Executive Director’s Report for 4th Annual KWMF Members’ Meeting, February 18, 2016
1. Looking Back: Major Developments of 2015
The following are some of the significant events of 2015. KWMF’s officers, Board members, and staff; Consul General Han and his staff; the Presidio Trust (PT) management and design team; and many of our donors, colleagues, and friends in the media all contributed to this highly successful year for our Foundation.
February 19: The PT Board of Directors voted to approve the design and location of the Memorial.
February 20: Pete McCloskey resigned as KWMF President and Chairman of the Board, citing health concerns and the difficulty of traveling the distance from his farm in Rumsey, California to San Francisco for frequent meetings.
March 15: Eleanor Zapanta was hired as KWMF’s Office Manager. Eleanor quickly proved to be a most productive and welcome member of the team.
March 20: The KWMF Board of Directors unanimously voted to elect Quentin Kopp as the new President and Chairman of the Board.
March 24: Quentin succeeded in getting KWMF mentioned on “The O’Reilly Factor,” Bill O’Reilly’s Fox TV show. Bill urged people to donate and showed our website address full-screen. Within minutes of this nationwide plug, we had received several thousand dollars in donations from all over the country, most from small donors who were learning of KWMF for the first time. Perhaps more importantly, this was our first national media coverage.
April 1: KWMF Board member emeritus Eddie LeBaron, Marine veteran of the Korean War and NFL star quarterback, passed away.
May 11: A delegation of Korean lawmakers representing the Korea-U.S. Inter-Parliamentary Council, met with KWMF officers and the Consular staff at the Memorial site.
May 18: After protracted delays, the Cooperative Agreement between KWMF and the PT was finally signed by Quentin Kopp and Craig Middleton, then-Executive Director of the PT. An addendum to the Agreement, Project Statement #1 (Design & Engineering), was also signed on this date. Another addendum, titled Project Statement #2 (Construction), was still pending as of this date. The signing of Project Statement #2 will trigger the beginning of construction.
May 26: With John Stevens and Don Reid, Quentin Kopp presented Craig Middleton with a $358,000 check. This was the initial transfer of funds for the design and construction costs.
June 23: The May-June, 2015 KWMF Newsletter went out, containing an invitation to the July 11 Groundbreaking Ceremony as well as the program. This was accompanied by a mailing and emailing of invitations with programs to our database. The newsletter also included the
beginning of the promotional campaign for the Opportunity Drawing lottery for Virgin America tickets and other prizes.
July 11: The Groundbreaking Ceremony was held on the Memorial site, attracting more than 550 Korean War veterans, their families, donors, and other supporters. Speakers included former Secretary of State George Shultz, Korean National Assembly Member Kim Jung-hoon, PT Chair Nancy Bechtle, Korean Consul General Han Dong-man, San Francisco Mayor Edwin Lee, Korean War Veterans Association 1st Vice President Warren Wiedhahn, and other dignitaries, including all of KWMF’s officers. The high point of the ceremony came when Consul General Han presented Quentin with a check for $1 million, the long-anticipated grant from the Government of the Republic of Korea.
The event generated extensive media attention, including immediate coverage on ABC7 TV, CBS5 TV, KCBS Radio, KEMS TV (Korean language), the San Francisco Chronicle and the San Francisco Examiner, and a number of Korean-language publications. Subsequent articles with photos ran in Cathay Dispatch, the magazine of American Legion Cathay Post 384, and California Legionnaire, the American Legion’s California department publication. All the media coverage, as well as a video of the entire ceremony and a montage of all the photos taken by eminent photographer Tom Graves, have been posted on the “News” page of our website.
July 11: Following the Groundbreaking Ceremony, Man J. Kim hosted a Korean War Veterans’ Appreciation Luncheon at his Golden Gate Grill. This event has been an annual dinner every June 25 for the past eleven years. It was changed to a July 11 luncheon to coincide with the Groundbreaking Ceremony. The event, which is always free of charge to all Korean War veterans and their spouses or guests, included good food and wine and live music.
September 17: The Marines’ Memorial Club and KWMF hosted their annual Korean War Veterans’ Luncheon at the Club. More than 200 veterans and other guests attended. Consul General Han presented Ambassador for Peace medals to a number of veterans. The guest speaker was Joanna Kim-Selby, a KWMF donor and selfless supporter of the Bay Area’s elderly Korean-American community. She recounted her experiences as a young girl fleeing the Communists during the war. Following her presentation, John Stevens presented her with a plaque.
September 22: A second group of Korean lawmakers visited the Memorial site and met with KWMF’s officers as well as the Consul General and his staff. The group, all members of the National Assembly, were led by Assemblywoman Na Kyung-wan, one of the most prominent political figures in the Republic of Korea Government. Quentin welcomed the group, gave them a briefing, and thanked them for their Government’s generosity.
October 28: Project Statement #2 (Construction), the second addendum to the KWMF-PT Cooperative Agreement, was signed by Quentin and Francene Gonek, the PT’s Chief Business Officer. This now paves the way for the commencement of major construction of the Memorial.
November 10: In a brief ceremony at the PT offices, Quentin, John, and Don presented Michael Boland, acting Executive Director, with a check for $1,602,660, the remaining balance due for all design and construction costs. Upon completion of construction of the Memorial, our final payment to the PT, a $454,847 maintenance endowment, will be due.
November 11: On Veterans’ Day at the Golden Gate Grill, KWMF held the Opportunity Drawing for the Virgin America tickets and other prizes, and announced the winners.
December 1: After a series of delays on the part of the PT, construction work finally began on the Memorial site. 1,100 cubic yards of fill were trucked in and shaped into an elevated plateau upon which the Memorial wall will stand. Concurrently, in Minnesota at the Coldspring Stone Company, the work of cutting, shaping, and engraving the black granite wall panels began.
December 31 Summary: By the end of 2015, KWMF had succeeded in raising nearly $3.4 million in funds – enough for all design and construction costs as well as the long-term maintenance endowment, with possibly enough left over to cover operating expenses through the end of 2016. December 31 also marked the anniversary of two full years of the KWMF Newsletter and website. Both of these have proven to be invaluable and cost-effective communications tools. They help us get our message out to our current donor base as well as to new prospects, and to keep everyone informed about our plans, achievements, goals, and needs.
2. Looking Ahead: Action Pending in 2016
In the coming months we will be confronted with a very busy workload and a number of challenges, including the following:
A. The Construction Schedule: For at least a year now, KWMF has been pressing the PT to provide us with a reliable construction schedule. At a meeting with the PT on February 2, KWMF’s officers met Rick Flaster, Project Manager for Plant Construction, Inc., the PT-appointed lead contractor for the project. Rick cautioned us that we might have to wait until June for completion of the project, and he suggested that we be conservative and plan our Opening Ceremony for July. He cited the time required to identify and appoint subcontractors, as well as the vagaries of El Niño weather, as reasons for the delay. Flaster also promised to get us a detailed construction schedule by February 26 and possibly earlier.
B. East Sea and Dokdo Island: The ROK Government first requested that East Sea and Dokdo island be identified as such on the Memorial two years ago. At that time, KWMF said that we would do our best to comply, but that the PT would have the final say. This issue, however, has not yet been fully resolved. The PT has confirmed that the map of the Korean Peninsula on the Memorial wall will identify the East Sea as such. However, it appears that they may soon officially deny our request that Dokdo Island be identified on the wall as well. Their reasoning, as I understand it, is that the U.S. Government takes no official position on the ownership and name dispute between the ROK and Japan; that Dokdo played no role whatsoever in the Korean War; and that given the scale of the map, tiny Dokdo would not even be visible anyway.
C. Jangjin vs. Chosin: The ROK Government’s request that Chosin be identified wherever it appears as Jangjin is a much more recent issue: it was first conveyed to us last month. So far, it has met with considerable resistance from Marines and others, particularly those who fought at Chosin. The ROK wants Jangjin because Chosin is a Japanese word. Americans who fought in Korea use Chosin because all they had at the time were Japanese maps. We are awaiting the PT’s official decision on this issue now. The PT seems to be leaning toward a compromise:
Jangjin “Chosin” Reservoir. So this issue, too, is as yet unresolved. Incidentally, I’ve heard that the people behind the Chosin Memorial at Quantico, who are also being pressured by the ROK
Government, are leaning toward Chosin (Jangjin). And Chosin is the common term used at nearly every, if not every, Korean War memorial in the U.S.
D. Tiles and Plaques: We have sold the maximum allowable number of 4 by 8 inch tiles and 12 by 16 inch bronze plaques. The PT requested all the tile and plaque text; we have provided it; and they are in the process of reviewing it for approval of its appropriateness. Once they get back to us with their decision, and once the KWMF Board approves the appointment of the tile and plaque vendors, we can place the order. If the PT delays getting back to us soon, it could cause the delivery of the tiles and plaques to the memorial site to be late, and possibly even delay the completion of the Memorial.
E. KWMF Office Relocation: Given the recent court decision regarding veterans’ organizations and the San Francisco War Memorial Building, it is now fairly certain that we will be eligible for free office space there. Our current lease for the KWMF office at 1806 Belles Street in the Presidio expires May 31, and must be renewed prior to that date. If the City of San Francisco does not appeal the judge’s decision, the timing might be ideal for us to relocate. If there is an appeal, we may have to wait. I intend to see if we can continue to occupy 1806 Belles on a month-to-month basis without renewing our annual lease, to give us more flexibility for the pending move.
Relocation to the War Memorial Building will save us the $7,500 per annum in office rent that we now pay. The relocation will not be free or easy, however. We will need to move all the office furniture and equipment to the new location and get it set up and operating quickly and efficiently. This is particularly important because the move will take place in the middle of our labor-intensive preparations for the Opening Ceremony — a demanding workload for our small staff. We will need to pay for the installation of new phone and Internet connections. We will need to record the change of address on our legal and tax records, and pay to have it changed wherever it appears on our website, print materials, and business cards.
F. July 23 — Korean War Memorial Opening Ceremony: We have tentatively selected Saturday, July 23 as the most viable date for the ceremony. Once we make this date official, we will need to get invitation letters out as soon as possible to all U.S. and Korean political leaders and other dignitaries. And we’ll need to begin planning the program and logistics right away.
G. KWMF Continuing Education Program: John and Don are now working on the KWMF Continuing Education Program, in cooperation with Quentin’s contacts at the San Francisco Unified School District and with the active support of the Korean War Veterans Association’s education program, The Association’s leaders are providing us with lesson plans and other teaching materials from their own successful “Tell America” program. Our program will require a separate budget as well as additional fundraising. Its mission is to educate Bay Area youth in both private and public schools about the root causes of the Korean War, the struggle itself, the sacrifices made by us and our allies, the outcome, and the lessons learned.
H. Beyond July 23 — Future Mission and Organization of KWMF: Very soon, we will need to start planning for the future of KWMF after the Memorial is completed and open to the public. We need to define the new mission, decide on minimal staffing requirements, prepare a new budget to meet the needs of the new mission, and begin a new fundraising campaign to cover the costs of the education program as well as operating expenses. I welcome any questions or comments.
February 18, 2016