Extract from Annual Report—2006
The Cosmos Club Foundation continues to fulfill its charter of advancing the arts, humanities and sciences through awards and grants to stimulate scholarship, the conduct or direction of symposia, and the dissemination of information for the public good. To that end, we maintain three active endeavors: the grants-in-aid program to area graduate students with worthwhile and promising research projects; the John P. McGovern Lecture Awards in Science, Literature and the Arts and Humanities; and funding of the annual Cosmos Club Award.
The Grants-in-Aid Program, in concert with the Consortium of Universities of the Washington Metropolitan Area, had a most successful year. There are now three parts to the program: the awarding of the grants; the dinner at the Club; and the “alumni” effort. 194 applications for awards from $1,500 to $3,000 were read by the Trustees and 24 winners selected. $40,000 in grants was awarded to graduate students doing work as diverse as biological sciences, art history, archeology and chemistry.
In April of each year, the Foundation gives a dinner for the awardees of the previous year who report on the work they have done with their grants. Those who attend are invited to bring a family or faculty member. Each student makes a short presentation describing how they used their grant. This year, 12 students spoke about their work, which ranged from biology to history to political science and demography. The gratitude of the students for the grants and the extraordinary amount of the work they accomplish with their small awards makes this program our most effective outreach.
To further enhance the program, Tedson Meyers and his assistant contacted almost all of the student “alumni,” most of whom responded with letters reporting on their gratitude to the Foundation for the award and the work accomplished with their grants. Further, many students sent photos showing themselves at work, some of which were put on display in the case outside the dining room during March and April and a few photos are, at this moment, in the case in the front hall. Contact with our “alumni” group will continue as the program gains momentum, and as of today, the committee that manages the effort is at work for 2007-2008. We are delighted to report that a number of other clubs have inquired of us how they might adopt similar programs.
The McGovern Award program, supported by generous endowment funds donated by club member John P. McGovern, M.D., has been equally active and has become a highly prestigious prize on the basis of the stellar achievements and reputations of those whom we have sought out and who have come to our clubhouse to accept it.
On November 7, the 2006 award in Literature was bestowed upon British playwright, novelist, philosopher and essayist Michael Frayn in a program entitled “A Conversation with Michael Frayn.”
On February 9, the 2007 award in Science was given to Dr. Eric Kandel of Columbia University, pioneer of the physiological mechanisms of memory and Nobel laureate in Physiology or Medicine. His presentation was entitled “Thinking About the Brain.”
On March 1, Wole Soyinka, Nigerian playwright, poet, novelist essayist and human rights champion, the first African to win the Nobel Prize in Literature, came to address us on the occasion of his receipt of the 2007 award in Literature with “Rights, Writers and Ritual.”
And on April 30, cartoonist, playwright, screenwriter and novelist Jules Feiffer accepted the 2007 award in the Arts and Humanities in a program entitled “The World, As Seen Through the Eyes of Jules Feiffer.”
All of these programs were well-attended, both by Cosmos Club members and members of the public, and all provided challenging, stimulating and fascinating insights into the minds of distinguished creators of high achievement. As of this year, we have instituted a reception following the presentation so that all audience members may meet and speak with our honorees.
We are currently planning for next year’s awards.
The Cosmos Club Award, for which the Foundation provides the honorarium funds, and for which committee the Foundation chairman is an ex-officio member, had a great success in 2006. On May 1, Nobel Peace Prize laureate Elie Wiesel gave an inspiring address to the club in a program so popular that it had to be broadcast into the Warne Lounge to accommodate as many people as possible. The Foundation subsequently sent out the printed transcript of the awardee’s presentation, as has been our practice.
In calendar year 2006 the Foundation received 192 contributions, totaling $136, 985. This included a bequest of $50,000 from the estate of former club president and foundation trustee James Wallace and his wife Haya; a $25,000 bequest from the estate of Dr. Robert Cohn and $16,000 from Dr. John P. McGovern for the McGovern Award sub-fund. 22 grants-in-aid totaling $40,772 were paid in calendar year 2006. 24 grants-in-aid totaling $40,000 were paid in calendar year 2007 (with one awardee returning her $1,500 check due to inability to carry out her research).
Assets at the end of calendar year 2006 were $1,343,745, compared with $1,141,087 at the end of calendar year 2005.
MARK OLSHAKER , Chair