ISB ALUMNI SCHOLARSHIP FUND, INC.
Overview As of May, 2013
This document is intended to provide an overview of the ISB Alumni Scholarship Fund, Inc. including its objective, history, accomplishments, key policies, leadership and future. Throughout this document the ISB Alumni Scholarship Fund, Inc. will be referred to as the Scholarship Fund and the ISB Alumni Association will be referred to as the Alumni Association.
OBJECTIVE: (Why the Scholarship Fund was established)
The Alumni Association established the Scholarship Fund to symbolize and demonstrate the Alumni Association’s commitment to and belief in post high school education as an important option for ISB graduates to fully achieve their potential, independence, and self sufficiency. With the decline of state funded post high school education and training, it was the Alumni Association’s hope that the Scholarship Fund would help and encourage graduates to give consideration to furthering their education as part of their personal and career development plans.
SCHOLARSHIP FUND HISTORY
At the 1979 Alumni Association Convention, Bob Easterling made a motion to appoint a committee to establish a scholarship fund. It was withdrawn in favor of sending a letter and questionnaire to all members to better measure member’s views and support of the idea. At the 1981 Alumni Association Convention, a report was given by Bob Easterling regarding member’s responses to the Scholarship Questionnaire:
- 18 responses.
- Pledging $550.00 to $600.00 in addition to $100.00 of seed money from the Alumni Association if the Scholarship Fund was established.
- Favored letting the fund grow and build before giving out a scholarship.
- 65% said they would be willing to contribute annually.
- Identified four important points needing to be addressed:
- Establishment of a body of people to manage the money as it grows.
- Establishment of a uniform policy for distributing the awards/funds.
- Establishing it as a non for profit corporation.
- Future funding such as regular pledging, soliciting funds; fund-raising projects, and asking the PTA for backing.
It was initially discussed at the 1981 convention and agreed to at a later convention that the Scholarship Fund should benefit graduates pursuing college or vocational training. Also at the 1981 convention, a motion was made that “The scholarship committee (consisting of Bob Easterling, Betty Jane Butler, and Austin Berkey) be given the authority to implement a program to establish the Scholarship Fund.” The motion was accepted. At the 1983 Alumni Association’s Convention, the Scholarship Committee reported that they considered a period of approximately 5 years as appropriate for building the fund’s assets before awarding the first scholarship. Alumni Association friend and attorney, Dick Cully, volunteered to help set up a not for profit corporation so contributions would be tax exempt. In mid to late June of 1983, the Alumni Association President and first Scholarship Fund Secretary, Frank Andrews, played the lead role in the preparation and submission of documents to the Indiana Secretary of State to
establish the Scholarship Fund as a not for profit corporation, on June 28th, 1983. Bob Easterling and Bruce LeMond were the Scholarship Fund’s first President and Treasurer respectively. Scholarship Fund board members were established as the funds managing body, and have been elected by the Scholarship Fund members with that in mind.
Fundraising sources have included:
- Donation requests.
- Memorial contributions.
- Estate contributions.
Multiple donors have volunteered to specifically cover operating costs, allowing all other contributions to be 100% allocated to benefiting scholarship recipients. On February 25, 1987, the Scholarship Fund became a 501 (c)(3) federally tax exempt not for profit corporation, by way of pro bono services of Attorney James T. Robison, of Robison, Robison, Bergum & Johnson in Frankfort, Indiana. Procedures were developed to provide a consistent (and Internal Revenue Service compliant) process for selecting and awarding scholarships to recipients· The first scholarship award was given to Kathy Nimmer in the spring of 1987. Over the Scholarship Fund’s 30 year life, assets have grown to more than $60,000. The fund has successfully weathered the storm of the Great Recession of 2008. Almost every year since 1987 a scholarship award has been granted. Approximately $30,000 in gifts have been awarded since the fund was established. In 2011 scholarship awards became contingent upon the recipient’s conduct continuing to be consistent with the mission of the Alumni Association. As of May, 2013 the Scholarship Fund’s state not for profit status was successfully reinstated retroactively. After a change in reporting laws inadvertently caused many not for profit corporations including the Scholarship Fund to lose its federal not for profit status. Scholarship Fund President Don Koors met with and submitted to federal officials the necessary information and documents to achieve this; however, federal not for profit reinstatement has not yet been granted. Although, notice that it has been retroactively reinstated is expected any time. The process of reinstatement revealed that the 501(c)(3) status of the Scholarship Fund never cover the Alumni Association as originally thought in 1987.
THE TYPE OF SCHOLARSHIPS AWARDED
A scholarship in its simplest form is an acknowledgement of academic or scholarly achievement in the form of a certificate, plaque or a status announcement e.g. class valedictorian or salutatorian. In a more serious form it includes a monetary reward to be used for further academic study and achievements. Recipients are selected on merit and need based on a set of criteria that encourages and rewards high academic performance. The Alumni Scholarship Fund has consistently given scholarships that recognizes and rewards academic excellence and supports graduates with serious post high school educational goals. This has been consistent with the wishes of alumni members when the Scholarship Fund was initially established and with the expectations of donors since then. It is also in compliance with IRS rules regarding tax exempt 501(c)(3) qualifications. More specifically, a uniform awards process has been followed since 1987 when the first Scholarship Fund award was granted.
SUMMARY OF AWARD PROCESS: Candidates must;
- Apply by responding to applications questions and providing 2 reference letters and their High School transcript.
- Show proof of enrollment in an accredited college or vocational program.
- Be selected by the Scholarship Fund board members as the best candidate based on:
- Their ability to achieve their academic goals.
- Their ability to represent ISBVI as a successful and self sufficient member of society.
- Financial need
- Show satisfactory academic progress after the first year of post High School education to receive the 2nd half of their scholarship award.
INVESTMENT AND GROWTH STRATEGY
After several years of following a very conservative investment policy, a more moderate to aggressive investment strategy was adapted, since the vast majority of assets will be allocated to tax free compounded growth for many decades into the future. The Scholarship Fund directors adapted an annual scholarship gift budget not to exceed 50% of any year’s income from interest, dividends and donations (including raffle income). The 50+% of annual income not used as an annual scholarship gifts has been added to the Scholarship Fund’s principal to create a continuously accelerating growth of the fund.
INVESTMENT AND GROWTH ILLUSTRATED AT TEN PERCENT YEARLY
- PRINCIPLE | INTEREST EARNED | NEW PRINCIPLE
- $500.00 | $50.00 | $550.00
- $550.00 | $55.00 | $605.00
- $605.00 | $60.00 | $665.00
- $60,000.00 | $6,000.00 | 66,000.00
- $250,000.00 | $25,000.00 | $275,000.00
- $1,000,000.00 | $100,000.00 | $1,100,000.00
IN THE FUTURE
SCHOLARSHIP FUND’S FUTURE
If past and present policies are continued to be followed, the fund will reach a value of more than a million dollars within the next 30 years. It is projected that will be enough money to establish a full 4 year scholarship endowment for one ISBVI graduate every year indefinitely. If a more conservative gifting policy is adapted over time and allowing more growth, it is not unrealistic to pursue an endowment goal that will provide full scholarships to all qualifying ISBVI graduates within the next 40 to 50 years and all qualifying blind and visually impaired Indiana high school graduates within 100 years. Needless to say, that would represent a dramatic and very significant life altering opportunity for many blind and visually impaired graduates of the future.
GOVERNANCE and MEMBERSHIP
This is your alumni Scholarship Fund, we are only the stewards you elected to care for, manage and protect it. One of the three (3) Scholarship Fund’s directors is elected by members at each biannual convention to serve a 6 year term. This allows for a stable yet gradually changing leadership that understands the Scholarship Fund’s objective, growth goals, operating procedures, obligations to members/donors, and legal boundaries. The Scholarship Fund and its leadership were deliberately created as a separate entity with different leadership from the Alumni Association. This is because the Alumni Association leadership can completely change during any biannual convention. Such discontinuity in leadership could unintentionally and easily damage the Scholarship Fund’s legal standing, mission and/or betray decades of contributors. The connection between the Alumni Association and the Scholarship Fund is through their members. Any member in good standing of the Alumni Association is automatically a Scholarship Fund member with full voting privileges.