The White House Correspondents’ Association (WHCA) has long-cited its scholarships for aspiring journalists to justify the tax-exempt charitable status of its blow-out, televised annual dinner, but only a small fraction of the IRS-designated 501(c)(3) organization’s fundraising is awarded to students.
Last year, just 13.4 percent of the White House Correspondents’ Dinner’s revenue went to scholarships. As Columbia Journalism Review‘s Karen K. Ho reported:
[T]he dinner cost $553,719 to put on, and generated $806,250 in ticket sales and donations. (A detailed accounting of the 2018 event isn’t yet available.) Less than half of the contributions—$108,000—went to 25 scholarships; the rest went to general operating expenses like the organization’s searchable pool report archive or programming like panels with former White House secretaries. And the WHCA as a whole netted just over $29,000 for the fiscal year ending in October 2017
$452,817 was spent on the venue and food, $24,191 on host Hasan Minhaj and other entertainment, and $76,711 for the percent of the executive director’s salary spent working on the dinner, as well as payments to vendors and event staff for a total of $553,719.
In 2016, it was even worse. The Washington Post reported the annual dinner was “nearly the entire source of [the association’s] annual revenue of around $600,000.” That year, the association awarded “about $77,500 to 18 students,” Money‘s Kaitlin Mulhere reported. “That’s small change compared to the incredible amount of money spent on and around what’s been dubbed D.C.’s Nerd Prom,” she added.
At just 12.9 percent of its estimated revenue, the WHCA’s 2016 scholarship payout was down from the 21.5 percent spent in 2014, which was also down from 26 percent in 2013 and nearly 60 percent in 2009, according to the Washingtonian.
In a statement on its website, the WHCA says it will give $134,500 to students this year. So far, 26 recipients have received $112,000. While additional details about the WHCA’s 2018 finances are, for now, unavailable, some reports estimate attendance this year was around 3,000. At $300 a seat, and thus, an approximate revenue of $900,000, an estimate for the association’s scholarship payout in 2018 would be roughly 15 percent.
Read the rest at: WHCA