22 Dec 2016 – A Banner Year Made Possible Because of You
December 23, 2016
Looking back on the past 12 months, 2016 was a headline year for UFI – and your generosity made it happen. Many don’t realize we are a completely volunteer run organization. The entire executive team volunteers thousands of hours because they believe in the pro-family cause to the core of their souls.
What this means to you is 100% of the funds donated go to fulfilling our mission. And we are at a pivotal moment in the pro-family cause. The change in Washington is an opportunity to regain footing we lost over the past 8 years supporting our families. As I review the successes of 2016, please remember our work to help you comes only because of your support.
Here’s what your 100% did in the pro-family cause this year:
1. UFI Attended two separate United Nations Events –
a. CSW in New York – Every March we attend the Commission on the Status of Women at the UN. This year our efforts allowed us to have private meetings with 25 country delegations, and give a record number four presentations that were standing room only. These presentations were in collaboration with Fight The New Drug, BYU-Idaho, and other pro-family organizations.
b. Habitat III in Ecuador – UFI had a team of six representatives at this meeting in Quito. We represented the pro-family voice at round table discussions in order to develop policy recommendations. We met with numerous foreign ambassadors, and distributed copies of pro-family books and materials. It was a truly amazing trip and very productive.
2. We helped with the newly revised Sustainable Development Guide book, a powerful pro-family guidebook for UN work – A long friend and ally, Susan Roylance, helped compile the first Sustainable Development Guidebook over 4 years ago. To keep the content up to date, a revised version was authored and printed this fall. UFI played a role in this through team members contributing articles and helping with printing costs.
3. UFI was there when Utah became the first state to declare Porn a public health hazard – In February the nation paid notice when Utah become the first state to declare through a Joint Resolution that pornography is a public health hazard. Many other states are considering similar resolutions in 2017 because of their shared concern pornography is a plague that must be addressed. UFI lobbied in behalf of this resolution, and was thrilled with its passage.
4. A new UFI website – Because of the generous help of Sebo Marketing, and after hundreds of hours of work by UFI executives, we launched a brand new website. This has allowed us to tell our story and present our training more effectively. The new site also put us in position to obtain a grant from Google for greater online visibility. The site, and the grant, have increased our web traffic by 100%. Each month we now have 4,000-5,000 visitors come to our site from over 150 countries.
5. Mentoring the rising generation – One thing we are very proud of is the relationship we have with select colleges to provide internship opportunities for Jr and Sr year Family Advocacy students. This year, because of your support we mentored:
a. 6 interns at CSW in New York – while at the UN, one of our interns Jenny gave a presentation at the UN on how sex-selective abortion causes harm and violence to women – born and unborn. After her presentation, a young Hungarian woman thanked Jenny and said she had never considered how women – and all human beings – have rights before they are born. Jenny later said about her internship, “I definitely went in thinking I was a ‘nobody’ and came out realizing that I truly was somebody. I could make a difference, even it if was with one person.”
b. 5 Legislative Interns during the Utah Legislative Session – One of our interns, Justin, brought to his state legislative internship a good eye for legal detail and good understanding of what is most important. He had recently lost his grandfather to a brave battle with cancer, so when he had an opportunity to testify against an assisted suicide bill, he spoke very effectively from the perspective of both social science and personal experience. A soundbite from Justin’s testimony was quoted that night on the evening news on TV.
c. Numerous Interns for online work – Tashica confessed, “I was never into politics and I generally try to avoid social settings, so I was nervous going into my internship.” But she said her internship , “changed how she looks at the world.” After her internship was completed, Tashica writes for the UFI blog, and quickly has gained many followers. Tashica’s blog posts are engaging and enlightening, and still remain some of our most popular posts.
d. 2 interns to help with our new site – Josh and Hassan worked to get our new UFI website up and running. It was a herculean task, creating new webpages and transferring years of content from the old site. They each worked tirelessly despite tremendous personal challenges. When Hassan later received a good summer job, he said, “It is actually due to my experience with computers and the skills I learned while working on the website that I was able to be considered for the job.” Josh and Hassan have remained good friends since meeting through their internship, and talk to each other regularly.
6. We also relaunched the website for our youth- targeted organization, the International Voice for Youth (IVY) – Thanks to the generous help of BYU-Idaho, the IVY website was relaunched with a totally new look and feel – and the Ivy Facebook page was launched also. (internationalvoiceforyouth.org)
Finally, 2016 was a year of change for us. The role of President of UFI transitioned from Laura Bunker to Kelli Houghton. Laura served as our president with much distinction. It’s hard to highlight three years of great work in a few words, but to highlight two areas: she played a big part in establishing the college internship relationships we now have, as well as leading so many of our legislative efforts. Laura will be missed. We are now very excited to have Kelli Houghton as President. Kelli has been part of the UFI executive team for the past 16 years and we are very excited for the work she will do as our next president.
With all we could do the past 12 months, will you be generous with your funds again and help us make 2017 even better? The more funding we have, the more we can do to further this work for you, for us and for families everywhere. The gifts can be large or small. The most important part is to know you are doing something that makes a significant difference on families around the world.