Donors Enrich Naval Academy

March 9th, 2008  
Team Infidel

Topic: Donors Enrich Naval Academy

Washington Times
March 9, 2008
Pg. 7
By Brian Witte, Associated Press
ANNAPOLIS--When Adm. Charles Larson came back for a second tour as superintendent of the U.S. Naval Academy in 1994, the school had about $100,000 in private support.
A year later, an alumnus dropped by his office. The former midshipman who had graduated 40 years earlier asked Adm. Larson how much "walking-around money" he had to work with for the academy. Adm. Larson's answer was, well, what's that?
" 'Well, I would give money to a foundation,' " Adm. Larson recalled the alumnus telling him, " 'but I will never give money to an alumni association. You ought to really think about that, or you're going to be a nickel-and-dime operation.' "
Adm. Larson set up what would become the U.S. Naval Academy Foundation. He was revisited in 1996 by the alumnus, who gave him a $300,000 check to get the ball rolling.
The result, the retired admiral said at a recent academy Board of Visitors meeting, has been remarkable.
Extra money raised through private donors both alumni and corporations has resulted in faculty chairs, distinguished military professorships, admission outreach programs as well as academic and writing centers for the brigade of about 4,300 midshipmen.
The funds also have helped pay for renovations at the football stadium and a sailing center things lawmakers on Capitol Hill are likely to shrug off when making budget decisions and to help build a Jewish worship center.
The foundation received about $253 million in total commitments between July 1999 and December 2005 during a fundraising campaign to find donors and corporations willing to support the academy. Of that, there are about $192 million in receipts and $61.4 million in outstanding pledges. More than $104 million has gone directly to the academy.
"We have raised more money since we formed the foundation in the last several years then all the money that was raised from 1845 until 1996 by a large measure," Adm. Larson told the Board of Visitors.
For most of the academy's 163 years, it has relied mostly on federal funding.
"When we first started this effort, there were a lot of people that pushed back and said: 'Wait, this is a government institution; we shouldn't be funding it. Don't let Congress off the hook. Don't let the Navy Department off the hook,' " Adm. Larson said.
He said the key has been to carefully consider the academy's needs, show donors how they can make a difference and never use private funds to replace federal money.
"We augment federal funds, but we don't let the government off the hook, and this is a commitment that we make to our donors," Adm. Larson said.
It's also important to work closely with the superintendent to keep an ear out for academy needs, he told the board.
"We are there to support the Naval Academy, not to dream up our own projects," Adm. Larson said.
Now, he said, it's time to lay the groundwork for another campaign to keep the money flowing.
"A campaign kind of rejuvenates people and energizes them and gets them going on some major projects, and so we're working closely with the [superintendent] to decide where we're go next."
Vice Adm. Jeffrey L. Fowler, the current superintendent, said it's very helpful to have extra money around to start a new project such as an initiative he's kicked off to improve academy diversity.
"I don't have to say, 'Where is it in my budget?' and go to my chief financial officer," Adm. Fowler said. "I have some money that I can say: 'Let's execute this now.' "

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