The Belgian American Educational Foundation (1920)

On January 9, 1920, the Belgian American Educational Foundation (B.A.E.F.) was established, and incorporated on January 16, 1920 under the laws of the State of Delaware. The first meeting of the Members and Directors was held on May 3, 1920, at which time the By-laws of the Foundation were adopted. The Belgian American Educational Foundation was then incorporated under the name of C.R.B. Educational Foundation.
A note on the origin of the Foundation, appended to the Foundation's annual report of 1920, states:
"The creation of the Foundation resulted from an agreement between the Belgian Government and Mr. Hoover, Chairman of the Commission for Relief in Belgium, as to the disposition of the balances remaining in the hands of the Commission after five years of relief work.."
Indeed the establishment of the Belgian American Educational Foundation in January 1920 was an endpoint and a beginning. The Belgian American Educational Foundation became the heir of the Commission for Relief in Belgium as it rose out of a small portion of the funds remaining in the treasury of the Commission after World War I.

There was never any dispute in Hoover 's mind that the balances of the Commission for Relief in Belgium were the property of the Belgian people. One could only argue about the manner in which to return these funds to the Belgian public. Herbert Hoover had held informal discussions about this matter with the Belgian Government, the Comité National and other representatives of Belgium. At a meeting in August 1919 in Brussels where Mr. Herbert Hoover, the Belgian Premier Delacroix, Mr. Emile Francqui and other Ministers were present, the Premier, speaking on behalf of the Belgian Government requested that Mr. Hoover himself determine the disposition of the balances.

Herbert Clark Hoover, Chairman of the Comission for relief in belgium, Founder of the Belgian American Educational Foundation

Mr. Hoover suggested that
"no more democratic service could be rendered to the Belgian people than that these funds should be applied to the extension of education in Belgium among all classes of the population, especially among those of limited means". He suggested that "these aims might best be accomplished by a) aiding directly the universities and the technical schools of Belgium, b) initiating such measures as would enable the sons and daughters of those without means to undertake the expenses of such higher training, c) support of institutions devoted to the advancement of child welfare, d) promotion of good will between the two nations".

As this proposal met with the approval of the Belgians present, the representatives of the Belgian Universities joined the conference.
To meet the first aim it was decided to proceed immediately with payment of 95,000,000 BEF to the Universities of Brussels, Leuven-Louvain, Ghent and Liège, as well as the School of Mines and Metallurgy at Mons and the Colonial School at Antwerp.
To meet the second aim it was decided that further sums, derived from the liquidation of the relief organizations, be established in the form of a permanent foundation, the income from which should be expended to aid young Belgians to obtain university training and to aid by appropriate means the progress of science in Belgium.

The Directors of the Commission for Relief in Belgium, pursuant to aim
a) authorized the payment of 95 million francs to the four Universities and two technical schools, and pursuant to aim
b) took legal action to organize the trust that would manage the endowment funds of a single Foundation in Belgium and the United States. Following an exchange of letters and cables between Mr. Herbert Hoover representing the Commission for Relief in Belgium and Mr. Emile Francqui, representing the Belgian Ministry and the Comité National, it was decided to divide the permanent trust into two co-operating Foundations, one in America and another in Belgium. Thus, the Belgian American Educational Foundation would only be a small part of that final settlement as is clear from the famous letter of December 10, 1919 from Herbert Hoover to Léon Delacroix, the Belgian Prime Minister. To quote: "a certain percentage of funds would be used to create an American and a Belgian Foundation and part of the income of these bodies would be applied to enable young men and women without means to secure graduate education; and a certain percentage would be divided among the four universities of Belgium with smaller amounts to the Mons Technical Institute and to the Colonial School".

The "American Foundation" was incorporated on January 16, 1920 in the State of Delaware as the C.R.B. Educational Foundation,Inc.
The "Belgian Foundation" was incorporated on July 6, 1920 by Act of the Belgian Parliament as the Fondation Universitaire - Universitaire Stichting.
The Belgian American Educational Foundation became also the successor of the Commission for Relief of Belgium to administer the non-governmental balances remaining in the hands of the Commission. B.A.E.F. was thus the channel for distribution of further funds to Belgian Universities and Foundations. It is important to realize that these Belgian institutions received funds over several years via two paths. Firstly, in 1920 as a direct payment from the Commission for Relief in Belgium. Secondly, after 1920 from the Belgian American Educational Foundation using assets obtained from the final liquidation of C.R.B.. As part of the distribution of C.R.B. benevolent funds, the most important part of the leftover moneys went to the Universities and institutions of higher learning of Belgium, which had suffered serious destruction during World War I. The Universities of Brussels, Ghent, Liege and Louvain each received 20,000,000 BEF ($3,800,000); the School of Mines was granted 5,000,000 BEF ($950,000) and the Colonial School 10,000,000 BEF ($1,900,000). The "Belgian Foundation", Fondation Universitaire - Universitaire Stichting received initially about 25,000,000 BEF ($6,800,000). The "American Foundation", the C.R.B. Educational Foundation also received initially about $7,700,000. The latter sum was further increased by $2,000,000, from other residuals of the C.R.B. in liquidation to replenish the Foundation's treasury against further donations already planned. read more

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