GAO discussed its review of the Congressional Award Program, which Congress established to promote youth initiative, achievement, and excellence through public service, personal development, and physical activities. GAO found that the program operated efficiently at the local council level, with annual increases in the number of councils, participating states, and awards. GAO also found that the Congressional Award Foundation, a nonprofit corporation responsible for the program's daily operations: (1) presented fairly its financial statements for fiscal years 1986 and 1987; (2) required congressional appropriations to continue operations, due to a sharp decline in private contributions and ineffective fund-raising activities; (3) did not implement a scholarship program which would have promoted program awareness; and (4) generally lacked adequate leadership and effective management. In addition, GAO found that the Congressional Award Board: (1) experienced frequent member vacancies; (2) conducted ineffective board meetings; and (3) inadequately monitored the Foundation's operating expenditures. GAO believes that Congress should link any future program extensions to the Board's progress in overcoming its serious financial and administrative problems.
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