Dear Michigan band community,
The 2022 fiscal year was a landmark for the Michigan Drum Corps Scholarship Fund. Not only did it mark the fund’s first competitive drum corps season and a return to normalcy in the activity, but it was also our first year awarding a Jason Fritz Memorial Scholarship to a deserving young leader in the activity. The scholarship fund awarded $5,935 to sixteen students across nine different corps in both World Class and Open Class for the 2022 season. Our students performed with 7th Regiment, the Blue Stars, The Cadets, Carolina Crown, Colts, Gold, Legends, Phantom Regiment, and the Troopers. This was a record setting year for us in terms of the number of applications, number of recipients, and total funds awarded.
There were some changes to our operation over the last year, the most important of which is the operationalization of the Jason Fritz Memorial Endowment. We would like to recognize the Battle Creek Community Foundation whose partnership and stewardship of the endowment is crucial to our organization’s long-term mission to enrich lives and support the Michigan band community through participation in a drum corps. Despite the challenging economic conditions at play today, we are continually amazed and grateful for the community’s efforts in building the endowment and the trust that donors have placed in us to carry forward Jason’s legacy through his scholarship program.
Another change for us was the effort we put into applicant outreach, which we believe was a driver of our successful 2022 season. These efforts included attending state finals competitions for color guard and indoor percussion and listing our scholarship programs on DCI’s website. We look forward to trying to attend more events, including DCI shows, this year. Come say hi if you see us!
While we are proud of our successes over the last fiscal year, we also feel it’s important to note that we didn’t achieve all of our stated goals. Our primary goal was to expand our board of directors to include more diverse voices. We added Dani Alexis to the board, whose background and expertise in communications and grant writing is a major benefit to the organization, but we did not add anyone to our disbursement committee as we were hoping.
Another stated goal of ours was to apply for grant funding. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to execute on this goal due to limitations in the amount of time our volunteer board had available. This is a goal we will try even harder to achieve in 2023 and we are already working on identifying promising grant opportunities and putting together materials for applications.
While we anticipate further challenges in 2023 as the Fund continues to grow, we look forward to the upcoming season! We will be looking to expand our scholarship programs so we can sponsor as many Michigan students as possible! Applications are now open and we welcome donations from those looking to support the next class of performers.
Thank you to the entire Michigan band community for your continued support!
Chairperson of the Board of Directors
Michigan Drum Corps Scholarship Fund
We remain committed to financial transparency. All of our monthly financial reports are available on our website and we welcome those with specific questions to reach out. This section will contain a more general overview than what is available in our latest financial report. The following table provides an overview of our financial activity for the fiscal year.
|Net Program Expenses
|Jason Fritz Memorial Endowment
|Other Net Assets for 2023
As previously stated, 2022 was a record setting year for the Michigan Drum Corps Scholarship Fund, as reflected in our program expenses. Our Board of Directors is staffed entirely by volunteers and nobody is compensated for their time. Administrative expenses include expenses such as those incurred for our website hosting or transaction fees.
Since 2021, the Michigan Drum Corps Scholarship Fund has followed the 100% model, which means that 100% of the individual donations we receive fund scholarships for Michigan students or to the Jason Fritz Memorial Endowment. The board covers 100% of administrative expenses, which include things like hosting our website and transaction fees.
The 2022 fiscal year represents the Scholarship Fund’s first season of taking advantage of forms of income beyond individual donations, with the establishment of the Jason Fritz Memorial Endowment and the use of AmazonSmile. Thank you to everyone who supported the effort to build the endowment, and thank you to everyone who supported us via AmazonSmile. These methods are something we look to build on in the future so that we can have multiple, durable income sources beyond individual donations.
Separate from the endowment, we currently carry just over $350 in currently spendable, unrestricted assets, although we anticipate some donations before the 2023 audition season kicks off in November. This is the first season in which we don’t have any carryover scholarships due to COVID. The endowment currently has a spendable balance of $500 available for Jason Fritz Memorial Scholarship awards during the 2023 season, regardless of investment performance. We may have more funds available if the investments perform well.
We anticipate that funding may be a challenge in 2023 and beyond. We appear to be entering tough financial conditions and anticipate a drop in the size of the Jason Fritz Memorial Endowment, due to investment losses in the market, and in individual contributions received as well. We are exploring how to best supplement these main sources of funding in a diverse way that is more robust to economic conditions.
As discussed previously, we entered 2022 hoping to increase the size and diversity of the Board of Directors. While we added Dani, we unfortunately were not able to add anyone else to the board and, as was a particular goal of ours, the scholarship disbursement committee. We hope to address this in 2023.
When applying for a scholarship, applicants may provide demographic information, if they are comfortable, to help us track the diversity in our applicant pool and in how we award scholarships. To be clear, we do not take this demographic data into account when awarding scholarships but this data allows us to track some basic diversity statistics at the end of each season.
In each of our annual reports, we have published basic diversity statistics for our scholarship awards and this year is no different, except that we feel it is appropriate to publish data regarding our entire history in addition to the last drum corps season. Because we have not yet turned away a student eligible for a scholarship, we would like to note that we feel the diversity reflected in our scholarship awards is reflective of the diversity in our applicant pool.
Prior to 2022, we believed we had a very strong track record in awarding scholarships to students from non-traditional backgrounds. This fiscal year we clearly took a step back in this regard. Our hypothesis for this is that, while we put in more effort for outreach, we didn’t put that effort specifically into outreach in underrepresented communities. As a result, our applicant pool grew in size and homogeneity. This is something we plan to work on in 2023.
Overall, we believe Michigan Drum Corps Scholarship Fund is in a strong position heading into 2023. We had a record-breaking year in 2022 and we think we can carry that momentum forward. We currently have funds available for scholarships, we have good prospects for getting more funding, and our long-term outlook remains strong with the Jason Fritz Memorial Endowment.
That said, we do anticipate challenges. Meeting the standards we set in 2022 may be difficult if economic conditions worsen. We expect the endowment will shrink, and it is also possible that individual contributions will do so as well. The Fund can withstand this, but only if other forms of funding are realized.
To that end, it has been a goal of ours since the beginning to pull in grant funding for scholarships, and executing on this vision is more important in 2023 than ever. Our greatest challenge for this is resources - we have had trouble as a board keeping up with the pace of our own growth so far. Our board is made entirely of volunteers who are all busy with a wide array of other interests, especially because most of us also serve other nonprofits or educational organizations! As such, we are once again calling for anyone with an interest in helping to reach out! We’d love to have you.
Thank you for your continued support, and we look forward to a successful 2023!