Time : 13-03-18 18:57
Council, Staff Seek Ways to Build Support
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March 10, 2013, 10:21 AM

Council, Staff Seek Ways to Build Support

Council, Staff Seek Ways to Build Support
Dear Friends,
Greetings of love and peace.
Thursday was the second full day of URI’s Global Council meeting; and at the end of the day the GC was joined by the staff from around the world and from San Francisco for a reception and dinner. The GC and Staff (pictured above) will be together through Monday.
During the day, the GC focused on URI’s strategic plan, which addresses four key areas for URI’s development through 2014:
· The Global Council: Increasing Strength and Sustainability
· The Hub: Building URI’s Operational Capacity for the Future
· URI in the World: Managing Regional Growth; Promoting Impact and Sustainability
· URI Global Initiatives: Developing the Capacity of Emerging Interfaith Leaders
After an overview of the strategic plan and an accounting of what has been accomplished so far in fulfillment of the plan, the GC identified a few key issues on the Council’s strategic agenda:
· Growth for URI
· The GC’s Role in Fundraising
· Review of the Bylaws
An in-depth exploration of Growth for URI followed. A good deal of the reflection focused on the importance of nourishing Cooperation Circles so they produce good fruits and of encouraging partnerships with like-hearted, like-minded organizations to heighten the impact of CCs’ work. The importance of strong relationships – within CCs, among CCs, with partner organizations and on the regional and global levels – was stressed.
An in-depth exploration of the GC’s Role in Fundraising acknowledged how different the fundraising realities are from region to region and often within a region. Still, we identified some key common factors. It is essential to have a legally-constituted entity to raise significant funds. Strong and authentic relationships – whether with individuals, foundations, governments or businesses – are essential to successful fundraising. Being able to make a compelling case for why you’re raising funds and what the benefit will be is also essential.
The GC revisited this discussion from a different perspective on Friday afternoon with a session led by Bishop Swing on URI’s President’s Council. The GC listened to the Bishop recounting the years of engaging work it had taken to build an effective President’s Council of people with a growing connection and commitment to URI and a desire to support its work. The Bishop expressed his eagerness to help URI leaders in different regions work to establish regional President’s Councils.
During lunch on Thursday, the Executive Director Search Committee met and then Search Committee Chair, Doug Kahn, and GC Chair Kiran Bali reported to the entire GC after lunch. Applications for the position have come in from all over the world. By the end of March the search firm will be at work doing preliminary screening of applications.
The intention is to forward a list of the eight-or-so top candidates to the Search Committee for review and further narrowing the field. As the field narrows to two or three top candidates, the Search Committee will engage a broad range of URI stakeholders in assessing the comparative strengths of the candidates. Ultimately, the Search Committee will recommend one or perhaps two candidates to the Standing Committee, which will in turn make a recommendation to the entire Global Council, which has the responsibility of selecting URI’s next executive director. It was noted that the position description for the new executive director is on URI’s website. On Friday, Doug Kahn had a separate meeting with the staff.
The staff joined the GC at the end of Thursday afternoon for a reception, followed by a spirited dinner as GC and staff had an opportunity to meet each other for the first time and/or to renew old friendships.
The GC and Staff met together for most of Friday, a long, content-rich day. We dedicated some time to reviewing the roles and responsibilities of Regional Leadership Teams, and these teams had the opportunity to meet a couple of times, and to provide brief presentations of highlights of URI’s work in their region to the whole group.
We also heard brief presentations about several global programs – Peacebuilding, the Young Leaders Program, the Women’s Initiative, URI and the UN. Also, a group of trustees and staff who are involved in work in and/or with Indigenous communities in many parts of the world met with Alejandrino Quispe and me for an extended session to explore how we might connect this important work around the world. This conversation will continue while we’re together.
I realize that this report is mainly headlines. Perhaps I’ll have another opportunity to provide more detail; but perhaps not. But I feel it is important to note that woven through all this work is an extraordinary spirit of mutual affection and commitment to building a strong future for URI based on a positive partnership between the GC and Staff to strengthen and grow URI’s CC network all over the world.
There has also been an inspiring current of prayer, silence and song to nourish and support us. And an amazement at the extraordinary work that is being carried out at every level of URI.
I thank each of you for your part in that extraordinary, hopeful work.
The Rev Canon Charles P. Gibbs
Executive Director, United Religions Initiative