The Chalice Society

CHALICE SOCIETY -- cleaned logo -- 001

Transform Lives & Build the Future through
Legacy Giving at First Church

For over a Century,

      the First Unitarian Universalist Church of Houston has been a beacon of religious liberalism and a progressive voice for southeast Texas.

      In 1954, First Church was the first historically White church in the city to desegregate, six years before the rest of the city, and was also the first non-predominantly LGBTQ+ congregation to have an openly gay minister. First Church became a sanctuary for international refugees and provided support services for LGBTQ teens - a program that became the non-profit HATCH Youth Services. The church also now offers several Spanish language services throughout the year.

      We stand on the shoulders of those in this community who came before us. We are the beneficiaries of their talents, treasure, and the many hours they have devoted to this community. Let us leave a gift for the generations who follow. 

"We plant trees not for ourselves, but for future generations."
- Statius Caecilius (c. 200 BCE)

A Legacy gift from your estate,

      at whatever level is comfortable, will help this beloved community thrive in the future, will ensure that our programs and ministries continue to flourish, and will make you a Chalice Society Member. your legacy gift can take many forms, with the most recognizable being a bequest through your will or living trust. You can also name First Church as a percentage beneficiary on an Individual Retirement Account (IRA) or other type of retirement plan. You could also make the church a beneficiary on a bank or brokerage account, or a life insurance policy.

      There are many options for expressing this gift: a percentage of your will, a specific named amount, or whatever is left after other bequests are paid out. An advantage of a Legacy Gift is that you are free to amend or even remove it if your circumstances change. You can choose to have your legacy gift go toward general purposes, capital projects, or the church's permanent endowment.

      The allocation of your resources - however large or small - is a personal matter for you (and your partner or spouse, or other family) to discuss with your estate planning or financial advisor. Including the church in your plans is a way to count First Church among the valued members of your family.

"We believe one of the most important things we can pass on to future generations is our values. We do this by the people we touch and the institutions which enshrine those values. We are leaving a legacy gift to First Church because it is one of those institutions which will be a place where those values will be nurtured for generations to follow."
- Karen & Evelyn "Bunny" Carlson

We Have chosen the name
"Chalice society

      because the chalice is a sacred symbol of our faith, representing many of the values we hold dear. Near the beginning of each service, we sing "We kindle this light in celebration of the life that we share." Before leaving the sanctuary we recite, "We extinguish this flame, but not the light of truth, the warmth of community, or the fire of commitment. These we carry in our hearts until we are together again."

      Like the enduring flame of the chalice, your legacy gift will ensure that our UU values and faith will endure far into the future.

      Please join us in becoming a member of the Chalice Society. Members are permanently recognized on a plaque in the sanctuary at First Church.

      Please contact for more information. You may also contact our Director of Finance and Operations, Tawanna Grice, at (713) 526-5200.

"The future belongs to those who prepare for it today."
- Malcolm X

frequently asked Questions

What is the Chalice Society?
      The Chalice Society is a group of members who have made a commitment to provide for First Church with a Legacy Gift.
      A Legacy Gift us a planned future gift that designates part of a church member's estate as a donation to First Church.
      Legacy Giving ensures the financial security of First Church so that we may continue to invest in preserving and growing our UU values.

What do Legacy Gifts support?
      You can designate your legacy gift to support many First Church uses, including general operating funds, capital projects, or the endowment fund.

How do I make a Legacy Gift?
      You can plan a legay gift to benefit First Church in your will or revocable trust plan.
      You can also designate First Church as a beneficiary of a retirement account such as an IRA, 403(b), or 401(k), as a beneficiary of a life insurance policy, or as a transfer-on-death beneficiary of an investment or bank account.

How will my legacy gift be used by First Church?
      Below are some options and sample gifting language for reference:
      1. Church Operations Gift
      Example: "I give $______ to the First Unitarian Universalist Church of Houston (EIN: 74-1233797) to be used for its general purposes."

      2. Endowment Gift
      Example: "I give $______
to the First Unitarian Universalist Church of Houston (EIN: 74-1233797) to be allocated to the Endowment Fund.

      3. Capital Gift
      Example: "I give $______ to the ______ Capital Project at the
First Unitarian Universalist Church of Houston (EIN: 74-1233797). If the ______ Capital Project no longer exists, then this gift should be allocated for its general purposes.

      4. Percentage Residuary Gift
      Example: "I give ______ percent (______%) of my residuary estate to the
First Unitarian Universalist Church of Houston (EIN: 74-1233797) to be used by it for its general purposes.

      5. Contingent Gift
      Example: "I give ______ to my spouse if he or she survives me. If my spouse does not survive me, I give ______ to
the First Unitarian Universalist Church of Houston (EIN: 74-1233797) to be used by it for its general purposes."

This is not intended as legal or tax advice. Please consult an attorney or tax advisor as appropriate.

What types of Legacy Gifts do not qualify for membership in the Chalice Society?
      The only type of gift that is ineligible for Chalice Society membership is one containing one or more conditions that are highly unlikely to occur.

What is the purpose of the Endowment Fund?
      The church constitution states, from Article 8 section A: "The primary purpose of the Endowment Fund is to provide for the long-term growth, development, and security of the Church and its facilities. The Endowment Fund is intended to provide a long-term source of income to the Church, and accordingly the Church shall seek to grow the Endowment Fund over time.

How is the Endowment invested?
      The Endowment Fund is professionally managed by the Unitarian Universalist Association investment team, which administers similar assets of other UU churches. The fund is a diverse portfolio and has a focus on capital preservation, stability, and long-term growth. The investments are considered "socially responsible", which fits the values of our members. This means that there are no investments in businesses that manufacture or produce alcohol, tobacco, weapons, fossil fuels, or similar industries.

How are Endowment funds used?
      Funds may be used broadly in support of activities that fit into the Church budget process. Under Policy Governance, the Senior Minister recommends the use of funds, which require approval by the Board of Trustees (ref. policy 3.2.7). The Treasurer provides a quarterly review of finances, including the Endowment Fund, to the Board of Trustees.

Is there a limit on how much can be used from the Endowment?
      Disbursements for unrestricted use shall be made only if the Endowment Fund balance exceeds $500,000.00 and the disbursement may not cause the Fund balance to fall below $500,000.00 (ref. policy 3.5.2).
      The maximum amount that may be distributed in any fiscal year shall be calculated as five percent (5%) of the average fair market value of the Endowment's assets for the prior twelve (12) calendar quarters (ref. policy 3.5.1).

How do I join the Chalice Society?      
      Simply fill out a Chalice Society membership form (available by email at, or in the church office) and give it to Tawanna Grice, Church Business Administrator, or one of the Chalice Society Task Force members: Lydia Luz, Marilyn Knight, Paul Hornick, or Eileen Allan.

"If you think in terms of one year, plant a seed; if in terms of ten years, plant trees; if in terms of one hundred years, teach the people."
- Confucius (c. 500 BCE)