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The Veatch story

A generous gift has provided millions for Unitarian Universalist and social justice programs.
By Warren R. Ross
Fall 2005 8.15.05

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When Caroline Veatch died in 1953, she left her shares in the North European Oil Company to her church, the North Shore Unitarian Society in Manhasset, New York. Little did she or the congregation think that over the years the income would keep growing, nearing close to $20 million in its peak year.

Neither did anyone anticipate that what is now the Unitarian Universalist Congregation at Shelter Rock would use the income to develop its Veatch Program, which has enriched the Unitarian Universalist Association, literally and programmatically, and vastly increased Unitarian Universalist social action. On top of that, Veatch in 2004 gave grants to some 200 grassroots organizations fighting for social justice.

The 2004 grants totaled $9,538,000, of which $2,712,000 went to denominational programs and the balance to organizations in four categories: making democracy work; economic equity and fairness; capacity building for social justice; and civil rights and sustainable communities.

As a recent Veatch annual report says:

Much is wrong in the world as we find it in the beginning of the twenty-first century. Tremendous wealth and greed exist alongside unbearable poverty; we find little compassion and almost no greatness among our national leaders. We believe that fundamental changes are needed—changes in values, in priorities, in analysis, and in governance.

We also believe that these changes will occur only if the people of this country themselves provide the leadership that is so sorely lacking. The Veatch Program funds organizations of people, not of “experts,” because we believe that it is only by rebuilding democracy in this country from the bottom up that new policies will be envisioned, demanded, and implemented. . . .

[In line with] the principles of Unitarian Universalism, we strive through our grant-making to encourage “a free and responsible search for truth and meaning; justice, equity, and compassion in human relations; and the use of the democratic process.”

For more information or to receive a report that describes application procedures call (516) 627-6576.

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