Cosmos Club Foundation
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Extract from Annual Report—1999

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 active functions of the Foundation at this time are three: (1) funding the annual Cosmos Club Award, which this year was awarded to Rita R. Colwell (‘88), microbiologist and Director of the National Science Foundation; (2) administering the John P. McGovern Lecture Awards; and (3) 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. In addition, the Foundation supports, through a previous endowment grant, an annual concert at the Phillips Collection.

The grants-in-aid 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 1999 competition, we made eight awards in response to 52 proposals. This program clearly responds to a real need in the “young scholars” community, and we continue to seek ways to expand it.

McGovern Lectures were presented during the past year by film makers James Ivory and Ismail Merchant and astrophysicist Wendy Freedman; future awards are planned this calendar year for Sir Derek Jacobi and E.L. Doctorow.

In obeisance to new modes of communication, we have established 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 Steve Huebner, whose careful and perceptive approach keeps us on a well-planned track. Lazard Frères is the Foundation’s investment advisor, operating under guidelines established by the Trustees. IRS regulations require regular demonstration of broadbased financial support from individual contributions. Thus from time to time the Foundation solicits such contributions from Club members, and such an appeal brought us gratifying expressions of support this year. In addition, we acknowledge with much gratitude sizeable donations and bequests from Club members John P. McGovern, Albert W. Atwood, and Edwin E. Ferguson (the last received in the year 2000), and a cash contribution from the Cosmos Club itself.

Expenditures for 1999 were $25,079, of which $5,999 was for the annual Cosmos Club Award program; $54 for the previous year’s Young Scholars award program; $6,200 for the Grants-in-Aid program; and $8,088 for expenses related to the McGovern Award: a total of $20,341. The balance of $4,738 went for administrative expenses and investment management fees.

Total receipts for the year were $236,856, which included $181,395 in contributions (of which $48,000 was to the McGovern Fund, and $116,000 was a bequest to the Main Fund) and $55,461 in investment income, including $30,598 in realized capital gains. Thus expenditures and current (non-capital-gains) income were closely balanced overall.

The market value of the Foundation’s assets increased from $603,611 on December 31, 1998 to $797,268 a year later. On April 30, 2000, the market value of the assets stood at $791,804. Of this amount, 53 per cent was in equity funds and equities, 32 per cent in fixed income funds and securities, and 15 per cent in cash and equivalents.


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