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Unitarian Universalists for Social Justice

(formerly Unitarian Universalist Social Concerns)

A Cook County, Illinois Not-for-Profit Corporation

By-Laws (As Amended through Dec. 2, 2018)




The name of this not-for-profit corporation shall be UNITARIAN UNIVERSALISTS for SOCIAL JUSTICE.


The corporation is organized exclusively for charitable, educational, religious, or scientific purposes within the meaning of section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.  The focus of activities will concern social justice issues.


Membership is open to members and friends of Unitarian Universalist congregations who are interested in social justice issues.  Individuals who satisfy one or more of the following will be considered members: 1) Those who have been active with the work of any of our task forces during the past 12 months.  2) Those who attend our Annual Meeting or any of our business meetings during the past 12 months.  3)  Those who have contributed ten or more dollars to the organization during the past 12 months. 

It is specifically understood that membership is open to all qualified persons regardless of race, color, sex, affectional orientation, age, physical or mental capacity, national or religious origin.


The Board of Trustees shall consist of individuals holding the following positions, all of which are one year terms: Immediate Past Chair, Chair, Chair Elect, Secretary, Treasurer, Task Force Chairs, and Director of Communications (Newsletter Editor and/or Webmaster).  Terms of office will begin on January 1.  It is intended that an individual elected as Chair-Elect shall serve a three year term, one year as Chair Elect, one year as Chair, and one year as Immediate Past Chair.  The other positions may have their incumbents serve as long as they are willing and they are annually re-elected.  Task Force Chairs shall be elected/selected by their respective task forces, while the other positions will be nominated by the Nominating Committee or from the floor at either the Annual Business Meeting or other business meeting where a vacancy should be filled.  Individuals may serve in more than one position, except that the positions of Chair, Chair Elect, Secretary and Treasurer must be held by separate individuals.

The Board of Trustees shall have general charge of the property of the corporation and the leadership of its activities.  Quorum for Board of Trustees meetings shall be five.

If an elected officer misses two consecutive Board meetings the Board shall find that position vacant unless the absent officer has provided notice of good cause for the absences and provided reason why the absences will not continue.  Vacancies in the positions of Chair, Chair-Elect, Secretary, Treasurer and/or Director of Communications should be filled at the next business meeting.  If an appropriate candidate is not identified, the Board of Trustees should designate someone who will fill the position on an acting basis, until someone who will fill out the term is found and approved.  Vacancies in any of the other positions may be filled at the next business meeting or may wait for the next annual meeting.

A Nominating Committee shall be established each August or September, to present Board of Trustees nominees at the Annual Business Meeting.  The Nominating Committee shall also be asked to nominate candidates for any Board of Trustees vacancies, other than Task Force Chairs, which arise during the year, until a new Nominating Committee is established.


The annual business meeting shall be held in the last calendar quarter of the year, at such time and place as shall be fixed by the Board of Trustees.  Other business meetings shall be held quarterly.

Special business meetings will be called by the Board of Trustees or at the written request of any five members, after submission to the Board of Trustees.  Within two weeks of receipt of the written request, the Board of Trustees will set the time and place of the special business meeting.  The special business meeting must be scheduled within sixty days of the original written request.

The quorum requirement for the Annual Business Meeting and any business meeting considering amending the By-Laws shall be 10, and for any other business meetings it shall be 5.  Those attending a business meeting must include individuals from at least three Chicago Area Unitarian Universalist congregations.  Notice for any business meeting shall be communicated at least 10 days prior to the meeting.  If a quorum is not present at a business meeting tentative actions may be taken, which will become final if the approval of a sufficient number of additional members is secured via email or in writing within 30 days of the meeting.  Such additional email/written votes for action items shall become attachments to the official minutes.


New Task Forces are formed when five or more UUs from at least three different UU congregations get together to form a new task force, select a task force name, select a Chair or Co-Chairs, and outline their mission or goals and identify ways in which they plan to work toward such goals.  After presentation of the details spelled out in the prior sentence at a UUSJ business meeting, a task force to carry out the purposes of the organization shall be recognized and authorized by majority vote of the Board of Trustees.  Task forces shall meet on a frequent enough basis to accomplish their objectives, and shall have at least five members from at least three Unitarian Universalist congregations.  An individual is considered a task force member if he/she attended a task force meeting, or helped organize or carry out a task force activity (beyond Action Alert participation) within the last 12 months.

Action Alerts usually involve written communications with federal and state policy makers, most frequently legislators.  Action Alerts may be initiated by any of our task forces, either by vote at a task force meeting or by other mechanism the task force may set up for initiating Action Alerts between meetings.  Additional Action Alerts, consistent with Resolutions adopted at Unitarian Universalist Association General Assemblies within the prior 20 years, may be initiated by any of the following:

  1. Majority vote of this organization’s Board of Trustees.
  2. A motion adopted by a Unitarian Universalist congregation’s Social Justice Committee (or equivalent body), requesting a specific Action Alert by U.U.s for Social Justice, upon receipt by U.U.s for Social Justice of a written copy of the motion.
  3. A letter requesting a specific Action Alert, signed by five or more individuals who are members of three or more U.U. congregations, upon such letter’s receipt by U.U.s for Social Justice.  Signatories are to show their printed name, address and the name of the congregation they are a member of.

Expenses for Action Alerts not initiated by a task force shall be charged to the Administrative Account.


Any staff shall be employed regardless of race, color, sex, affectional orientation, age, physical or mental capacity, national or religious orientation, so long as the candidate is capable and qualified to fulfill his/her duties.


The Fiscal Year shall begin January 1 and end December 31.


These By-Laws, so far as allowed by law, may be amended or replaced at any business meeting of the corporation, in accord with the specific quorum requirements of Article V, by a two-thirds (2/3) vote of those present and voting.  Notice of any proposed change shall be contained in the notice of the meeting.


Under no circumstance shall this organization endorse or contribute its funds in any way to the election campaign of a candidate for public office, or act in any way that would jeopardize the status of Unitarian Universalists for Social Justice as a tax exempt corporation under Internal Revenue Code section 501 (c) (3).  A record of the organization’s funds spent on lobbying will be maintained and submitted to the Internal Revenue Service or appropriate Illinois oversight organization when requested.


Upon the dissolution of the corporation, the Board of Trustees shall, after paying or making provisions for the payment of all the liabilities of the corporation, dispose of all assets of the corporation exclusively for the purposes of the corporation in such manner, or to such organization or organizations organized and operated exclusively for charitable, educational, religious and scientific purposes as shall at the time qualify as an exempt organization or organizations under section 501 (c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 (or the corresponding provision of any future United States Internal Revenue Law), as the Board of Trustees shall determine.  Any such assets not so disposed of shall be disposed of by the Court of Common Pleas of the county in which the principle office of the corporation is then located, exclusively for such purposes or to such organizations, as such court shall determine, which are organized and operated exclusively for such purposes.