America's diplomats have always faced dangers, and many have given their lives in service to their country. In recent times, these dangers have increased, as diplomats have become prime targets for terrorists and as more and more of them have been deployed in war zones and unstable countries.
Fundraising Drive for Children of Fallen Diplomats
Washington, D.C. (June 24, 2008)-The Federal Employee Education and Assistance Fund (FEEA) launched a two-month-long summer drive today to fund full-tuition scholarships for the children of diplomats slain in terrorist attacks. At a ceremony held at the Department of State, the American Foreign Service Association (AFSA), with a matching grant from FEEA, kicked off the drive with a combined gift of $75,000.
Out of respect for the ultimate sacrifice made by fallen Americans, FEEA started the Diplomatic Fund after the Nairobi, Kenya, and Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, Embassy bombings in 1998 to provide full college scholarships to children who lost a diplomatic parent to terrorism. The goal was to contribute in a small way to the dreams these parents had for their children.
Milton Green, who was present at the launch and is still employed by the State Department, lost his wife Barbara and daughter Kristen in the Islamabad, Pakistan, bombing in 2002. His 16-year-old son Zach is eligible for a scholarship. Green said, After Barbara and Kristen were killed, I brought Zach back to the States, and of course we got many calls from reporters. As you can imagine, the last thing I was thinking about at the time was the importance of sharing our story with people who wanted to help Zach. Like any parent, I just wanted to protect my son.
Nearly a decade after its creation, more State Department families have lost loved ones, and the fund is unable to meet demand. This past spring, the FEEA Board made a promise to match dollar-for-dollar every gift made to the fund, up to the $750,000 needed to provide full scholarships to the seven students who are eligible today.
FEEA's goal is to grant full-tuition scholarships to each of the eligible students, including those who leave for college this fall, but the charity cannot make this promise to one student unless it can make it to all. Failure to meet the fundraising goal could delay college-bound students from receiving full-tuition funding for a semester or more.
Steve Bauer, executive director of FEEA, said, In the wake of 9/11 and the Oklahoma City bombings, FEEA quickly raised the funds we needed to provide full scholarships for the children of the fallen. Many were donations of just $50 or $100-whatever could be spared at the time. Every gift counts, and in this case, it counts twice.
AFSA's donation of $37,500, combined with FEEA's matching gift, increased the fund balance to approximately $325,000, which is $425,000 short of our $750,000 goal. Because of the FEEA Board's matching pledge, we are seeking just $212,500 in private, unrestricted donations to meet this goal.
I really hope that all Americans, but particularly active and retired Foreign Service members, will join AFSA in donating to this extraordinarily worthy cause, said AFSA President John Naland, who presented AFSA's check at the ceremony. These fallen diplomats are truly American heroes in a war that has no borders. Their children have lost a parent under uniquely tragic circumstances. Those children should not also lose the opportunity to attend the college of their choice."
Upon reaching the $750,000 fundraising goal, FEEA hopes to extend eligibility to children who lose a diplomatic parent to terrorist acts in the future. Tragically, such an ongoing fund will likely be needed.
Donations may be made by credit card online at www.FEEA.org or by sending a check made out to FEEA-Fallen Diplomats to FEEA, 8441 W. Bowles Ave, Suite 200, Littleton, CO 80123-9501.