Opinion

Achieving Dreams

Marina Winton
Chief Executive Officer
“I Have a Dream” Foundation
New York, N.Y.

In response to Bill Treanor’s “Nose Knows” column [September], I would like to make corrections to several of his comments.
The national office of the “I Have a Dream” Foundation is the umbrella organization for all the local projects across the country. The national foundation is also the “outreach” arm for the projects. It seeks new sponsors to create new projects. It also provides local projects with additional resources by building national partnerships with corporations, state and federal government agencies, foundations and corporations, and other education and youth development programs.

Since 1986, the national foundation has affiliated 180 projects in 27 states reaching 14,000 children. Of those, 77 are currently active projects.

In reference to Treanor’s comments about the changes in the organization’s leadership, we have been fortunate to have had some very strong individuals in the position of executive director within the last several years. Our reputation for success is such that there are many within the nonprofit arena that look upon the “I Have a Dream” Foundation as an organization they would be proud to be a part of. In fact, 250 people applied for my position, and I reviewed over 740 applications for five recently advertised positions.

In terms of how the national vs. local projects get funded, the local “I Have a Dream” projects receive their support primarily from individuals we refer to as project sponsors. Only a small percentage of the national office’s funding comes from sponsors. The membership dues are, in effect, licensing fees paid by each local project, which fluctuate from year to year depending on how many active projects we have in a given year.

We agree that the foundation is a showcase of private-sector support of youth service in communities throughout the country. We also believe that the federal support that the “I Have a Dream” Foundation receives is an excellent example of a public/private partnership which has helped to leverage millions of private- sector dollars which have made a difference in the lives of many young people who otherwise would never achieve an education and their career dreams.

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