As we move towards a model of Sustaining the Sanctuary, it’s important for members of our community to know where our money has come from, and how we spent it. Below is the story of The Sanctuary’s first year, told through our finances.


The Sanctuary received money from a variety of sources. Our largest funding partners in year one were grants from the UU Funding Program, and the Woburn Fund. As you can see, we only pulled in 6% of our total income from donations and plate offerings.

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Most of our expenses in year one went towards our music program (Coordination, Mark Buckles and Musicians, Matt Meyer and others) and modest compensation for staffed members of the founding coordination team. Joanna Lubkin was compensated at $10/hour for communications work (approx 5/hrs a week). And Elizabeth Nguyen was compensated at the same modest rate ($10/hour) on a more as needed, limited, basis for certain projects for much of the year. David Ruffin filled the role of Coordinator as a Field Education Intern and received a $6,000 stipend, paid for by our grant from the Fund for Unitarian Universalism. Schuyler Vogel and Kenny Wiley both were allowed to allot a portion of their internship hours at First Church in Boston and First Parish in Cambridge to The Sanctuary Boston.

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So what does it cost to make a worship happen?

Glad you asked! An average worship costs about $550, plus or minus about $75. It depends on how much of the food gets donated, and how many professional musicians we have that week. This¬†does *not* include our intern coordinator who’s stipend is being covered by First Church in Boston, the UUA, and the Mass Bay District. Most of our worship expenses go towards keeping really high quality music!

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The Bottom Line

This was Year One, when we were an experimental and brand-new community, and mostly funded by grants. As we move forward, we hope to grow and strengthen The Sanctuary into a more self-sustaining community. Some goals for Year Two:

  • Increase community support from 6% of income to about 40%.
  • Raise money from the broader community through shared plate gifts from community congregations, the yet-to-be-named Kickstarter-like project of the UUA, and other sources
  • Prepare our finances to transition from an Intern Coordinator to a part-time Staff Coordinator, paid in line with UUA fair compensation guidelines for small communities

If you want to help build The Sanctuary into a sustainable community, become a Sanctuary Sustainer today, and make a donation (recurring or one-time) towards the financial stability of this community. Click here to donate!