Alumni eNewsletter: GUAA's Laurent Clerc Cultural Fund turns 40 this year (Archives)

The Laurent Clerc Cultural Fund (LCCF) of the Gallaudet University Alumni Association turns 40 this year.

During the 39th annual Charter Day luncheon and awards program, attendees had an opportunity to learn more about the LCCF's contributions and achievements from a PowerPoint presentation narrated by the mistress and master of ceremonies, Dr. Cynthia Neese Bailes, '70, and Mr. Abbas Ali Behmanesh, '02.

LCCF history at a glance, as summarized by Daphne Cox, ’82, ex-officio representative in observance of the LCCF’s 40th anniversary, follows:

The Laurent Clerc Cultural Fund is one of three separate funds within the half-million dollar Gallaudet University Alumni Association (GUAA) Centennial Fund that was presented to Gallaudet in commemoration of its centennial anniversary in 1964. This fund is named in honor of Laurent Clerc, the young deaf Frenchman who left his homeland in 1816 to come with Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet and become a teacher of deaf students in America. Two other funds are the Graduate Fellowship Fund to aid deaf people pursuing post-graduate work at non-deaf institutions, and the Peikoff Alumni House Maintenance Fund, used for ongoing maintenance of the Alumni House.

The fund was established to recognize and award four deserving individuals each year, and to promote projects and activities that lead to the cultural enrichment of deaf people through grant application procedures and/or gifts from the LCCF. The Laurent Clerc Cultural Fund Publication and Production Fund, part of the LCCF, is earmarked to support books, videotapes and the like, through grant application procedures.

Seven people are appointed for three-year terms. Members may be reappointed but may not serve more than two consecutive terms. A total of 64 members have served on the LCCF Committee since its inception in 1968. Four members were re-appointed for two additional terms in later years (Rosalyn Gannon, ’59, Cynthia Bailes, ‘70, Carlene Thumann-Prezioso, ’80, and Lisa Jacobs, ‘80). The current committee roster is: Leticia Arellano, ’94, chairperson; Carlene Thumann- Prezioso, ’80; Franklin Torres, ’02; Lisa Jacobs, ’80; Laurene Simms; Suzanne Stecker, ’97; Gene Mirus, E-’92, and Daphne Cox, ’82, ex-officio representative. Here is a breakdown of the number of people who served on the committee, by decade:
1968 - 1969 (7)
1970 - 1979 (14)
1980 - 1989 (12)
1990 – 1999 (15)
2000 – present (16)

The LCCF has four awards that recognize deserving individuals for their meritorious achievements. Nominations are due on October 1. Award recipients are honored at the annual Charter Day Awards Presentation in April. Descriptions of awards and the number of past award recipients are listed below:

Laurent Clerc Award for outstanding social contributions by a deaf person (38)

Alice Cogswell Award to a person for valuable service on behalf of deaf people (38)

Edward Miner Gallaudet Award to an international or national deaf or hearing leader working to promote the well-being of deaf people of the world (39)

Amos Kendall Award to a deaf person for notable excellence in a professional field not related to deafness (26)

A sizable number of alumni award winners were also Gallaudet University honorary degree recipients.

The LCCF Committee had made different gifts to Gallaudet University and elsewhere. Forty gifts, totalling $78,262, have been awarded. Following is a breakdown, by decade:

1968 – 1969 (1) $2,500
1970 - 1979 (14) $18,552
1980 – 1989 (14) $36,761
1990 - 1999 (7) $10,831
2000 - Present (4) $9,646
Categories of gifts to Gallaudet
Busts - 2
Portraits - 10
Plaques - 7
Museums - 3
Exhibits – 9
Archives – 3
Books – 1
Alumni House Fund – 1
Book Fund - 1
Total number of gifts to Gallaudet – 37 out of 40
Total funds given to Gallaudet -- $75,648

The LCCF Committee has approved and awarded $144,183 to 77 grant applicants. Here is a breakdown of grants, by decade:
1968 – 1969 (0) $0
1970 - 1979 (5) $8,792
1980 – 1989 (14) $32,144
1990 - 1999 (37) $49,106
2000 – Present (21) $54,140
Categories of Grants
Portraits – 1
Books/Research Projects - 28
Museums – 5
Art/Busts/Memorials – 4
Plays/Festivals/Performances – 10
Films – 9
Programs – 7
Grant Project Status Summary
Completed - 67
Cancelled – 3 (Biographical sketches $10,000; Reprinting of Notable Deaf Persons Book $6,000; Bryant Portrait $150)
Ongoing – 6
Inactive/Incomplete – 3
Unknown – 1

Unveiling Ceremonies
The LCCF Committee, with help from the Office of Alumni Relations, planned and led several unveiling ceremonies:
President Edward Merrill Portrait – 1983
Clerc Memorial Bust - 1987
President Jerry Lee Portrait – 1989
Gallaudet/Cogswell Statue Base - 1990
Plaques (Houses #2, #3, #4) – 2001
Gallaudet Charters - 2004
Plaque (House #1) – 2007

Fundraising Projects
The LCCF Committee came up with different fundraising activities to raise money for specific projects. The years, the names of projects, and the amount of profits are listed below:
1990 -- I. King Jordan Portrait Block project, 5K Run, Yard Sales, Auction, and Hot Air Balloon Ride; $12,000
2000 – Limited Edition Gallaudet University Afghan sale; $11,500
2000 – present - $10 Donation from Charter Day; $1,000 per event (approximately)
2002 – present - Gallaudet Notecard sale
2005 – Gary Brooks, ’95, Dr. Hand Movie fundraiser; $3,030

The LCCF Committee, GUAA, and the Office of Alumni Relations would like to give their heartfelt thanks to everyone involved for their years of loyal support, volunteer service, and financial contributions to the LCCF and its programs and activities over the past 40 years.

Posted: 5 May 2008

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