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Susie Kay, the founder of Hoop Dreams Scholarship Fund, has just announced that she is dissolving the charity, which for years has been one of the most celeb-laden and powerful sportscentric fundraising groups in the city.
Kay’s announcement after the jump.
June 26, 2009
Dear Special Friend of Hoop Dreams Scholarship Fund (HDSF),
This note is certainly one of a different nature than any I have written during the past 13 years.
It is with a heavy, humbled and very grateful heart that I let you know that we have made the very difficult decision to bring the operations of The Hoop Dreams Scholarship Fund to a planned close, which will take place over the next few months. The HDSF Board of Directors on June 22, 2009 made a very responsible decision to adopt a resolution to dissolve our organization.
This decision was made after a great deal of thoughtful deliberation and analysis. For the past several years, we’ve been deeply concerned about the sustainability of our organization. Each year we continue to add new students, mentors, volunteers and many others to our HDSF network. Our ability to raise funds to continue providing our students with resources to serve them in the way that has made HDSF so impactful and special has declined drastically in this particular economic climate.
Some have asked a very reasonable question: why not just downsize the organization and hope to see another day?
Downsizing is not an option because HDSF has been so impactful over the years primarily because of the myriad programs we offer to our students. Eliminating certain programs, whether it’s our extensive mentoring component or our intensive career preparation courses would drastically alter the very foundation this program was built on. HDSF has always worked to empower students and provide them the best possible chance to achieve their hopes and dreams of attending college and entering the workforce. We would not feel comfortable compromising the mission of the organization, which provides academic and career support to the more than 1,000 students who make up the Hoop Dreams family.
We will continue operations and remain a support system for all our constituents, in a reduced capacity, through the fall.
We are extremely fortunate to have enough funds in reserve to be able to fulfill all of our existing obligations. The students in our program who recently graduated high school will receive their 2009-2010 scholarship awards in full. And our students currently matriculating through college who were awarded renewal scholarships will receive their full awards too. What we can not do, however, is promise scholarship dollars beyond the 2009-2010 academic school year. With our new fiscal year beginning September 1, 2009, and the likelihood of raising enough funding to sustain our organization for another year bleak at best, we did not want to risk the likely scenario in which we ran out of funding abruptly and were unable to fulfill our obligations to all of the extraordinary people who make up HDSF. We are now focusing on the painstaking details of ensuring that we wind down the organization in the most respectful and responsible way possible.
While Hoop Dreams will be dissolved, we will work diligently on ways in which the spirit of Hoop Dreams may live on and continue to benefit the kinds of deserving young people who inspired me to start the organization back in 1996.
On a personal note there are no words to express the depth of gratitude and love I feel for so many that have believed and supported this journey through the years.
Nearly 20 years ago, when I first walked through the doors of H.D. Woodson High School, to teach 12th grade American government – in the heart of Ward 7, an incredible life’s journey unfolded. The love I felt for my students, young people who defy all odds in the heart of our Nations Capitol, and who have a will and determination to succeed in spite of extremely tough circumstances, is all the inspiration a school teacher would ever need. Over the past couple decades my students taught me, and so many others, so much more than we could ever teach them. They remain a constant reminder of what it means to persevere and to defy the odds!
I have been driven by the unmistakable sense of disconnect that our students experience on a daily basis. They grow up a few miles from Capitol Hill and all its power, but it often feels like the two sides of Washington are worlds apart. Our students deserve all the support and empowerment in the world and I plan to remain committed to them in some form and I hope you will too. During the past 13 years HDSF has worked to bring these two worlds together in pursuit of building trust, faith and bridges to bring us closer together.
Because of your support, belief, love, generosity, faith and commitment through the years you have helped take us on a journey that allowed 1,000 D.C. students to attend college, and to be empowered through mentoring, career preparation, SAT preparation through the Princeton Review, and to receive academic college scholarships and so much more.
My Father, Captain Howard N. Kay, who passed away in 1997, reminded me throughout his life that the purpose of our being here is the impact we can have on someone else’s life.
I thank you from the bottom of my heart for making this all possible.
The sprit of HDSF and what we have done together will live on in all of you and most certainly all of our extraordinary young people.
We do hope to have a possible closing gathering to celebrate and thank you for all the wonderful work you all helped Hoop Dreams accomplish. We will be in touch with you about the details. The many memories and academic and professional resources we’ve offered over the past 13 years will be preserved on our web site: www.hoopdreams.org
With sincere love and appreciation,