Divestment Annual Report

First Unitarian Society of Milwaukee
First Annual Report on
Divestment from Fossil Fuel Companies
March, 2014

The First Unitarian Society of Milwaukee’s Board of Trustees passed a “Resolution in Support of Divestment from Fossil Fuel Companies” one year ago.  One of the provisions of the resolution is that the Earth Justice Ministry provides annual updates detailing its progress on the activities that the resolution calls for.

The activity called for by the resolution was to lobby other UU congregations and the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) to similarly divest.  Action on this front has been substantial, including:

  • Exhibiting at District Assembly 2013 in Waukesha, and creating an exhibit board, a brochure, etc.
  • Arranging for, and co-leading a workshop at District Assembly on Divestment and the process at First Church.  The Senior Minister and three members of the Earth Justice Ministry participated.
  • Creating and co-moderating a Yahoo! (email) Group for UUs interested in divestment that in one year grew to 70 members, from all over the country.
  • Drafting and then leading the process of passing an Action of Immediate Witness, Consider Divestment from the Fossil Fuel Industry at General Assembly.
  • Speaking at James Reeb UU Congregation in Madison, both during a service and in an open discussion period afterwards.
  • Speaking at a Madison 350.org monthly meeting.
  • Helping the group choose its name, “Unitarian Universalists for Fossil Fuel Divestment and Sustainable Reinvestment,” a.k.a. “UU Divest” for short.
  • Presenting in a webinar, with Rev. Jim Antal of the United Church of Christ, sponsored by GreenFaith.
  • Creating an initial draft of a Business Resolution and stewarding it through the process of many revisions to obtain agreement from our group, verifying its legality with the UUA attorney and making appropriate changes, sending it to the UUA Treasurer Tim Brennan for agreement with him and committees, and traveling to Boston to negotiate the “final version” with Tim Brennan, Committee on Socially Responsible Investing co-chair Simon Billeness, Rev. Fred Small and UU Ministry for Earth (UUMFE) board member Cindy Davison.
  • Shepherding the process of gathering signatures on UUA petitions, collating them and submitting them to the UUA.  We submitted about four times as many signatures as were needed to secure a place on the General Assembly (GA) Tentative Agenda.
  • Writing blog posts and frequent messages to our group to keep people updated.
  • After the Proposed Business Resolution (then click on “2014 Tentative Agenda (PDF) and go to page 15-16) was accepted to the preliminary agenda by the UUA, determining that an ad in the GA Program would be a useful step to passing the Resolution and then: raising funds for that ad from UU Divest, and creating the ad with a very short deadline.
  • Arranged to have a table at the GA UUMFE exhibit booth to present and discuss the Business Resolution with attendees.   We will use excess funds raised for the ad, and raise more money if necessary, to pay UUMFE.