I have been remiss on providing timely updates through this channel. While information sharing here has been sparse, we have nonetheless been very busy. I am happy to share some of the great things that have been happening since my last update and I commit to more frequent updates moving forward.
I have now been at the helm of the First Command Educational Foundation for just over a year. In this time, we have completed an exhaustive review of our internal business practices and organization. You may have noticed some of the organizational changes, staff promotions, refreshed titles and business processes we put into place. These changes were implemented to reflect a more efficient, effective, and relevant way of providing our critical programs. We will continue to assess our business processes to employ a more streamlined and proactive model which, in turn, will help us create new, relevant content addressing the real-time financial challenges facing our military, veterans, federal service, community heroes, and their families.
Concurrently, our team and network of volunteers have been busy delivering our programs. Since last July, we have:
- Hosted 94 educational events.
- Reached 4,388 participants through our programs.
- Awarded $170,050 in scholarships.
- Migrated approximately 85% of our Take Command® courses to a new Learning Management System.
- Formalized new partnerships with great organizations such as the Non Commissioned Officers Association (NCOA), Orion Military Scholarships, the Tampa Chapter of the Miliary Officers Association of America (MOAA) and we anticipate new partnerships in the coming months.
2023 is the 40th Anniversary of First Command Educational Foundation. We took time to celebrate this milestone with a 1980s themed ice cream party for our key supporters. We also hosted our 3rd annual Clay Shoot in April raising critical money for our Education Programs and will be hosting our 16th annual “Chip-In for Education” Gold Classic at the incredible Bear Creek Golf Club adjacent to DFW International Airport on September 8, 2023. Sponsorships, team openings, volunteer opportunities, and a great day of fun is in store for you if you can support us (www.fcef.com/golf for more information).
Lastly, in late July we launched a capital fundraising campaign to develop a mobile application for our flagship Take Command® course. This app will provide an enhanced, intuitive user experience and appeal to a wider demographic of users and will allow for further innovation of additional course material, badging and “gamification,” and presents an opportunity to expand additional lessons to reach new audiences. The development costs of this app are estimated at $39,600 with annual operating costs estimated at $58,400. You can find additional information and donate to this great effort by visiting https://firstcommand.benevity.org/community/fundraiser/201.
I welcome your feedback, thoughts, or suggestions; please feel free to reach out to us anytime. In the meantime, please follow us on all social media platforms, share our story, engage with us, and if you are able, consider donating to directly support the programs we offer. With the current economic environment, the importance of the First Command Educational Foundation mission and the programs we deliver are vital now more than ever. We need all the support we can get. Can we count on you to partner with us?
Tom Kuhar, President
First Command Educational Foundation
Commander, US Coast Guard (retired)