First Unitarian Church of San José

Building a New Way: Creating Space for Radical Inclusion

A Capital Campaign for the 21st Century

Building with a Mission

We have recently completed a successful Capital Campaign titled Building a New Way: Creating Space for Radical Inclusion to keep our historic building operational long into the 21st Century.


We raised $1,515,000 during the original campaign in 2022; when escalating building costs were much higher than anticipated, we raised an additional $382,000 in a blitz second appeal in 2023. The Board has also approved the use of some of our long-term reserve funds toward building construction. We will not touch the various “buffer” funds that provide protection against unexpected deficits; all of these buffer funds are topped off to the desired maximum amounts. We will not touch funds devoted to other special purposes.


Here are a few of the campaign’s projects:

  • Outside: Replacing the roof, replacing rotten wood on eaves and windows, repairing the front doors, and repainting the exterior signal the vitality of this congregation. All are invited to enter, find hope and renewal, and discover ways to contribute to our work in the world.
  • Inside: Inclusiveness increases with a 21st-century audio/visual system and flexible seating. Replacing the carpet and keeping the labyrinth at its heart ensure everyone’s comfort and safety as well as the gifts of beauty and peace. Refurbishment of the all-gender bathroom, youth room, and worn flooring support the needs of different groups, make the building more comfortable and attractive, and increase rental potential for weddings and other events.

Project Status

We are waiting for a firm quote from our general contractor for the exterior work: repairing rotten and damaged woodwork, replacing the roof with a new 50-year roof, replacing gutters, and painting the entire exterior. We expect to receive this quote in early 2024 in anticipation of doing the work during the 2024 dry season. This critical work will preserve and protect the building for years to come. Construction costs have risen sharply, but as a result of the outstanding response by our members to our supplemental appeal in September 2023, we believe we will have the money to complete this essential work and still be able to complete many of the interior projects.

We have already completed the following projects: replacement of the worn-out sanctuary dome lights in 2022, allowing congregants to read in the sanctuary once more; complete renovation of the 2nd floor youth room, which is also used for preparation by wedding parties; repair of the front doors so that we can once again welcome attendees through our main entrance; and replacement of the broken gas stove in the basement kitchen with a new, environmentally friendly electric stove.

Once the exterior work is completed in late summer or fall 2024, we will determine how much money remains for the interior projects, and determine which ones to pursue.

Thanks to YOU!

The support and generosity of our congregation has allowed us to move forward in this new era. FUCSJ’s can-do spirit is part of our identity, from the launch of this congregation in 1865, to the construction of our building in 1891, to our recovery from the fire in 1995. Now we’ve demonstrated that can-do spirit again in the face of the pandemic and rising construction costs. Thank you to all the members and friends who gave generously to this important campaign.

Here is a summary of Capital Campaign building projects.