by individuals, by allocations by the board, or through special offerings as designated. In order for contributions to be tax-deductible, no contribution may be designated for the benefit of any particular recipient. Honoraria received by the Minister are not subject to this policy.
    2. Distributions
      1. The Minister will keep a confidential written record including the date, the amount of the disbursement, the beneficiary (the individual or family who benefit), and the payee (the person or organization to whom the check is made payable) and the form of payment.
      2. The Minister will provide distributions through a CCF checking account, debit card or gift cards.
      3. The Minister will maintain the account records for the checking account, debit cards and gift cards.
      4. The Minister will provide the Bookkeeper with a report (excluding beneficiary information or other information that would breach confidentiality) on all transactions on a monthly basis so that the Bookkeeper can update the financial records.
    3. Restrictions.
      While exercising due diligence in making decisions about expenditure from the CCF, the Minister has discretion over expenditures, with the following restrictions:
      1. Funds may not be used for the direct or indirect benefit of the Minister and/or any member of the Minister’s family.
      2. Funds may not be used to provide compensation, benefits, or gifts to staff.
      3. Funds may not be spent on any line item already covered in WSUU’s operating budget.
      4. Recipients or beneficiaries of funds shall be affiliated with WSUU through membership, regular attendance, pledging and/or donating or other contact with WSUU. Such persons will generally be known to the Minister and/or a WSUU member.
      5. No checks or debit withdrawals will be made out to or disbursed in cash without written approval from the Board President. Every effort should be made to write checks directly to a merchant or agency for goods or services.
      6. To the maximum extent possible, payments will be made to landlords, utilities or similar entities to address the financial need identified by the beneficiary.
      7. If gift cards are disbursed, there shall be a written record including the date and amount of the gift card and its purpose.
      8. Gifts are limited to $300 per disbursement per beneficiary (person or family) and a maximum of two gifts for a total of $400 within two years for the beneficiary. This limit may be exceeded with the written approval of the Board President.
  3. Roles and Responsibilities
    1. The Minister will:
      1. Maintain confidential record of transactions for at least two years;
      2. Deliver de-identified bank statements and debit card statements monthly to the Bookkeeper;
      3. Ensure beneficiaries have not received $400, or higher maximum total as approved by Board President, of assistance within two years 
      4. Manage the checking account.
    2. The Treasurer will:
      1. Review de-identified bank statements and debit card statements at least quarterly to confirm adherence to the written policy, maintaining confidentiality around any details; 
      2. Provide quarterly reports to the Board each March, June, September, and December. The quarterly report will include: the starting fund balance, the total dollar amount of the deposits made during the quarter, the total dollar amount of the disbursements made during that quarter, and the ending fund balance.
      3. Disburse funds with the Minister’s approval or, in the Minister’s absence, the Board President’s approval;
      4. Return documents to the Minister if appropriate. 
    3. The Bookkeeper will:
      1. Receive quarterly de-identified transactions from Minister, update financial records with the information and pass them to the Treasurer. 
    4. The Board President will:
      1. Approve cash disbursements when appropriate; 
      2. Review and approve as appropriate disbursements above $400 for a single beneficiary within a two-year period if requested by the Minister or other authorized individual;
      3. Review and approve disbursement of funds after consultation with the Pastoral Care team in the Minister’s absence, the Minister is on extended leave, is incapacitated or there is no Minister. The Board President will take on the Minister’s responsibilities in paragraph 3(a) above in any of these situations. 
  4. Fund Retention
    Any money left in the Congregational Care Fund at the end of each church fiscal year is retained and made available for subsequent years. In the event of a Minister’s departure, all monies in the CCF remain with WSUU.

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