Vox read the Stewards Charitable Trust’s 990 forms so you don’t have to

TaxYesterday morning, anonymous tipster outed a few student leaders at Georgetown as members of the Stewards—a storied secret society that used to be exclusively conservative and Catholic. The informant, styling himself “Steward Throat,” also brought attention to the organization’s most recent 990 form, a publicly available annual report that charitable organizations must file yearly listing certain contributions and expenditures.

Reports for the foundation list “Stewards Charitable Trust (Second)” as its full name, lending credibility to the contention that there are more than one society labeling themselves “Stewards.” The organization files as a 4947(a)(1) non-exempt charitable trust, which are for charitable organizations which don’t meet the requirements to file as a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt private foundations or choose not to file as one.

Georgetown alumni have been running the organization since it started filing in 2004. Terence W. McCormick (SFS ’85) was listed as president or director of the society from 2004 to 2006, after which Alexander Henlin (COL ’01) was listed as president. According to the documents, the NSSV Corporation is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization which functions solely as a trustee for the Stewards Charitable Trust. “NSSV” refers to the Stewards’ motto, the Latin phrase Non scholae, sed vitae discimus, which means “Not for school, but for life.” As of this posting, Vox can’t find more information on the NSSV Corporation.

According to the undergraduate leader of the Stewards Sam Schneider (COL ’13), funding for the Stewards Charitable Trust comes from member and alumni donations and are used exclusively for charitable purposes, a fact which the documents support. The foundation has consistently donated a few thousand dollars to the University and related groups every year, over nearly the past ten years. Most of the remaining wealth of the organization is invested in stocks and bonds through Brown Advisory Services.

Read a full rundown of where the Stewards donated their money after the jump.

2004: $28,302 in total assets
• $4,500 to the Richard Gordon Trust to benefit university debate at Georgetown University

2005: $40,091 in total assets
• $500 to GU Intervarsity Christian Fellowship
• $200 to Walter Benson Memorial Entrepreneurship Summit
• $900 to Habitat for Humanity

2006: $57,553 in total assets
• Italian Department: Funding of archival research regarding Cesare Beccaria
• GU Day of HOPE received $400 to subsidize promotional event for students, faculty in connection with community service projects for undergrad students in DC
• Gave Georgetown University $20 to subsidize a student needs survey

2007: $80,747 in total assets
• Davis Performing Arts Center received $4000 for new seating system in undergraduate theatrical performance space

2008: $91,263 in total assets
• Tocqueville Forum: $1000
• Georgetown University Library: $2000 to purchase computers for use in tech center
• English department: $1000 to fund department fellowship for research in English
• Theology Dept: $1000 to fund research fellowship

2009: $70,956 in total assets
• Tocqueville Forum: $2000 for “funding activities of a student and faculty group that promotes the study of Tocqueville works and theories”
• Georgetown Edu-Effort: $2000 for funding a day long program aimed at current students at Georgetown with the goal of allowing them to learn about careers in education

2010: $103,540 in total assets
• Gave Georgetown University library $1100 to purchase HD video for general use at media center
• Gave the Georgetown Academy $871 to permit a 1500 copy press run of student newspaper at Georgetown University

2011: $137,764 in total assets
• Gave Georgetown University library $5,500 for archival activities for Philodemic Society documents
• Donated University $50 with no specification.

2012: $147,966 in total assets
• Gave $5,000 to Georgetown University to permit renovations of Mask and Bauble dramatic society’s facilities.

Additional research by Caitriona Pagni

Photo: Alan Cleaver via Flickr

6 Comments on “Vox read the Stewards Charitable Trust’s 990 forms so you don’t have to

  1. @H*ya

    It’s his son. He’s also tied in if you read the announcement.

  2. Can we talk about something that matters for a second?

    This is…not that much money. Like, at all.

    For the past few years, the GUSA Senate has regularly received funding requests for upwards of $100k for upgrades to Poulton Hall/Mask & Bauble facilities. They’ve had to turn them down. It’s not that the Arts don’t need the money. They totally do. There’s just not enough Student Activities Fee money around. GUSA has to stretch the ~$1 million they allocate annually.

    If Georgetown’s super shadowy secret society can’t even drum up enough money to give Georgetown’s student life (and, really, its basic freaking infrastructure) the support it needs, maybe it’s time for the university administration to get serious and step up their baseline investment (for the first time in more than decade)?

  3. @JustSaying

    But could the “super shadowy secret society” be part of the problem? Separately, the Healey family gave enough to get their name on student center – we don’t know how much, but clearly a lot more than these 990s suggest. So the donors backing the Stewards clearly have some real influence. What are they doing with that influence? Are they pressuring the administration to get serious about investing in student life? Maybe they are! But we don’t know! Because they are, by definition, a secret society! And considering how opaque the administration can be when dealing with student leaders, students SHOULD be curious about the secret society that has the administration’s ear. I just want to know WHAT the Stewards are trying to accomplish. Now that the Stewards are “available to answer any questions at any time,” maybe someone should ask.

  4. Most of these donations look like legitimate charity, but the donation to the Georgetown Academy only two years ago shows that the group hasn’t completely ditched its conservative bonafides, despite the membership of people like Jake Sticka, Justin Pinn and Jack Appelbaum. That to me suggests that the Manuel Miranda-type alums are still using the Stewards to covertly influence campus life, which is unacceptable.

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