Dear Colleagues and Friends:

Rev. Debra W. HaffnerThe Religious Institute is in the fight of our lives, and we need your help.
Please donate now!
On February 21, 2012, the Religious Institute received shocking news from its fiscal agent, Christian Community Inc., that it had ceased business operations, and that it was shutting down immediately. In its capacity as our fiscal agent since 2001, Christian Community Inc. was responsible for processing all donations to the Religious Institute as well as managing its financial obligations. We were notified that all of the Religious Institute funds already obtained for fiscal year 2012, and all of the Religious Institute reserves and fund balance, were gone. With the exception of $3800 in a bank account in Connecticut, the Religious Institute’s foundation monies and reserves for the end of 2011 and all of 2012 had been used by the fiscal agent.

We immediately severed all ties between the organizations.

We are pleased to announce, effective immediately, The Unitarian Church in Westport (TUCW) is the new fiscal agent for the Religious Institute. In this role, it will receive tax deductible donations to the Religious Institute. (I have served this congregation as a Community Minister since 2003, and I have been a member there since 1988.) Additionally, the Religious Institute has started the process of being recognized by the IRS as an independent nonprofit organization, and is managing its own finances, under TUCW’s supervision. Once the Religious Institute receives IRS recognition as an independent nonprofit organization, it will no longer need the services of TUCW.
The ministry of the Religious Institute will continue. We are open, working 15 hour days, and are committed to our ministry. The work of the Religious Institute is too important, too vital for us to do anything but continue. We have done great work, changing the landscape of how denominations, faith communities, seminaries, and clergy approach sexuality issues. If you are not familiar with our work, please go to our web site at
If you have ever considered supporting the Religious Institute, now is the time. In the past three days, we have begun to receive donations ranging from $1.45 from a seven-year-old to commitments from foundations. In total, we must raise $425,000 in the next three months to implement the plan for 2012 activities. I am confident we can do so.  Every donation, no matter the size, will have a profound effect on the Religious Institute.

If you support sexual health, education, and justice in faith communities and want to preserve the progressive religious voice in the public square on our shared issues, please make the most generous donation you can. A generous private donor has agreed to match every dollar until $10,000 that comes in from this appeal. Please ask your friends and colleagues to donate as well. Help us spread the word on Facebook and Twitter!

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Donations to the Religious Institute/TUCW are fully tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law. Donations can be sent to the Religious Institute at 21 Charles Street, Suite 140, Westport, CT 06880, or can be made online at
Please pray for us. Your support will not only allow us to survive but once again thrive.
In faith,

Rev. Debra W. Haffner

PS Please make your donation TODAY. Any amount will be gratefully received. A donation will have never made such a difference.

Please donate now!
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