Proposed Amendment #3 to Business Resolution: Complete Divestment from the Fossil Fuel Industry and Subsequent Reparations


UPDATED 6/10: Friendly Amendment proposed during the Mini-Assembly has been incorporated.
UPDATED 6/10: Corrected the name of the proposer.

[brackets indicate deletion.]

End the text of Business Resolution–Complete Divestment from the Fossil Fuel Industry and Subsequent Reparations at line 307. That is, eliminate all text from line 308 on and remove [and Subsequent Reparations] from the title of the Business Resolution.

305 BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the UUA will commission a study, done by a third party, to
306 determine the cost and process of transitioning the entirety of the Common Endowment Fund out of
307 nontransparent, commingled funds, which will be reported in full to General Assembly in 2024 . [, and]

[308 BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the UUCEF will return an equivalent value of the securities that were
… ]

Full text of the Business Resolution: Complete Divestment from the Fossil Fuel Industry and Subsequent Reparations


I believe you are suggesting that reparations should be separated from divestment. If I am correct, I would agree. The current information on reparations is vague, and the path forward for just 7 people, anything but clear. This process needs wide-scale input from membership so delegates have a clear path forward on behalf of their congregations.


To “separate” one section from another suggests that both sections remain - intact but distinct. From my reading, Roger McArthur’s amendment suggests REMOVAL of all material 308 and beyond. That is, the reparation section is removed/deleted/excised/gone under his amendment. He says line 308 and beyond is eliminated.

I hope he will comment.

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I submitted Amendment 3 because I believe the reparations portion of the proposed resolution is really independent of divestment of fossil fuel investments from the UUA endowment (UUACEF).

Another reason for sidelining reparations for now comes from the logic of divestment. Selling all holdings in the fossil fuel asset class sends the powerful message to those companies that we (in this case the UUA endowment) don’t want to own their stock for moral reasons. But in the mechanics of divestment, once these stocks are sold, the funds become available to invest in companies that have a positive effect on climate change. Creating a reparations program from the proceeds of divesting eliminates one of the primary reasons for divestment in the first place.

Reparations deserves its own conversation. For now, let’s focus on divestment.


Yes, I was a little confused by Roger’s amendment and was seeking clarification. I understand your distinction. I would like to see both sections separate and distinct. I think reparations needs to be better developed but not gone. I would hope that amendments could then be added to the reparations part primarily for purposes of clarification. As the reparation part of the resolution now reads I cannot in good conscience vote for the resolution. Separated I could vote for divestment, and possibly reparations subject to timely amendments. Unfortunately, our church has to vote by this Sunday.


Thank you for your amendment. I will vote for the resolution if this amendment passes, and I will vote against it if this amendment fails. You are swimming upstream with this amendment, so good luck. The UUA is used to delegates approving the measures that they surface at GA.


Reparations is a big topic to be addressed, and it deserves its own conversation


One detail about this amendment is that removing all lines from #308 to the end, will also remove the FINAL RESOLUTION. The lines 334-337 would need to be rewritten to state a “Be it finally resolved” statement without reference to reparations.


In addition to Gina’s point, this amendment would have the resolution end with “, and”

Kind of reminds me of Gracie Allen’s line: “Never put a period where God has put a comma… God is not done speaking.” Nonetheless, maybe a different amendment was intended?

Is there a process to amend these amendments during the mini-assembly on Saturday?


I am totally opposed to this entire business resolution. However, removing the entire section about reparations would remove the most egregious part of the resolution. Reparations is a complicated subject that requires serious consideration, not a knee-jerk reaction as is presented in this business resolution. The Board is working on this issue; let them do the work.
My opposition to this entire resolution is founded on the meaning of “endowment,” the source of most of this money. The people who left their estates to the UUA, as those members of my congregation who left their estates to my church, expected the principal to be preserved and utilized to earn returns that fund the goals of the UUA and of my congregation into the future..
The reparations section jeopardizes the principal of the UUA’s endowment. The prior section jeopardizes the returns posible to fund the association and the congregations which invest their endowments in the UUCEF. This resolution would gut the UUCEF; and my congregation, as well as others, would remove their investments.
The UUCEF was a pioneer in socially responsible investing by an endowment. It provides reliable returns to congregations. It uses its 200+ billion dollar principal to exert pressure on large corporations, in concert with other non-profits. Our principal may seem huge to us as individuals, but, in the endowment investment world, it’s a small player, but one that exerts an inordinate amount of power in its partnerships. This entire influence is at risk from this business resolution.


I agree. These two separate and distinct policy options should not be conflated. The Widening the Circle Report section on reparations does not have a policy to fund reparations from the Endowment. If the goal is $14M (the amount of the invested funds in fossil fuels), then a separate initiative to raise $100 from each of 155,000 UUs would be a both-and solution, allow re-investment in a nexus industry of renewable energy and not force a budget cut to the UUA from the reduction in the Endowment.

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My congregation only invested in UUCEF because it was claimed in 2014 that the UUCEF was divesting. That turned out not to be true. I will propose to my congregation that we now divest from fossil fuels, which means divesting from the UUCEF.


This amendment fails to put any thought and consideration into a proposal for what to do with the liberated funds. Your amendment proposal does not in any way ensure the 14 million dollars are reinvested in green energy or anything else that has to do with our values as Unitarian Universalists. It simply allows the committee/CFO to reinvest the money as it sees fit.

Given the UUCEF committee’s/CFO’s history when moving as it sees fit, and looking at the most recent holdings report, I find it more likely this money would be reinvested in Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway, Walmart, etc. Unfortunately, as it is well past the deadline for amendments, so you cannot correct what is clear to me a knee jerk reaction to UUA money going to indigenous, black, and brown communities, rather than reinvested in (largely) white owned businesses which exploit black and brown bodies to produce further wealth. I hope UUs will vote against this amendment.


It feels very binary to say that you can’t use reparations to invest in clean energy, especially if own/managed/created/benefits marginalized folks. This would allow for the divestment to be used in a variety of beneficial ways, to reinvest in people, not just reinvesting in the capitalist system.


I’m wondering if you are against this resolution because it feels all of a sudden or all divestment?

This is from the CEF Website

“At its meeting on March 24, 2023, the UUA Investment Committee unanimously voted to end future shareholder engagement with all Carbon Underground 200 (CU200) companies and to complete our divestment of CU200 companies subject to the completion of current year engagements. The CU200 list names the 200 largest publicly traded oil, gas, and coal companies ranked by the carbon emissions embedded in their reserves.”


Major kudos to everyone involved in pushing for divestment from fossil fuels. It’s an essential step towards a cleaner and greener future. My eyes lit up seeing the passion and commitment laid out so clearly in the business resolution when it was brought to my congregation! You are all beyond awesome!

But there’s the fourteen-million-dollar question: How and to whom should those funds be directed?Here’s some possibilities to get your gears turning!

A portion of the funds could be channeled into funding infrastructure in the very communities that have been historically marginalized and affected by environmental racism. How many communities of color have lost access to clean water, or had their food production severely damaged by fracking, pipeline leakage, or industrial runoff?? —imagine the transformation we could help enable!!

But let’s not stop there. What if we provided funding to groups and organizers working towards police abolition in areas where police militarization has been funded by the fossil fuel companies the UUCEF invested in? We can help equip people to lead lives free from state and fossil fuel funded terror.

And why not support the amazing grassroots organizations that are tirelessly working towards environmental justice? These unsung heroes often operate on a shoestring budget, limiting participation in environmental work to volunteerism. What if we helped fund paid positions that allow people to live fully into this holy work of restoring our relationship to the planet and eachother??

Amazingly so many vibrant possibilities open up after only three options! I’m barely scratching the surface of where reparations could go and how this money could be used to uplift communities harmed by the fossil fuel industry.

The business resolution is beautifully set up to ensure that reparations is a process that involves diverse multitudes of our faith community over a long period of time! There is no way that in the formation of a committee followed by regular public engagement that we land on making “knee-jerk” decisions about how this wealth is used! The writers have obviously put their faith and their trust in Unitarian Universalists to come together on this and make faithful values based decisions.

I SO look forward to the ongoing discussions that will be had once this resolution passes at GA!


I strongly agree that reparations, especially as presented in the original proposed text, has no relationship to the purpose of divesting holdings in fossil fuels. This should be a separate issue.


Yes, lines 334-337 could be amended such as:
334 BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED that this General Assembly encourages Unitarian Universalist
335 congregations and Unitarian Universalists to review their congregational and personal investments**, and** [in
336 order] to take action in response to climate change[, build community connection and resilience, and pay
337 reparations to historically exploited communities] by divesting their holdings in fossil fuel companies.
deleting the parts in brackets


Interesting; was that after this business resolution had gotten the necessary signatures to be added to the agenda? If so, did this resolution cause the Investment Committee to do now what is was required to do starting in 2014?


They actually said as much in the info session; they did not feel that they needed to be involved in the reparations decision-making process, they trusted the future UUs who would be doing that. Refreshing, and good for them leading the way!