Cosmos Club Foundation
John P. McGovern Award & RecipientsCosmos Club Award & RecipientsYoung Scholars Award & RecipientsAnnual Report Extracts

The Cosmos Club Foundation was created by Cosmos Club members in 1967 as a tax- exempt and legally distinct organization charged specifically to advance science, literature, and the arts and humanities through awards and grants for charitable and educational purposes.

The Cosmos Club itself was founded in 1878 for the advancement of its members in science, literature, and art and "their mutual improvement by social intercourse." The activities of the Foundation are not designed to be of direct benefit to the Club, although some do affect the Club. The Trustees are appointed by the Club President with the approval of the Board of Management. The Trustees appoint Fellows to perform any non-fiduciary operations and activities of the Foundation.

The Cosmos Club Foundation is recognized as a 501(c)(3) organization by the Internal Revenue Service. Gifts to the Foundation may be eligible for tax deductibility to the donor. The Foundation's support comes from its modest endowment and from gifts made by Club members and the public, as well as by charitable foundations. Of its annual expenditures, 95% directly support programs and only 5% is typically used for accounting, insurance, and the website. Trustees serve without compensation. Continuing and increased support is necessary for the Foundation to maintain and expand its programs in the future.

A major activity of the Foundation, begun in 1998, is a program of small research grants for graduate students enrolled in selected universities in the Washington, D.C. area. The process is very selective; only about 10% of the proposals submitted are funded. Recipients are designated Cosmos Scholars. The program thus has a two-fold public benefit—graduate-student assistance and increase in knowledge. Recently the Foundation began a program of annual donations to the District of Columbia Public Schools Education Fund, which makes microgrants to college students when they experience financial barriers in their college careers, including purchasing textbooks or laptops, or paying for childcare, transportation, or living expenses.

In two other programs, the Foundation honors the achievements of outstanding individuals.

From its inception, the Foundation has provided the honorarium and certificate for the annual Cosmos Club Award. Recipients have included Sandra Day O'Connor, Frederica von Stade, Philippe de Montebello, John Hope Franklin, and David McCullough, to name just a few.

Also, the Foundation's endowment income supports two John P. McGovern Awards per year, and the award ceremonies at which the recipients speak about their work. The recognition afforded by these awards rotates between the arts and humanities, literature, and science. Awardees have included Denyce Graves, E.L. Doctorow, Sir Derek Jacobi, Vinton Cerf, Harold Varmus, Christof Eschenbach, and Anthony Fauci. Members of the Club and the public are invited to the award ceremonies, which are held in the Clubhouse.

The Foundation has endowed an annual chamber music concert at the Club's neighbor, The Phillips Collection.