Cosmos Club Foundation
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Extract from Annual Report—1998

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 was awarded to Jacob Rabinow ('65), Engineer and inventor extraordinaire; (2) administering the John P. McGovern Lecture Awards; (3) supporting an annual concert at the Phillips Collection; and (4) in collaboration with the Consortium of Universities of the Washington Metropolitan Area, conducting a program of grants in aid to graduate students in local universities. This program replaces the Young Scholars Award essay contest of earlier years. Modest grants are awarded to support specific projects or research needs related to the students' work toward an advanced degree. There are no restrictions as to academic field. Proposals are evaluated by expert panels, composed so far as feasible by Club members, and selected by the Trustees. In the 1998 competition, limited resources constrained us to make only eleven awards in response to 143 proposals, or only a quarter of those rated 'Excellent' or 'Outstanding'. We are considering how best we can respond in future years to what is clearly a real need in the "young scholars" community.

McGovern Lectures Awards were presented during the past year to writer Saul Bellow on June 16, and surgeon Dr. Michael DeBakey ('59) on September 28, 1998.

In response to the expressed demand of participants in the Millennium Planning Forum reported last year, the Foundation hosted, on a trial basis, a 'Mail List' on the Internet to facilitate communication among the 75 or so organizations involved. The experiment was cancelled after half a year of stunning lack of interest. We are nonetheless cautiously planning a Web page describing our activities. In another attempt to realize our unique potential to serve as a "convener" (pointed out several years ago in the 'Millennium Report'), the Foundation is supporting planning for the "Dialogue" initiative to identify and explore crucial questions in areas of national and global concern.

The Foundation receives its funds from contributions, grants, and yields from a portfolio of investments. Its finances are overseen by Treasurer Gerald Tape, whose wise and faithful service continues to be 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 demonstration of broad based financial support from individual contributions. Thus from time to time the Foundation solicits such contributions from Club members, and such an appeal is planned for the coming year.

Expenditures for 1998 were $38,507, of which $3,159 was for the annual Cosmos Club Award program; $4,582 for the previous year's Young Scholars award program; $13,460 for the Grants in Aid program, and $12,889 for expenses related to the McGovern Award; a total of $34,090. The balance of $4,407 went for investment management fees and administrative expenses.

Total receipts for the year were $45,926, which included $5,011 in contributions (essentially all to the McGovern Fund) and $40,915 in investment income, including $18,631 in realized capital gains. Thus expenditures for the year closely balanced income adjusted for contributions.

The market value of the Foundation's investments increased from $574,436 on December 31, 1997 to $592,729 a year later. On March 31, 1999, the market value of the portfolio stood at $607,483. Of this amount, 63 per cent was in equity funds, 34 per cent in fixed income funds, all administered by Lazard Frères, and 4 per cent in cash and equivalents.

The Trustees wish to express theit thanks to Secretary J. Stephen Huebner, whose incisive minutes have refined our ramblings and clarified our deliberations.


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