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Olympics Foundation

August 07, 1994

Your article "Grants by '84 Olympic Foundation Dwindle" (July 26) failed to give an accurate portrayal of the Amateur Athletic Foundation's efforts and financial expenditures.

The AAF is an operating foundation. As such, it not only awards grants but also initiates and operates its own programs. The AAF program expenditures have consistently gone up every year since 1985 from $86,435 to $1.3 million in 1993. These programs ensure that youngsters who are not part of established sports institutions, which we serve through grants, are also able to experience the magic of sports.

Therefore, the foundation's total expenditures, including grants and programs, have stayed constant throughout the years, averaging $6,191,889. Contrary to the statement that the foundation is "barely satisfying federal requirements that it spend at least 5% of its invested assets," the foundation's expenses have averaged 6.92%. This is much higher than most other foundations.

Despite what your article would have people believe, the foundation is not stockpiling money. If you take into consideration the eroding effect of inflation, the actual purchasing power of today's higher assets are in fact lower than that of the original endowment. By investing back into the community nearly $60 million in the last 10 years, we have spent approximately two-thirds of the original endowment.

The article also inaccurately reported that this was the first year that the county had charged fees for recreational swimming. In fact the fee structure was imposed last year. At the request of the county, the AAF provided an emergency grant of $20,000 in 1993 for additional scholarship money.

The article failed to mention that every year for the last nine years the foundation has supported the summer swim program at county pools. This program provides money for the lifeguards to teach kids to swim competitively and to offer scholarships. In the last nine years the foundation has awarded $367,036 in grants to the County Park and Recreation Department and $325,227 in grants to the City Recreation and Parks Department. In addition, the AAF has spent $512,000 to operate this program.

The financial crisis suffered by governmental agencies should be a concern to all of us. We are doing our part to make sure that the youngsters who want to participate in sports are able to do so. We must all work together, however, to try to find a long-term solution to this crisis. The time for short-term fixes is over.


President, Amateur Athletic

Foundation of Los Angeles

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