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t was a joy to see AFSA members

featured at Nationals Park on Sept. 30

and to hear the announcer explain

to the crowd that members of the

Foreign Service protect and serve

America’s people, interests and values all

around the world.

A member of the West Point Alumni

Glee Club, on the baseball field with us to

sing the national anthem, thanked me for

my service. I felt appreciated and proud,

and I hope the 500 members of the FS

community who participated in Foreign

Service Night felt the same way. I would

like to do more of this sort of thing, but

we will need your continued support to

make a success of the ambitious outreach

plans we are developing at AFSA.

AFSA members, especially retirees,

have a long and distinguished record of

generous giving. This is seen most clearly

in the spectacular success of the AFSA

Scholarship Fund, which has grown from

$2 million in 1995 to $8 million today.

With dedicated, effective AFSA staff

support and a clear message about what

the 501(c)(3) nonprofit fund supports—

merit and need-based college scholar-

ships for children of AFSAmembers—the

Scholarship Fund is now on firm footing to

continue to fulfill its mission in perpetuity.

Assuming a

5-percent annual

draw, the fund will

generate approxi-

mately $400,000

each year—more

than enough to

cover the costs of

scholarships AFSA gives to nearly 100

students each year.

With scholarships secure, we now

intend to pivot our fundraising efforts

to the Fund for American Diplomacy,

AFSA’s other 501(c)(3) nonprofit arm, in

support of ongoing and expanding out-

reach efforts to tell the proud story of the

Foreign Service to the American people.

In his column this month, Retiree VP Tom Boyatt urges members facing

required minimum distributions to con-

tribute this year to the Fund for American Diplomacy.

The FAD’s aim is to help build a

domestic constituency for the Foreign

Service so that we have supporters, ide-

ally in all 50 states, prepared to stand up

for us and defend our vitally important

mission. We plan to channel lessons

learned from the success of the Scholar-

ship Fund into making a success of the


The first lesson is that we need dedi-

cated staff and a clear message about

how the funds will be used. In my Octo- ber column, I described forging strategic

partnerships to serve as the foundation

of our outreach efforts to tell our story

across the 50 states.

As we build out that effort, though, it

is clear that what we should say to inner

city high school students about the value

of the Foreign Service is not the same as

what we should say to the Colorado Farm

Bureau or to elite students at George-

town’s School of Foreign Service, or to

military or business audiences.

A key element of the AFSA outreach

effort, therefore, is to curate a library

of speaking materials to help members

explain in concrete terms to a wide range

of audiences why a strong, professional,

nonpartisan, career Foreign Service

matters to them and deserves their full


We will need dedicated staff to build

that library and to coach and prepare

speakers to connect with audiences. And

we will need you to contribute, drawing

on your own experiences—what worked

(and did not work) when you last spoke

to your alma mater, your hometown

Rotary Club, or to a local World Affairs


Other elements of the outreach

strategy include expanded use of a

new edition of AFSA’s hugely success-

ful book,

Inside a U.S. Embassy

, which

has sold more than 120,000 copies. The

revised edition will include new mate-

rial showing how the presence of career

Foreign Service professionals at embas-

sies around the globe benefits Americans

from all walks of life—travelers, business-

people, researchers, missionaries, voters.

With completion of the digitization


The Foreign Service Journal

, those

writing about American diplomacy will

have ready access to primary source

material dating back to 1919 showcasing

the central role of the Foreign Service in

American diplomacy and history.

I will continue to keep you informed

as AFSA’s outreach strategy takes shape

and scores successes. And I will continue

to ask for your support and engagement.

We can do this!


Ambassador Barbara Stephenson is the president of the American Foreign Service Association.

Championing American Diplomacy