SAAHJ Special Vote

The San Antonio Association of Hispanic Journalists’ board of directors is placing a matter of urgent and critical importance before you as we conduct a rare all-members vote by email. The question is whether to partner with the San Antonio Area Foundation to move our current scholarship application, approval and administrative process to on online system managed by the SAAF and controlled by the SAAHJ. See the bottom of this email for details on the voting process.

As you are probably aware, we had to cancel the recently scheduled meeting with the San Antonio Area Foundation to hold a special vote about establishing an online scholarship application, and we apologize for the inconvenience. Due to Hurricane Harvey and its aftermath, it has proven difficult to reschedule the meeting, but if SAAHJ is to proceed, we must meet a Friday, September 15, deadline with SAAF in order have our scholarship application online by January.

As you are aware, the SAAHJ board of directors has been seeking to eliminate paper scholarship applications, move the process online and alleviate administrative burdens for our volunteer-run organization. After researching the matter, it became clear that it would be impractical for our organization to undertake such an endeavor. At the same time, the SAAF has the resources to provide a turnkey and customizable solution.

That solution requires SAAHJ to enter into a legal agreement with SAAF and to deposit up to $50,000 in an escrow account for a scholarship fund that will be administered by the foundation. Here are the salient points to such an agreement:

The SAAF uses software from a company named FoundAnt to set up its scholarship portal
The scholarship portal enables applicants to create a login, complete application forms and upload appropriate attachments online at their leisure
The SAAHJ would have access to an administrative portal
The SAAHJ would be required to keep at least $10,000/anticipated amount of scholarship funds in its SAAF account
The SAAF would classify the SAAHJ as a “donor involved organization”
As a “donor involved organization,” the SAAHJ would be responsible for nominating five people to serve on a committee to review scholarship applications and select the winners
Committee members would use the administrative portal to review and score the scholarship applications
Once winners are selected, the SAAF will disburse the funds to the schools at the appropriate time
The SAAF follows up with scholarship winners for transcripts and provides them with retention services
Scholarship applications would be securely stored online
The SAAF would charge a 1.75 percent management fee on the funds that the SAAHJ deposits
The SAAF would also charge a 0.6 percent investment fee on the funds that the SAAHJ deposits
The SAAF will invest the fees and the money that the SAAHJ deposits
Interest earned through the SAAF investments will be deposited into the SAAHJ’s escrow account (the earnings usually exceed the fees withdrawn)
The SAAF has the ability to add donor matches to the scholarships
The agreement with the SAAF can be canceled at any time with no penalty, and escrow funds will be refunded
The SAAHJ board would include the funds in our SAAF account in future treasurer’s reports

Due to the scheduling challenges, the September 15 deadline, the legal agreement and the amount of money involved, the SAAHJ board would like members to vote on the matter. The board met with the SAAF on Tuesday, August 15, and voted to recommend that members approve entering into the agreement and creating the scholarship fund.

Current SAAHJ members may vote “YES” or “NO” by replying to this e-mail at saahj@sahipsanicjournalists.com before 5 p.m. on Wednesday, September 13. Your ballot will be kept confidential, and the board will announce the results of the special vote on Thursday, September 14.