How a Song and A Prayer Opened Washington’s Wallet: Where the Money Comes From, Where it Goes

Patrick Boyle
September 1, 2001

When it comes to raising money, the U.S. Dream Academy immediately established itself on a different level than the average fledgling youth program. The first two major corporate contributors, according to the academy’s 1999 tax returns, were Exxon ($25,000) and NFL Charities ($15,000).

When Sens. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) hosted a fund-raiser for the academy this past May, major contributors included Delta Airlines ($200,000 to sponsor the event), AOL/Time Warner ($50,000), the Walt Disney Company ($25,000), Microsoft ($10,000) and several names from the pharmaceutical industry: Bristol-Myers Squibb, Pfizer, Pharmacia Corp., Glaxo Smith Kline, Merck & Co. ($100,000 each), Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, Barr Laboratories ($50,000 each) and Bayer Corp. ($25,000).

Most of the donations and government grants have gone to program development, administrative costs and plans to expand to other cities, says Academy President Wintley Phipps. “To make people think we are spending or raising this kind of money to run two sites, that would be inaccurate,” he says.

The academy spends more on professional fees than anything else, according to the most recent financial statement (2000) that it provided. Those fees totaled $144,500 that year, or 45 percent of the academy’s $321,000 in expenses. This was for “consultants to provide services in the areas of program development and implementation, accounting, fund-raising, and other areas related to our program development and implementation,” says Vice President C. Diane Booker.

Salaries and benefits accounted for about $81,000, which is for management staff (mostly at the academy’s small office above a bank in the Washington suburb of Columbia, Md.). The front-line youth workers at the two academy sites are paid by a $100,000 U.S. Department of Labor grant.

Phipps was paid $49,000 last year, the academy says. The academy’s 1999 tax returns say he drew no salary that year and donated $29,000 to the academy.

Boyle, Patrick. "How a Song and A Prayer Opened Washington’s Wallet: Where the Money Comes From, Where it Goes." Youth Today, September 2001, p. 1.

©2000 Youth Today. Reprinted with permission from Youth Today. All rights reserved.