Looking Back at 2014 and Ahead to 2015

Looking Back: The Past Year

2014 was the most active and productive year for our Foundation since its founding in 2010. When the year began, we had received less than $450,000 in donations, most of it from KWMF’s officers, including more than $260,000 from Treasurer Donald F. Reid and over $110,000 from Vice President Man J. Kim. As of this date, we have raised approximately $2.1 million. Once the pending $1 million grant from the Korean Government is confirmed and received, we will have raised at least $3.1 million. That will leave us still shy of – but within striking distance of – our target of $3.48 million. 2014 has been a very successful fundraising year for KWMF.
If you have been considering making a donation but have been holding back for some reason, now is the time we need you to step forward. If you have already donated, please consider making another donation. Here are some of the highlights of 2014:

 January 17: At a ceremony at the Korean Consulate General in San Francisco, KWMF Secretary and Korean War veteran John Stevens received a $150,000 donation from Samsung Semiconductor President Charlie Young Chang Bae. Consul General Han Dong-man hosted and presided at the ceremony.

donation ceremony

From L: Han Dong-man, Consul General, Republic of Korea, San Francisco; John Stevens, Secretary, Korean War Memorial Foundation; Charlie Young Chang Bae, President, Samsung Semiconductor; and Shawn Lee, Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, Samsung Semiconductor

March 14: We received a donation by mail from the S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation. The Bechtel people have requested that we keep the amount confidential, but the Bechtel grant remains our largest single donation to date.

April 10: At a ceremony at the Korean Consulate General in San Francisco, Chevron Corporation presented KWMF with a donation of $25,000. The donation check was presented by Chevron Vice President Shariq Yosufzai to KWMF Treasurer and Korean War veteran Donald F. Reid. Consul General Han Dong-man hosted and presided at the ceremony.

donors and KWMF officers

KWMF Treasurer Don Reid accepts the donation from Chevron Vice President Shariq Yosufzai as Consul General Han, KWMF Secretary John Stevens, and two Chevron executives look on

May 18: KWMF’s officers attended a fundraiser organized by Steve and Maria Kahng at their Los Altos Hills home. The event generated about $175,000 in donations for the Memorial, $100,000 of it from the Kahngs themselves.

Maria and Stephen Kahng

Generous Philanthropists Maria and Steve Kahng

June 23: In a formal ceremony at San Francisco City Hall, Mayor Edwin M. Lee presented KWMF’s officers with a formal Proclamation announcing that June 25, 2014 would be “Korean War Memorial Day in San Francisco.”

participants with proclamation

Front, L to R: KWMF President, former U.S. Congressman, and Korean War vet Pete McCloskey, Mayor Edwin M. Lee, and Korean Consul General Han Dong-man.
2nd Row, L to R: Seoul-San Francisco Sister City Committee President Hagen Choi, KWMF Vice President and San Francisco restaurateur Man J. Kim, KWMF Secretary and Korean War vet John Stevens, and KWMF Treasurer and Korean War vet Don Reid. Photo by Tom Graves

June 25: KWMF Vice President Man J. Kim hosted the 10th Annual Korean War Veterans Appreciation Dinner at his Golden Gate Grill Restaurant in San Francisco. Thanks to Man J.’s generosity, top-notch food, wine, and entertainment were offered free of charge to all Korean War veterans and their guests. Several hundred people attended the gala event.

eating dinner

Korean War Veterans Appreciation Dinner

July 25: At a ceremony at the Korean Consulate General in San Francisco, KWMF Treasurer Don Reid received a $250,000 donation confirmation letter from Susan Koret of the Koret Foundation.

donation ceremony

From left: Gerard Parker, Executive Director, KWMF; Man J. Kim, Vice President, KWMF; Susan Koret, Chair, Koret Foundation; Donald Reid, Treasurer, KWMF; and Han Dong-man, Consul General of the Republic of Korea, San Francisco

August 13: Director General Lee Kyung Geun of Korea’s Ministry of Patriots and Veterans Affairs (MPVA) in Seoul paid a visit to the Memorial site. MPVA is the ministry that has proposed a $1 million grant to our Memorial. The Director General was very pleased with the location.

visitors at site

Director-General Lee (gesturing) speaks with Man J. Kim (arms folded), as Song Mi Ran, Gerard Parker, Lee Sang Ryol, and Jung Kwan Hoe listen

August 26: Four senior cadets from the Korean Military Academy visited the Memorial site, after which KWMF’s officers hosted a lunch for them at the Marines’ Memorial Club. The cadets were eager to meet with Korean War vets. They discussed the war with John Stevens and Don Reid, and presented the veterans with gifts. The cadets expressed their gratitude, and later they also made generous donations.

John and cadets

KWMF Secretary John Stevens with the Korean Military Academy cadets at the Marines’ Memorial Club, San Francisco

September 14: 81-year-old Marine Korean War veteran Wallace “Wally” Stewart participated in the annual Alcatraz Swim organized by the South End Rowing Club, together with his grandson Tom Farrar and Tom’s friend Nick Abramczyk. He promoted his participation as a fundraiser for the Memorial. This resulted in extensive media coverage not only of Wally, but of our Memorial and its need for funding, and generated several thousand dollars in donations.

the three swimmers with medals

Wally Stewart, his grandson Tom Farrar, and friend Nick Abramczyk with their newly-earned medals

Denny Weisgerber speaking

Denny Weisgerber speaking to the veterans’ group

September 18: KWMF held its annual Korean War Veterans Luncheon at the Marines’ Memorial Club, free for all vets and their guests. Gunnery Sergeant Denny Weisgerber, USMC, was the featured speaker and gave an emotional recounting of his combat experience at “The Hook” that resulted in the loss of a leg and a Navy Cross for valor. The event was well-attended and resulted in some donations to the Memorial.

October 18: Ensemble Ari, a group of Korean classical musicians living in the Bay Area, presented a benefit concert for KWMF at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church in San Francisco. The concert included a piece titled “Remembrance,” written by Jean Ahn, Director and Founder of Ensemble Ari, in honor of the Korean War Memorial and veterans. KWMF Vice President Man J. Kim generously provided free refreshments for all the attendees.

Ensemble Ari performing “Remembrance” for the Korean War Memorial

Ensemble Ari performing “Remembrance” for the Korean War Memorial

Looking Ahead: The Coming Year

We’ve come a long way, but our task is far from over. Our primary challenges in 2015 will be as follows:

  • Finish the Fundraising:  We need to raise the remaining funds required to complete the Memorial and provide for long-term maintenance. This is going to take a concerted effort on the part of all of us, because the prevailing wisdom among fundraising professionals is that the final funds are historically the most difficult to raise. This has proven to be the case for KWMF: the level of donations has fallen off significantly in recent weeks. In addition, we seem to be running out of corporations and foundations, both here and in Korea, that would even consider making a donation for a Memorial to this so-called Forgotten War. In dozens of instances, our requests for donations have been met with apathy or indifference, and all too often simply ignored.
  • Accelerate the Timetable: We need to continue to do everything we can, within reason, to speed up the construction schedule for the Memorial.
  • Stage a High-Profile June 25 Groundbreaking Ceremony: We need to make a strong public statement of our commitment to our donors and to all Korean War veterans living and dead. Our task is to ensure that this ceremony accomplishes that objective. We need to make this ceremony a truly special event, with the highest possible level of distinguished speakers and guests from the U.S. and the Korean Governments, and the highest level of media coverage, both local, national, and international. We all need to work together from January through June to make this happen.
  • Complete and Open the Korean War Memorial at the Earliest Possible Date: That is our ultimate objective, and we won’t stop until we’ve completed our mission.
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