Saturday, April 02, 2011

By the numbers | Jennings college scholarships

The Gannett Foundation's Madelyn P. Jennings Scholarships are one-time $3,000 stipends to college students whose parents are among the company's 32,600 employees.

In 2009, the most recent year available, the foundation awarded only 13 of these scholarships, at a total cost of $39,000. (That year, meanwhile, it gave $255,000 to charities hand-picked by Gannett's most senior executives, including $15,000 to Wellesley College, the alma mater of COO Gracia Martore.)

Following are the number of scholarships that could be awarded had these highest-paid executives declined their cash bonuses last year, and directed the money instead to the Jennings program.

Craig Dubow
Chairman and CEO
(bonus: $1.75 million)

Gracia Martore
President and Chief Operating Officer
($1.25 million)

Bob Dickey
U.S. newspapers president

Dave Lougee
Broadcasting president

Dave Hunke
USA Today publisher

Paul Saleh
Chief Financial Officer

What's college cost?
Add those up, and an additional 1,550 children would have gotten scholarships vs. the 13 who actually received them.

Tuition plus fees at four-year U.S. public schools for in-state residents costs an average $6,319 per year. For private schools: $22,449 per year. These figures are for 2008-09, the latest available from the National Center for Education Statistics.

(Note: Anonymous@6:28 p.m.'s comment today inspired this post.)


  1. Hello, board of directors?

  2. That total of 1,550 students might be fairly close to the total number of GCI employee children who are college students. I suspect the number of employees old enough to have children in college is declining, thanks to layoffs.

  3. Not available to all, just full-time workers.

  4. And $3,000 pays for very little even at a state school.

  5. A few more caveats..... (I filled out the forms for each of my three children, none of whom received a scholarship despite ACT scores of 30+)

    You can only apply for this scholarship during the student's Junior year in high school. 10:32 is correct.

    At the (admittedly very good) state university here, one Educational Quarter costs ~$6,000. This is tuition, fees, and dorm room & board. There are three quarters in the academic year (I'm not including summer school) which adds up to $18,000 to $20,000 for September through June (depending on the meal plan you go with; sons generally eat more than daughters!).

    A one-time $3,000 scholarship is a drop in the bucket, but every bit helps. These stated college costs do not include book purchases or travel to and from home (which has to be done at least twice a year).

    Admittedly students, after their freshman year, can often move out of the dorms and economize somewhat on food and rent. But the overall expense is still pretty staggering.

    No matter what you do to save for college, it will not be enough.

  6. Gannett pays millions of dollars in bonuses to its top executives, while it furloughs and fires employees, and the business swirls down the drain. Isn't anybody on the board sort of paying attention?

  7. For another point of comparison, the sons and daughters of the Eugene Pulliam family-controlled papers in Arizona and Indiana shared in approximately 20 scholarships announced each year. They were hefty awards of several thousand dollars a year for each of the full four years. For our sons, it made the difference between tuition at a top private school vs a state college. Boys and girls who delivered the papers were also eligible for carrier scholarships. But those were decades of family ownership, B.G., before Gannett.

  8. I don't want this to start a war about inappropriate postings or anything, but I thought that this article in the 4/4 Columbus (Ohio) Dispatch (NOT a Gannett paper) was somewhat apt:

    In the article, this particular paragraph got my attention:

    "In December, Gee returned his $296,786 bonus so it could go toward student scholarships and other university programs that he thinks are important. It was the third-straight year he has donated a portion of his compensation to help students."

    Now this is an instance where I believe that the CEO is actually earning his megabucks. As far as I can tell, he has no personal life. He spends extraordinary amounts of time attending student activities and functions, to the point of going to student parties on the week-ends. I heard of one party he showed up at. Word spread and there were soon students streaming to that party just to meet him.

    Yes, the academic world is different from the "real business" world, but this is a man with a conscience. Craig, are you listening?

  9. I don't understand why any of you think Gannett should feel responsible to pay for your kids tuition. It's a corporation not a non profit.

  10. Well, 5:37 p.m., I doubt that anyone feels that
    G A N N E T T should be "responsible" for paying tuition. The issue, I believe, is that some companies spread the wealth abit, rather than slide it all into the executive trough.

    It's amazing how much cash these executives can channel to their pet projects, and how little they have to improve the lives of their workers.

  11. Why shouldn't every penny of the executives' $255K go to Jennings scholarships? How does $15K to Wellesley advance the interests of we stockholders?

  12. Diverting the $255,000 that Gannett gives the bigwigs to give away to any 501(c)(3) of their choosing would result in 85 more Jennings scholarships. That's enough to allow each newspaper to award one Jennings scholar per site. And, most likely, not every one of the smaller sites would have eligible kids (after all, their FTE populations are pretty low). So, by simply redirecting this one perk, the lives of 85 Gannett employees are enhanced and helped.

    I am the one who launched this "fantasy" with my comment over the weekend. And my point, dreamy as it may be was this:

    What if we began a culture where instead of rewarding Craig with private use of the Gannett jet fleet, we diverted that perks to help or benefit an employee? Can't Craig afford as many airline tickets as he wanted?

    What if instead of lavishing such tremendous perks, such paying Craig's life-insurance policy, keeping Dave whole on his house purchase and other amazing ultra-cool stuff, we instead diverted that money to restore the Gannett Foundation's gift pool to local charities? Most of the small papers have as little as $10k to give to their markets.

    What if we had leadership that wanted to inspire us, not demonstrate how they are apart from us? None of us would begrudge them for getting rich from Gannett; all of us begrudge them for accepting these excesses as we enter our second consecutive quarter of furloughing.

    I agree with a poster on this thread: Take a look at this story and see if this makes you feel hollow about our management:

    Why must we be led by people with such tin ears for how their compensation is so out of whack with the rest of our company, especially since they are asking all of us to sacrifice?

    Why must our board be deaf, dumb and blind to this? Why can't they benchmark Craig's salary not on the rising CEOs of other companies, but rather sharing the pain that they are directing us to inflict? How can they sleep at night? How can they ride the elevators of the Crystal Palace, knowing so many of those in that car make more than $80k and will be cutting another week's pay while they can consider purchases of vacation homes with their bonuses and with free air travel provided by the company?

    Why can't we be different?

    Why can't we set a new tone?

    Where's our Steve Jobs?

  13. Does Bob Dickey president of US Community publishing have a college degree?

  14. 7:13

    It won't change because nobody is going to make them change. Why should they? We live in a country ruled by uberrich businessmen who work tirelessly to divide the "wretched masses" against each other with things like Fox News while they're sitting back raking in the dough.

    What we need is to band together as citizens of this country - ignore what Bill O'Reilly, Rachel Maddow and the rest of that lot have to say - and start taking it to these bigwigs point blank. I would love to see a nonviolent mob enter a bigwig's office, go right up to his desk and say: "We don't give a shit what FOX or MSNBC has to say!! Where are our jobs!? Why do you deserve a 30% compensation increase while other workers are being cut!? The fact that other companies are doing it and THIS company has got to compete is NOT an acceptible answer! Why aren't you using your wealth to help this struggling company rather for your new yacht!? PROVE YOU DESERVE WHAT YOU ARE GETTING!?"

    And before you yank this Jim, I am NOT advocating violence. I'm advocating talking loudly! Perhaps (realistically thinking now) the same questions can be shouted by a nonviolenet mob outside company X HQ - not just Gannett. Something must be done to get the uberrich to realize the swelling anger underneath them.

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