Striving to be good stewards

Striving to be good stewards
Foundation CEO Doug Tystad provides an orientation briefing about the Foundation and its operations to the attendees of the National Security Roundtable on Nov. 30.

Foundation CEO Doug Tystad provides an orientation briefing about the Foundation and its operations to the attendees of the National Security Roundtable on Nov. 30.

As we close in on the end of 2016, we are conducting our annual fundraising appeal to our wonderful donors. Throughout the year, we receive donations and sponsorships from individuals, corporations, and foundations. At the end of the year, we do a special appeal to our individual donors to once again support all that we do to accomplish our mission.

We have already received a positive response from our Giving Tuesday campaign, which is an online appeal that takes place the day after Cyber Monday shopping. In support of this campaign, we were active on Facebook with our followers and we sent appeals through our online subscribers. We were very grateful for all that posted selfies in support of the Foundation and for the donations that we received on and after Giving Tuesday.

As part of our appeal, we make sure that everyone knows that we get no government funding for our operations. We rely totally on the generosity of our donors. As a 501(c)(3) education foundation, our donors normally receive tax exemption for their donations.

We pay very close attention to how much we spend on our mission and how much on our overhead. Most donors want to know that we will spend their donated dollars wisely. Our historic average over the ten years of the Foundation for overhead (defined as the total of General and Administrative costs plus fundraising costs as a percentage of total expenses for the year) has been 33 percent, which means that for every dollar donated, thirty three cents are spent on overhead costs. My goal since joining the Foundation three years ago has been to lower these costs so we can drive more money into mission and through October of this year, our overhead is at 29 percent (21 percent General and Administrative costs, 8 percent fundraising costs). Our ultimate goal is to lower that to less than 25 percent on an annual basis.

So what goes into General and Administrative (G&A) expenses that costs us so much you might ask? Charges to G&A are governed by the IRS so there are some costs that simply don’t meet the criteria for support to mission. These include such things as the costs for our accounting services and our annual audit. In addition, the costs for our payroll services, office expenses, telephone, IT support, and things such as that are also included. Time spent on developing, reviewing, and managing the budget is considered G&A. One of the big costs has to do with the administration of the Foundation through our board of trustees. While trustees are volunteers, the time that the staff spends in support of board meetings, committee meetings, and trustee communications is considered G&A. The board provides governance and financial oversight so we consider this very important to the success of the Foundation. The treasurer and I review the financials every month and I meet with our accounting service bi-weekly to review costs and work strategies for lowering our overhead expenses and driving money into programs that support our mission.

I believe that we are good stewards of our donated resources. We know that our mission support is generating an enhanced academic experience for our faculty and students; that we are connecting the American public with the college and our military; and that we are enriching the lives of our military and their families. We’re proud of what we’ve accomplished and we look forward to even better results in the future. I hope you help us with a tax deductible contribution of any amount so that we can continue into our eleventh year in support of the development of military leaders of character and competence for service to the nation.

Doug Tystad
Chief Executive Officer
CGSC Foundation, Inc.

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