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I hope everyone is enjoying his or her summer. It’s another sweltering summer day here in the south, which means I’ll enjoy sitting in my cool office as I write my contribution to the newsletter. Contribution is an appropriate word as I’m devoting my column this month to BEA’s finances.

BEA operates as a 501(C)(3) non-profit organization. BEA’s budget is based on the calendar year.  In 2015, the board of directors approved posting an annual summary of BEA’s financials on the BEA website. The summaries are posted each summer, after completion of the annual audit by our outside auditor, Sarfino and Rhoades. The plan is to keep financial summaries for the past three years available on the website.

While BEA employs an accountant to assist in the management of our record keeping, the board of directors recognizes that the BEA staff, particularly our executive director, keeps a close eye on the organization’s finances.

The FY2016 financial report has been posted to the BEA website here. As a side note, Heather Birks presents a brief BEA financial summary as part of her executive director’s report at the convention collective district meeting session annually.

You will notice that BEA ended FY2016 with a loss of just over $6,000 in net ordinary income. While we try to avoid ending any year in the red, this loss is offset by more than $17,000 in excess revenues for FY2015. Additionally, total assets—including restricted and unrestricted endowments reserved for scholarships and operating reserves—rose for the eighth straight year in 2016, bringing total assets to more than $1.5 million. Upon completion of the 2016 audit, our auditors characterized the organization as “healthy, liquid & stable.”

In regards to investments, the executive director, secretary-treasurer and finance committee are charged with working together to insure investments are handled in a safe and secure manner, particularly with respect to limiting the exposure of BEA to unnecessary loss. To that end, in November 2014 the board of directors approved an investment policy statement to guide future investment decisions. Implementation of this policy successfully sheltered BEA’s investments from losses during the stock market downturn of 2015.

Under the leadership of recent BEA presidents—most notably John Allen Hendricks and Augie Grant—the board of directors has been working to actively secure BEA’s long-term financial health while at the same time increasing member benefits. The addition of endowed funds to support the Kenneth Harwood Dissertation Award, Pete Orlik Scholarship and Leibner Cooper Grant for Creative Productions are examples of how this strategy is paying off.

Our most recent endowed program—the Leibner Cooper Grant for Creative Productions on the History of Media—will provide support to a faculty member who is producing a documentary, news story, multimedia project or sports production focused on historical issues, figures and/or events related to media.  Grant recipients will receive $2,500 and some travel support to be recognized at the LABF Giants of Broadcasting Luncheon in New York City and at BEA’s annual awards ceremony in Las Vegas. Application guidelines will be announced in August, and submissions will be accepted from November 15 – January 15.

The leadership of BEA is committed to responsible management of BEA’s resources. We are constantly looking for financial benefactors that can work in conjunction with BEA’s core mission.  If you or someone you know might have the financial resources and desire to enhance the organization, there are a number of ways you can help—use the “Donate” link on the BEA website, consider making BEA a part of your estate planning, or contact me directly about your ideas. Together we can keep BEA healthy, liquid & stable.

Michael Bruce
President, BEA Board of Directors
Associate Professor, Sports Broadcasting | The University of Alabama