Educational Fund
- Frequently Asked Questions -

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Frequently Asked Questions
about the
Educational Fund

 

Following are some questions that are frequently asked about the Educational Fund:

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1.  QUESTION: What kinds of projects are awarded grants?

ANSWER: Most grants are awarded for development of new boating-related educational programs. A few grants have been awarded to purchase specialized equipment for USPS Headquarters that is to be used to greatly improve the operations of educational programs (e.g., a high-speed CD duplicator). Grants are not awarded to support on-going programs or to purchase equipment for squadrons or districts. For a complete list of all grants that have been awarded since the USPS Educational Fund was established in the early 1970's, click on Approved Grants on any EdFund web page.

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2.  QUESTION: Are Grants limited to USPS Educational Department projects?

ANSWER: No. In recent years grants have been awarded to other committees and departments in USPS, e.g., Headquarters (HQ) Marketing Department, Marketing & Public Relations Committee, Environmental Committee, Vessel Safety Check Committee, and Membership Committee. Grants have also been awarded to non-USPS organizations, e.g., National Association of Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA), National Boating Federation (NBF), American Boat & Yacht Council (ABYC), and United Safe Boating Institute (USBI). For a complete list of all Grants that have been awarded since the USPS Educational Fund was established in the early 1970's, click on Approved Grants on any EdFund web page.

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3.  QUESTION: Is any of the money I donate used directly to pay operating expenses for any department or person?

ANSWER: No. The money you and everyone else donates to the USPS Educational Fund is placed 100% in a trust fund. This Fund is invested in a variety of fixed income and equity assets under the guidance of an experienced investment management firm. The principal of that Fund is never spent. Only the yield (return on investments) is spent to pay approved expenses of awarded Grants. To get a picture of where the Fund stands financially, click on the latest Investment Report under Reports on any EdFund web page.

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4.  QUESTION: Are donations to the USPS Educational Fund tax-deductible?

ANSWER: Yes. The USPS Educational Fund is an independent IRS Section 501(c)(3) non-profit educational charity. Your donations are 100% deductible from your U.S. federal income tax if you itemize deductions, up to the limits for your tax bracket. The EdFund Administrator will send you a written acknowledgment of your donation for tax receipt purposes. To make a donation today on-line, click on the green Donate On-Line Now button on the EdFund Home page or click here.

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5.  QUESTION: How large is the USPS Educational Fund and is it invested safely?

ANSWER: As of 30 September 2013, the assets held by the Educational Fund totaled more than $3 million. Day-to-day management of the portfolio is handled by an investment manager operating within guidelines established by the trustees of the EdFund. Those guidelines at present call for the assets to be invested conservatively within broad percentage ranges of total asset value, more-or-less as follows:

Cash 3%
Equities 40%
Fixed income 12%
Preferred and convertible 45%

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6.  QUESTION: Who can be a USPS Educational Fund Trustee and how are they chosen?

ANSWER: Almost any adult is eligible to be elected a Trustee, with one notable exception. Although it is not a written rule, USPS members who currently hold an elected district or national Educational Department office are considered ineligible. This is done to avoid any real or apparent conflict of interest, as normally a majority of Grant Requests are for USPS Educational Department development projects.

As vacancies become available, the current Trustees screen and identify potential Trustee candidates. They submit their recommendations to the USPS Committee on Nominations, which in turn nominates Trustee candidates for election by the USPS Governing Board. For a list of current Trustees and their terms of office and of all Trustees from the start of the EdFund, click on Trustees on any EdFund web page. Anyone interested in serving as a USPS Educational Fund Trustee (for a term of three years) may submit a USPS resume to the USPS Committee on Nominations or send a letter to the current Chair of the Trustees.

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7.  QUESTION: How large are USPS Educational Fund grants?

ANSWER: There are no specific rules on that. In the past 10 years, grants awarded have ranged in size from $550.00 to $71,000.00. It all depends on the project being proposed and its relative significance in the realm of recreational boating education. If you are thinking of asking for a grant, use the Grant Request Submittal Form on this website to file your Grant Request.

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8.  QUESTION: Are grants renewable?

ANSWER: Yes and No. Some large grants have been split up into phases, with the phases being funded one at a time. That allows for performance and progress review by both the grantee and the Fund Trustees and helps avoid tying up too much grant money at one time.

On the other hand, grants are most often awarded for development of some new educational project, concept, or product. They are not awarded for continuing operational support of a program that has completed development. Monies to support such ongoing efforts are the responsibility of the organization running that program.

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9.  QUESTION: Are squadrons and districts eligible for USPS Educational Fund grants?

ANSWER: Yes. For example, one grant was awarded to a specific squadron for boat ramp signs promoting safe boating education. Another squadron received a grant to support development of a boating safety education program in cooperation with the public schools in the area. Other good sources you might want to explore for grants for squadrons and districts are the BoatUS Foundation and the National Safe Boating Council.

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10.  QUESTION: How can my squadron or district apply for a USPS Educational Fund grant? How soon will we know if it is approved?

ANSWER: First, flesh out the project you wish to undertake and calculate projected costs to complete it. When you are ready to submit your proposal, use the USPS Educational Fund Grant Request Submittal Form available on this website. Submit the Grant Request to the Secretary of the EdFund Trustees using the address on the form. The Secretary will assign the request a Grant Request number and forward it to the EdFund Chair. The Trustees will examine your proposal; they may ask for more back-up information; they will look at the monies available for award this year for this and other Grant Requests and then vote on it — either electronically or at a USPS national meeting. You can normally expect to get an answer within about 60 days after you submit your request form.

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11.  QUESTION: How do USPS members and the general public get to know about the many programs and projects underwritten by USPS Educational Fund grants?

ANSWER: One way is to visit this website as you are doing. Posted on the site is a list of all grants awarded since the start of the Fund in the early 1970's (click on Approved Grants on any EdFund web page). Also posted are copies of all currently open grants and their status.

A second, and perhaps more important, way is for the grantees to acknowledge the support of the USPS Educational Fund in their published and electronic media materials. The Trustees recently revised the “Conditions of Grant” to include the following statement: “All announcements, publications, & media presentations produced through this project will specifically acknowledge the role of the USPS Educational Fund in underwriting the project.”  The “Conditions of Grant” statement also says: “Failure to comply may result in the disallowance of certain expenses and/or immediate cancellation of the Grant.”

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12.  QUESTION: What oversight is provided to assure that grant monies are spent properly for the approved purpose(s) of a grant?

ANSWER: Oversight is provided in two ways. First, as one of the “Conditions of Grant,” the grantee must agree that: “Grantee will send to the current chair of the Trustees a written report of the progress and status of the project on 15 December, 15 April, and 15 August, and a final detailed report of the expenditures when the project is completed.” Failure to comply may result in the disallowance of certain expenses and/or immediate cancellation of the Grant.

Secondly, every invoice submitted by the grantee for reimbursement from the USPS Educational Fund is sent to the Treasurer of the EdFund Trustees. The Treasurer examines the invoice to be sure all items covered by it are valid charges against the awarded grant and that the approved total grant amount is not being exceeded. The approved invoice is then sent to USPS Headquarters for payment on all grants awarded to USPS entities or is paid directly by the Fund Treasurer for all grants made to non-USPS organizations.

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13.  QUESTION: I want to put my squadron or district on the EdFund Honor Roll this year. How do I do that?

ANSWER: To have a squadron or district on the EdFund Honor Roll means that the squadron or district must have had a donation made of at least $1 per member to the EdFund for the year. The $1.00 per member per year can be achieved in many ways. Every squadron member can add $1.00 per year to his or her dues renewal and designate it for the USPS Educational Fund, a squadron can send in an Honor Roll check for an amount equal to $1.00 per member—money raised perhaps through a squadron fund-raiser, or one or more individuals in the squadron can make an equivalent donation and specify it as being for the Honor Roll for that squadron.

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14.  QUESTION: How can I determine the current number of members in a squadron or district for Honor Roll purposes?

Go to the on-line membership report at http://www.usps.org/x/x.pl/x/x.cgi?/membership/Member/members_only_page.htm. From there choose the monthly membership report. Reports are available for the current month or past months. Use the number in the "Total" column for the month of your contribution.

You may need to log on with your certificate number and PIN. Note that if you have a PIN, you must use your PIN and not your zip code to log on. Your PIN is shown on your annual USPS dues notice. If you are having problems, go to the security information pages.

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15.  QUESTION: When must contributions be made for the Honor Roll?

ANSWER: There is no fixed date for EdFund contributions. When the squadron or district sends the contribution, the amount should equal $1.00 times the total number of members at the time of the contribution. Note that the Honor Roll for a particular year is usually closed out by 30 November of that year, so this may be a consideration if you are trying to make the Honor Roll for that year.

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16.  QUESTION: Can I still use my old envelope with a different address on it than what's posted on the EdFund web page?

ANSWER: No, please don't use any old envelopes you may have for the EdFund if the address is not in Raleigh, NC. The person taking care of donations in the past passed away some time ago, so the donation will most likely not get to its intended destination. The correct address to use for postal mail is:

USPS Educational Fund
Administrative Assistant
PO Box 30423
Raleigh, NC 27622

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This page last updated Friday, November 1, 2013 14:43