Cosmos Club Foundation
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Extract from Annual Report—1997

The Foundation, established in 1967, is a tax-exempt entity whose purposes are to encourage the arts, sciences, literature and humanities, chiefly through awards or grants. Fifteen trustees see to the affairs of the Foundation, three being ex-officio by virtue of holding offices of financial responsibility for the Club. The other trustees are appointed by the Club’s Board of Management. Apart from the appointing relationship, the Foundation enjoys wide discretion in conducting its business.

The activities of the Foundation at this time are four: (1) funding the annual Cosmos Club Award, which this year is awarded to Sandra Day O’Connor, Assoicate Justice of the Supreme Court; (2) administering the John P. McGovern Lecture Awards; (3) supporting an annual concert at the Phillips Collection; and (4) conducting the Foundation’s annual Young Scholars Award competition (in collaboration with the Consortium of Universities of the Washington Metropolitan Area). Outstanding graduating seniors submit essays that are judged by the trustees on the basis of creativity, command of language and expression, contemporary significance, and promise of post-collegiate achievement. In the 1997-98 competition, the prize was shared by Thomas S. Valente, of Catholic University, whose essay was entitled, “Conscience Versus Constituency: the Ethical Dilemma Facing American Politicians,” and Anna Takaku, of the University of Maryland, who wrote on “Making a Difference For The Children of Nepal.”

Owing to scheduling complications, no McGovern Lectures were presented during the past year, but three eminent practitioners of letters and science have accepted offers of the Award. Writer Saul Bellow will be presented his Award at ceremonies at the Club June 16, and surgeon Dr. Michael DeBakey will present his McGovern lecture September 28, 1998.

In this thirtieth year of our institutional age, the Trustees held a mini-retreat to review our past, assess our present, and consider our future. From this review came a number of suggestions for new programs and re-orientation of existing ones. Several of these are still in the planning stage, but one has taken place. Several years ago the “Millennium Report” pointed out the unique potential of the Club, and especially the Foundation, to serve as a “convener” on issues of importance and relevance to our concerns, and to engage in cooperative efforts with other cultural institutions. This April, the Foundation hosted, in cooperation with the Nation’s Capital Bicentennial Celebration Foundation, a forum on planned activities tied to the year 2000, at which invited representative of 75 or so organizations had the opportunity to discuss their planned activities and develop lines of communication with agencies having related activities in mind.

The Foundation receives its funds from contributions, grants, and yields from a portfolio of investments. Its finances are overseen by Treasurer Gerald Tape, who succeeds Carl H. Schwartz, Jr., whose long, wise, and faithful service was of inestimable benefit to the Foundation and the Club. Lazard Frères is the Foundation’s investment advisor, operating under guidelines established by the Trustees. IRS regulations require that a defined proportion of the Foundation’s financial support derive from individual contributions. Thus from time to time the Foundation solicits such contributions from Club members. Although no such appeal was conducted in 1997, the Foundation received donations totaling $10,461, which includes a generous transfer of assets from a private foundation by one of our Trustees, Dr. Lorenz Ng, and a donation frm Dr. John P. McGovern in support of the McGovern Lecture Award program.

Expenditures for 1997 totaled $19,078, of which $4,899 was for the annual Cosmos Club Award program; $4,675 for the Young Scholars award program; $5,603 for expenses related to the McGovern Awards; a total of $15,178. The balance of $3,900 included $997 paid to Lazard Frères. Other administrative expenses included $1,400 in auditors’ fees, $1,000 for personal liability insurance for the Trustees and advisors, and $504 for miscellaneous expenses.

Total receipts for the year were $93,210, which included $10,461 in contributions contributions as described above and $82,749 in investment income, which includes an unusual $64,112 in capital gains resulting mostly from a restructuring of the portfolio. Thus expenditures for the year closely balanced income adjusted for capital gains and contributions.

The market value of the Foundation’s investments increased from $513,811 on December 31, 1996 to $580,025 a year later. On March 31, 1998, the market value of the portfolio stood at $627,627. of this amount, 83 percent was in a diversified group of funds administered by Lazard Frères, 11 percent in high-grade corporate and U.S. Treasury debt instruments, 3 percent in common stocks, and 3 percent in cash equivalents.


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