The First Universalist Foundation—legacy of Unity Settlement House—acts as a catalyst for social change by promoting and supporting the development of emerging leaders among youth, young adults, and disenfranchised communities through monetary grants to and partnerships with nonprofits working in those communities.
The First Universalist Foundation draws its values from two primary sources: the legacy of Unity Settlement House (1897 to 1968) and the principles of Unitarian Universalism.
- We value the spirit of innovation that led members of the Church of the Redeemer (the predecessor of First Universalist Church) to found a settlement house in 1897 to serve the unmet needs of poor and immigrant families in Minneapolis.
- We value the seven principles of the Unitarian Universalist Association:
- The inherent worth and dignity of every person;
- Justice, equity and compassion in human relations;
- Acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth in our congregations;
- A free and responsible search for truth and meaning;
- The right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large;
- The goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all;
- Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.
- We value social justice work that is transformational, dynamic, risk-taking, and empowers people within their own communities.
- We value racial justice.
- We value training youth and young adults to go out and inspire change in others and to become leaders in their communities.
- We value creating a legacy for the next generation of justice-seekers.
- We value relevance, relationships, and positive impacts.
The First Universalist Foundation was created in 1984 from an endowment fund resulting from the sale of Unity Settlement House, a neighborhood center owned by First Universalist Church since 1893. The settlement house was purchased from the church and demolished when I-94 was built through north Minneapolis. The settlement house had been devoted to meeting the social and economic needs of the immigrant and Native American families on the near north side of the city. The Foundation strives to carry on the tradition – and add value to the social justice mission of the church – through grants from income on the endowment.