Addressing Unmet Needs

Finding and Funding Unmet Needs

For a century and a half, the leadership spirit of The Alliance has identified needs and then addressed them. Frequently, this has entailed raising funds through women’s work and then gifting money or goods to the Church to enhance the spiritual lives of the church membership. It started with $30 sent to San Francisco to purchase the silver communion service still in use at First Unitarian. It has continued for generations as noted in the Historic Leadership page.

Looking at the restated Vision of The Alliance produced in 2013, it is easy to see that we  view ourselves as those who find needs and take initiative to address them. Often, this is in line with Church priorities, as in the case of our lead gift to the Raise the Roof Auction.  If you are aware of an aspect of the First Unitarian Church experience that needs improvement, please explain that need to any member of the Leadership Team.

In order to exercise this initiative effectively, we have made changes to our gift allocation process. Our Allocations Committee now oversees the donation of all funds contributed both to First Unitarian Church and to organizations that operate in our wider community. Guidelines and procedures have been revised to achieve a significant impact on any agency receiving Alliance support.

Alliance Voted to Direct Extra Funds to Prepayment of Church's Buchan Mortgage

Since 1865, The Alliance of First Unitarian Church has been supporting our congregation by finding and funding unmet needs. In 2015, in a historic action, The Alliance directed year-end spending toward prepayment of the church’s mortgage balance on the Buchan Building, built in 2007. At its general meeting in April, the former all-women’s organization, directed that available funds of $1000 at the end of its fiscal year be given to the church to assist prepayment. Savings in interest due to any prepayment will reduce interest costs to First Unitarian over the life of the note. “This works just like making extra principal payments on your home mortgage,” said Ken Wheeler, the group’s Treasurer,  “This is spending that keeps adding value year after year.”

mortgageOriginally the Ladies Sewing Society, founded in 1865, we have a long and colorful history of service to the church and the Portland community. This tradition continues in our sponsorship of the church auction, annual December Greens Sale, and the award of those proceeds to community non-profit agencies caring for women, children and the homeless.  “This is simply one more way for our tradition of leadership in service to have our desired impact," noted Co-President Jan Wolf. The Alliance recently celebrated its 150th year of service by raising funds to renovate  the church’s 12th Avenue entrance facility, it’s primary access point of the handicapped, and an ADA certified entry. 

“This is today’s equivalent of the Ladies Sewing Society purchasing the original silver communion set for the church 150 years ago”, recalled Liz Scully, Past Co-President. “It’s a simple, caring gift, that any group or any member can give to help the church in the long term,” she added.The current principal balance of the mortgage is $1,584,000 with a $1,186,000 balloon payment scheduled in 2023. First Church can prepay up to $320,000 in any year without penalty. Gifts to enable additional prepayments are very helpful to the congregation.

Today’s Alliance is comprised of 160 women and men who meet monthly for programs of special interest and entertainment. The group’s service programs add value to the church and community at large. Over its 150 year history, The Alliance has always played a critical support role in dealing with growing processes and organizational adjustments as the church has evolved through its own history.

150th Anniversary Gift Project Completed!BillRecsAllGIft

A renewal of the courageous spirit of seven founders of the Ladies Sewing Circle is rising! At an Alliance meeting, Liz Scully, Chair of the 150th Planning Committee, presented a check for $6338 to Rev. Bill Sinkford. (See photo at right) This represented the proceeds of Alliance fund raising for significant project  to meet unmet needs at First Unitarian.  This entrance is the main access to the sanctuary and Fuller Hall for people with mobility issues.  After church and evening events, people wait at this door for rides.

12th Street EntryEnhancementsl include:
Installing an overhang to protect people entering or waiting from the elements.  It is lighted for safety.
 Brick paving has been added on either side of the door to make access easier.
A one person bench will be installed to the right of the door. 
The automated door opener was moved to the wall, left of the door.
The doors have been painted.
The windows on either side of the door will be re-done using glass block to match the other windows along 12th St.
A plaque acknowledging the Alliance gift will be installed.

More than 70 Alliance members made contributions to this historic gift before the close of the campaign.  The project will be completed in 2017.

Form for Nominating an Agency or Program for Alliance Funding

Many of our grants each year go to work that has caught the eye an interest of our members. (See History of Service Page). Copy and print the following form to make your recommendation for Alliance fund allocation for the coming cycle. Simply highlight and print the form below. Fill it out. Return the completed form to Mary Post, Allocations Chair, c/o First Unitarian office

Allliance Since

Nomination form for 2017 Alliance funds


Please submit by email before January 15th, 2017


First Unitarian Church
c/o The Alliance
1034 SW 13th Street
Portland, OR  97205

Contact Person:

Name of Organization:

Phone Number:                                E-mail Address:

Mailing Address:



 Brief Description of Purpose and Activities;






A wish list if your organization would like to submit one:






Any additional comments and your name:




Please e-mail Mary Post if you have questions at:  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Funding Criteria


The Alliance will support:

·      First Unitarian Church projects that enhance the health of the church and help promote Unitarian Universalism

·      Organizations that support women, children, families and homeless people

·      Local independent organizations, rather than branches of large national organizations that have access to the broad national funding mechanisms of those larger organizations. Consideration is given to a branch that is independent and raises its own funds to serve local people at risk.

·      New start-up organizations that fit the above categories.

 Consideration will be given:

·      The Alliance members’ notes of recommendation

·      According to when we last funded the organizations in hope that we spread our limited resources as far as possible.

 We attempt to avoid duplication of the bequest given out by the Alternative Gift Market or the First Church Sunday morning offerings.


How to Join
-- Simply fill out a form at the reception table at any meeting or ask Jane SmithAllPamp1 to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. the form to you so you can hand it in with your check for $20 made out to The Alliance.  That’s it! Your information will be entered into our data base, and you will receive email invitations to all of the upcoming Alliance meetings and programs. Once you join, explore all of our activities to find an area where you want to donate some of your time.