The Foreign Service Journal, March 2020

THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL | MARCH 2020 67 continued to work closely with Congress to ensure active bipartisan support for a professional Foreign Service and on issues of importance to its members. Significant, unanticipated legal needs for some mem- bers in the latter half of 2019 were more than offset by the exceptional generosity of donors. Contributors to the Legal Defense Fund included AFSA members and the broader FS community, as well as other Americans who support the Foreign Service. By the end of 2019, AFSA’s LDF had received about $600,000 in dona- tions and spent roughly $135,000 (a figure net of any December invoices) on legal assistance for mem- bers. The level of continuing requirements in this regard is unclear as of this writ- ing, but the LDF experience underscores how important it is to maintain robust oper- ating reserves to draw on should urgent unanticipated needs arise. Fund Operations Overall, AFSA’s funds posted a 19.2 percent gain in 2019, closing at a year- end level of approximately $15.25 million. Fund bal- ances are invested with professional fund managers and are balanced for asset growth and prudent preser- vation. Fund management fees totaled approximately $100,000 in 2019. Operating Reserve. AFSA’s reserve fund was valued at approximately $3.6 million at year end. The reserve fund’s current level permits a measure of confidence that AFSA will be able to meet unexpected needs, and AFSA will seek to build up its operating reserves further through prudent stewardship of all its resources. Scholarship Fund. This 501(c)(3) entity was founded in 1924 to help children of Foreign Service members pay for college. The fund has grown substantially over the decades and stood at $10.7 million at the end of 2019. In 2019, the Scholarship Fund awarded $212,540 in needs-based financial aid and $139,500 in merit schol- arships. The fund annually withdraws 4.5 percent of its 5-year average value to fund scholarships to Foreign Service children and partially underwrite the operating expenses of the scholar- ship program. Demand in the form of applications for scholarship monies has remained relatively flat over the years. Fund for American Diplo- macy. The FAD’s mission is to help educate the Ameri- can public about the role of the Foreign Service and diplomacy as a tool of Amer- ica’s influence on the global stage. At the end of 2019, the FAD stood at $462,164. Through the fund, we are working to provide sustained support for continuing and expanding the strong public outreach that AFSA has led over the past several years, which has been underwritten by internal funding shifts. The approved 2020 AFSA operating budget dedicates approximately $420,000 to FAD activities, the costs of which will largely be under- written by transfers from the operating reserve. AFSA strongly encourages donations to the Fund for American Diplomacy, which is organized as a 501(3)(c). Your donations will assist AFSA’s continued work to improve public knowledge about the vital contributions made by U.S. diplomats to preserving U.S. security and prosperity. Sinclaire Fund. AFSA also maintains the Matilda W. Sin- claire Fund, which is intended to support excellence in for- eign language achievement. AFSA draws on that fund annually to pay for language achievement awards. The Sinclaire Fund ended 2019 with $494,055. n The 2019-2021 Governing Board is sworn in at AFSA headquarters July 15. Front row (from left): Steve Herman, Kristin Michelle Roberts, Virginia Bennett, Eric Rubin, Jay Carreiro, Mary Daly and Tom Yazdgerdi. Back row (from left): Jason Singer, Joshua Archibald, John Naland, Ken Kero-Mentz and Tamir Waser. AFSA/ÁSGEIRSIGFÚSSON AFSA NEWS