The Foreign Service Journal, March 2021

76 MARCH 2021 | THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL AFSA NEWS Treasury Report Continued from p. 75 $600,000 in contributions. Unexpended funds will remain in reserve. Fund Operations In 2020, AFSA main- tained long-term investment discipline and kept suffi- cient liquidity to meet any unexpected cash flow needs related to the pandemic. AFSA’s investment portfolios performed very well, appre- ciating 12.6 percent net of all investment-related expenses. For 2020, the combined portfolio ended the year at $16.99 million in comparison to 2019’s $15.25 million. Investment expenses totaled just over $100,000 in 2020, the same as in 2019. Operating Reserve. AFSA’s reserve fund was valued at approximately $4.3 million at year end, a large boost over 2019’s $3.6 mil- lion. This is consistent with AFSA’s efforts to build up its operating reserves through prudent stewardship of all its resources, which will con- tinue to be our aim. Scholarship Fund. This 501(c)(3) entity was founded in 1924 to help the children of Foreign Service members pay for college. The fund has grown substantially over the decades, and at the end of 2020 stood at $11.8 million, a significant increase over the $10.7 million at the end of 2019. 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 scholarship program. Demand in the form of applications for scholar- ship monies has remained relatively flat over the years. In 2020, the Scholarship Fund awarded $217,000 in needs-based financial aid and $123,500 in merit schol- arships. Although the fund’s asset value increased sig- nificantly in 2020, the annual withdrawal amount did not. This practice is designed to ensure that any given year’s applicants are not disad- vantaged should there be a dramatic market decline. Fund for American Diplomacy. The FAD’s mis- sion is to help educate the American public about the role of the Foreign Service and diplomacy as a tool of America’s influence on the global stage. At the end of 2020, the FAD principal bal- ance stood at $454,934. The FAD is envisaged to provide sustained, dedicated support for continuing AFSA’s public outreach, and AFSA and its leadership continue the effort to build up its principal value. The approved 2021 AFSA operating budget dedicates approximately $353,151 to D I STR I BUT I ON OF COV I D -19 VACC I NE Many AFSA members have been in contact with us concerning the COVID-19 vaccine and its distribution.  AFSA is aware that the vaccine’s distribution is constrained by availability, but we have urged the State Depart- ment and the other foreign affairs agencies to ensure that, as vaccine production and distribution ramp up, all members of the Foreign Service and their families be prioritized.  That said, while we strongly encourage all employees to receive the vaccine in line with best-practice public health measures and in consideration of their colleagues, we recognize that this is a personal decision.  AFSA has also communicated to our contacts that Foreign Service members from all foreign affairs agencies who are scheduled to transfer or undertake other official travel should have the option to receive the vaccine from the office of medical services before they travel.   In addition, members have highlighted the sparse communication from the agencies on both the availability of vaccine doses and plans for its distribution. We have urged that more comprehensive information be provided at more frequent intervals.  AFSA appreciates the sensitivities and complexities around COVID-19 and vaccinations, but clear communica- tion to those both domestically and overseas is vital, so that our members are informed and prepared. n NEWS BRIEF FAD activities, the costs of which will largely be under- written by transfers from the operating reserve. That num- ber compares to $420,000 in the 2020 operating budget and reflects the realities of the pandemic. AFSA strongly encourages donations to the Fund for American Diplomacy, which is organized as a 501(3)(c). 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 language achievement. AFSA draws on that fund annually to pay for language achieve- ment awards. The Sinclaire Fund ended 2020 with $561,769. n —Virginia L. Bennett, AFSA Treasurer