The Stuyvesant Alumni Association is reviewing a proposal to create a new, broader reaching organization—the Stuyvesant Alumni Foundation—through a merger with the Campaign for Stuyvesant and Friends of Stuy organizations. The proposed Alumni Foundation will seek to raise funds more efficiently for the school community. The merger is slated to be completed in the coming months.
Currently, the three groups involved in the potential merger play similar roles in providing funding to the school. The Alumni Association is comprised solely of alumni and raises funds for the school while administering grant money for individual clubs and students. It also plays an active role in the school’s administration, sending a representative to the monthly School Leadership Team meetings. Campaign for Stuyvesant, headed by alumni, and the Friends of Stuy, which is led by Stuyvesant parents, teachers and alumni, only raise funds for the school in general.
The merger was first proposed in the September 2009 alumni newsletter. To facilitate the process, the three organizations have created a unity board, which is working on a Memo of Understanding, to finalize details of the merger. The memo details how the new foundation would function. The unity board includes three members from each of the current boards of directors for the three groups involved.
Principal Stanley Teitel discussed the proposal in his column in the March alumni newsletter. He stressed the need for cooperation between the groups for the good of the Stuyvesant community. “When people are trying to donate to the school, they don’t know who to donate to,” Teitel said.
Parent Coordinator Harvey Blumm agreed. “Stuyvesant is a big school and we need a lot of money,” he said. “We need them [Friends of Stuy, Alumni Association and Campaign for Stuyvesant] all working together as one big happy family.”
According to Alumni Association President Evelyn Kreijci (’76), the motivation for the merger stems from the confusion created by three different organizations working towards the same goal. “When people try to donate to the school, they don’t know who to donate to and may end up donating less than they would have,” she said.
However, there are alumni who do not wish to see the merger come into effect. John Kwok (’78), a former Board member of the Alumni Association, contacted Teitel and Kreijci with complaints and posted several of his emails on Facebook. In these emails, Kwok cites problems with the dissolution of the Alumni Association, potential accountability issues with the new organization and conflict of interests between the groups involved. Kwok raises the issue of the Principal gaining control of the endowment fund, which could create political and financial abuse. He also mentions that there are no provisions for democratic elections of board directors in the new organization.
According to Kwok, the Friends of Stuyvesant organization has not been as efficient in raising funds as the Alumni Association and the Campaign for Stuyvesant and “should not participate further in these negotiations,” he said. “According to income tax records, the Friends of Stuyvesant has approximately three quarters of a million dollars and has spent the least of any of the three organizations.”
The board of the new foundation will be led by an equal number of directors from each organization, a point of contention for alumni like Kwok. “The bylaws will be written to include equal representation of each group, but as the foundation grows, the board may change as time passes,” Krejci said.
Despite citing concerns regarding the past actions of the Campaign for Stuyvesant, Kwok believes that a merger between the Alumni Association and the Campaign for Stuyvesant would be beneficial, but not necessary. “The time and costs associated in establishing a Stuyvesant Alumni Foundation might have been spent more wisely in ensuring that both the Alumni Association and the Campaign for Stuyvesant become truly democratic alumni organizations [...] and that the savings from not having such a merger would be spent instead on those who truly need it, both Stuyvesant High School and its students” Kwok said.
Representatives from the Campaign for Stuyvesant and the Friends of Stuyvesant organization were unable to be reached for comment.