A Letter From The CEO
Sylvia A. Whitmore
January 31, 2018
Why is it that at the beginning of each new year, we simply cannot believe the previous year has gone by with lightning speed? Sure enough, just as in years past, 2017 literally flew by, and here we are, already a full month into 2018! Despite the speedy passing of time, much was accomplished by our remarkable Board of Directors and amazing staff at the Kenedy Memorial Foundation!
We were blessed to see new milestones reached at The Foundation last year. Enjoying the growth in the markets, the Investment Portfolio reached a new all-time high. This is exciting because our annual grant’s budget is based on a percentage of the previous 36 month average of our financial assets. So obviously, the higher the Portfolio numbers, the more likely that our grant’s budget might increase. Please remember, the Foundation’s income is derived from our 236,000 acre ranch operations and from managing our Investment Portfolio; therefore, an increase in the Portfolio is welcome news!
The improvements to the Kenedy Memorial Foundation ranch continue to progress. We understand the need to continually maintain, upgrade, and indeed, preserve the ranch because it is an incredible asset. It is with a conscious effort that we carefully evaluate new sources of revenue that will allow us to increase income and affirm our commitment to conservation and enhance wildlife habitat. With that in mind, we produced several new sources of water on various pastures, made significant strides on brush work and burned over 43,064 acres which should result in improved pastures. We strive to set controlled fires of between 40,000 to 50,000 acres per year to encourage wildlife population; for weed control; promote better utilization of grasses by livestock which produces better weight gain; and to use less chemicals.
We continued our repairs of several properties including the Museum and KMF Field Office in Sarita. There were more improvements built on the Chandler lease including a new lodge, outbuildings, and landscaping. We also deliberately provided property for sale in Sarita for people to build primary residences. This has really improved an area in Sarita that was previously not well maintained; furthermore, it has provided several first time home buyers the ability to realize the dream of home ownership. We believe our founder, Sarita Kenedy East, would be really proud of these efforts, particularly the ones that help the people of Sarita.
Just as I believed, the first full year as CEO of the Kenedy Memorial Foundation has been extremely rewarding and satisfying. It is my privilege to work with an insightful Board, and the talented and dedicated staff members who come to the office and the ranch every day ready to fulfill the Mission and want to make the future better for those less fortunate. They all “get it”! Once again, we share one of our KMF Staff Value Statements…. “We focus on making a lasting impact, not an impression”. May you and yours enjoy a healthy, happy, and prosperous 2018!
Warmest regards, Sylvia