VMAPA Board of Directors Update

Jun 28, 2024 | News, BOD Updates

June 28, 2024 –

The VMAPA Board of Directors is thrilled to see the 2024 Santa Clara Vanguard gathered for spring training! Watching the corps arrive for move-ins in Idaho and witnessing the start of these 165 members’ 2024 Vanguard experience fills our drum corps hearts and stands in stark contrast to where we were this time last year. We couldn’t be more thrilled!


Looking back, as challenging as the post-2022 season was, it also presented us with an opportunity. From the beginning, we were resolute that we would use the hiatus productively. To this end, we examined the factors that contributed to the state of the organization and began working on a plan to structure VMAPA into a viable and more robust organization. To date, this has included implementing the following:

  • Communicated with DCI – Maintained ongoing communication with DCI to collaborate on a path forward with our goal to return to the field and restore our DCI member status for the 2025 season.
  • Prioritized Paying Down Debt – Jennifer Bauman worked to quickly pay down an enormous tour debt from 2022 and began to build up our operating cash reserves. This was done with a goal to not only fund a 2024 tour but also ensure a longer-term plan to prepare for the 2025 season. Jennifer also worked closely with the operations team to improve our Santa Clara bingo game’s performance, negotiate a lease agreement for the kitchen that now provides food for the bingo customers, and monetize our tractors during the off-season.
  • Hired Russ Gavin as CEO – We felt it was critical to hire a leader with strong operational drum corps experience and a leadership style consistent with Santa Clara’s values. Among many other strengths, Russ displays a love for the activity and Vanguard’s place in it, coupled with a creative spirit and the initiative to try new approaches.
  • Refined our Budgeting Process – This has included increased involvement, communication, and transparency between the Board, the CEO, and operational and corps leaders. This cross-functional team has impressively risen to the challenge and taken increased ownership of creating the budget and establishing internal controls to monitor spending.
  • Expanded Bingo – Collaborated with staff to launch Redwood City Bingo.
  • Created Investment Committee – This committee has updated and enhanced our investment policy to evaluate the management of the endowment more strategically.
  • Reviewed Operations – Partnered with the CEO to solicit an independent third-party firm to implement enhanced financial reporting and procedural best practices.
  • Refined Financial Planning & Analysis (FP&A) Reporting – Monthly deliverables were enhanced to track performance against new updated monthly rolling forecasts and the budget. Together, these reports allow the CEO and staff to monitor, identify, and plan for variances more accurately and timely.

And, of course, we are incredibly excited to see the 2024 performances of “Vagabond” and participate in this year’s World Class tour. We wish to extend a heartfelt thank you to all the fans, alumni, and network of board members and corps directors who have offered their support and guidance over the past year. We want to especially thank the VMAPA staff who waited with incredible patience for SCV’s 2024 return. Your dedication was paramount to making this season possible. Finally, we want to congratulate and thank the 2024 members. We are immensely proud of you and the unique role you play in the organization’s history. Your hard work and belief are the heart and soul of the Santa Clara Vanguard. We wish you an amazing journey as you depart on tour!

The Board actively participates in the STAR Donor Club. We encourage anyone who has ever been moved by a Vanguard performance to contribute toward ensuring its future. There is no better time. Right now, your donation will be matched dollar-for-dollar up to $30,000!*

Thank You,

VMAPA Board of Directors

*Note for Current STAR Donors: New donation software, Donorbox, was recently installed. Current STAR Donors are encouraged to cancel their existing account and register for a new Donorbox account to take advantage of the match.

Please reach out to Russ at rgavin@scvanguard.org with any questions.

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