Managing Our Members’ Trust

Since the founding of this organization in 1947, the standards of hard work and perseverance emphasized in Horatio Alger, Jr.’s, 19th-century novels exemplify the principles of American and International Horatio Alger Members. Those values have inspired generations to achieve the American Dream despite adversities and hardships. Through their keen interest and support, Members generously invest their time, talent, treasure and trust in its mission to help deserving young people.

Association staff members, in partnership and under the direction of the Executive Committee and Board of Directors, coordinate activities and services for Members and implement educational programs. That charge is taken very seriously. Staff is fully aware that Association Members have high expectations for themselves and for the programs in which they invest their energy and resources.

As the “best of the best” in their professions and as leaders in demand for their expertise, it is especially admirable that our Members choose to do more than simply support Horatio Alger educational programs financially. Their contributions extend to giving of their time to our Scholars, their talents to the policy directions for the Association and their trust by investing in the lives of low-income youth. Since 1984, more than $100 million in scholarships have been generously awarded to more than 20,000 young people. That is a significant amount to entrust to the work of the Association, and managing that commitment on behalf of our Members is our most important responsibility.

Trust is earned over time. It is built upon positive experiences and confidence that the right course has been charted to achieve goals. The Board of Directors is committed to ensuring that the ideals and aspirations of the Association are worthy of engaging the time and respect of its Members, earning their lifetime support and trust.

We manage our Members’ trust by making certain that our programs and services are effective and efficient. A large majority of our resources are devoted to direct services and programs. Charity Navigator, a nonprofit “watchdog” group, has given the Horatio Alger Association its coveted Four Star Award for sound fiscal management. Measures of our effectiveness are also indicated in the graduation rate of our Scholars, which far exceeds the national average. Our research shows that 76 percent of our Scholars complete their degrees contrasted to 23 percent of students with similar family incomes nationally. Despite the challenges they have experienced, Horatio Alger Scholars have solid academic records, perform community service and demonstrate potential for future success. If students do not complete their college degrees due to extraordinary economic, health or family hardships, Members have created a reinstatement fund, which enables Scholars to return to school when they are ready. The Association administers scholarships exceeding $8 million annually and provides educational programs and services for Members and Scholars. This requires the active engagement of a wide range of talented people, including:

  • Members and Life Partners
    First and foremost, our Members and Life Partners provide countless hours of volunteer time through the committees of the Board of Directors, including the Executive, Scholarship, Awards, Investment and Nominating committees. These women and men are committed to leading the Association wisely and effectively. The Board of Directors also charts a course for the future of the Association through long-range planning and the activities of the Strategic Directions Committee. Members have established an endowment fund to ensure the perpetuation of the Association’s mission with an endowment campaign goal of $250 million. Members serve as role models for the Scholars by participating in special sessions during the annual National Scholars Conference, Alumni Summits and Association events. In addition to sharing their expertise and insights, the Members encourage the Scholars to use every resource available to achieve success in college and life beyond.
  • Association Headquarters Staff
    The Association’s headquarters’ team in Alexandria, Virginia, manages services for Members and educational programs for Scholars. The staff administers more than 70 scholarship programs, including national programs at the undergraduate and graduate levels, state scholarship programs in all 50 states and the District of Columbia and scholarship programs across Canada. Staff members work one on one with thousands of scholarship recipients to provide guidance and to ensure that they receive the maximum college financial aid. Scholars can also use the services of a 24-hour support and referral line for immediate assistance in a crisis and longer-term counseling referrals. The Horatio Alger staff plans programs, including activities for the Horatio Alger Awards, Membership and Board of Directors meetings, National Scholars Conferences, and for the Alumni Association. Staff members also direct educational research and produce publications used by Members, Scholars, educators and nonprofit organizations across the nation.
  • Volunteers
    Complementing the staff is a large group of highly committed volunteers who bring expertise from their leadership roles in secondary and higher education, as well as alumni volunteers who have completed their education and are engaged in careers. These volunteers serve as field directors in every state, participate in the scholarship selection process, work at the annual National Scholars Conference and Awards Activities and serve on advisory committees to ensure that the Association’s programs are meeting the needs of today’s young people.

Members, Life Partners, staff members, volunteers and consultants share a commitment to the mission and vision of the Horatio Alger Association as a responsibility and opportunity to extend the legacy established by the Association’s founders and to contribute to society. We welcome being held to high standards of accountability. We are grateful to everyone who participates in advancing the values and mission of the Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans each year. Thank you for your deep and abiding commitment to the Horatio Alger Association.