The 50th presidential inauguration committee ended up with a $3 million surplus, one-third of which will be donated to the U.S. Treasury as part of President Reagan's effort to reduce the federal deficit, White House spokesman Larry Speakes said yesterday. The rest will go to charity.
The committee raised $13 million before frigid temperatures last January forced cancellation of the inaugural parade for the first time in history and the cancellation of several other events.
The committee refunded about $900,000 in tickets, according to Speakes. The four-day celebration cost $10 million, or far less than the record-breaking $16.3 million spent on the 1981 inaugural .
Although this year's celebration cost less than the 1981 inauguration, it nevertheless was an extravaganza. The festivities included fireworks, nine elaborate balls, sales of inaugural memorabilia, and a presidential gala at the Washington Convention Center produced by Frank Sinatra and televised on ABC-TV.
Speakes said that the president directed the committee to use $1 million of its surplus to help the federal government reduce the more than $200 billion deficit.
The remaining $2 million will go to charitable groups that were chosen by the White House's private sector initiative office, according to White House spokesman Peter Roussel.
Recipients range from community soup kitchens to drug rehabilitation centers and a group called Heroes Inc., which helps the families of police and firefighters in the Washington metropolitan area who are killed on active duty.
Almost half the groups receiving the donations are from the Washington area.
Presidential aide Michael K. Deaver, the chairman of the inaugural committee, was quoted by Speakes as saying: "We're pleased that the 50th inaugural was a success . . . and pleased that the surplus funds will be put to good use."
One of the groups surprised by a telephone call from White House aides Thursday telling them of the unexpected donation was Christmas In April, which is based in the District.
Trevor Armbrister, who founded the group that is modeled after an organization in Texas, said that the White House staff member with whom he spoke asked him not to disclose the amount of money the organization would receive.
Armbrister, a senior editor at Reader's Digest, said that for the past two years about 450 people from various churches, community groups and companies, have gotten together on the last Saturday in April to help renovate and restore the homes of about 40 elderly and poor people.
Local construction companies and retail stores contribute some of the materials, Armbrister said.
He said that the money from the inaugural committee will go to buy materials that the organization is unable to get through donations.
Armbrister added that the telephone call was completely unexpected.
"But I knew that the president was aware of us," Armbrister said. "He made references to us in three speeches."
Other local groups sharing in the $2 million include:
The Committee for Food and Shelter, Inc., D.C.; Deafpride, D.C.; Little Sisters of the Poor, D.C.; Martha's Table, D.C.; Missionaries of Charity, D.C.; National Federation of Parents for Drug Free Youth, Silver Spring, and Partnerships Data Net, Inc., D.C.
Recipients in other areas include:
Canine Companions for Independence, Santa Rose, Calif.; Child Find, Inc., New Paltz, New York; Christmas in April, Midland, Tex.; Cities in Schools, Atlanta; Handicapped Organized Women, Charlotte, N.C.; H.O.M.E., Chicago, and the Mathews-Dickey Boys' Club, St. Louis.
Also: Matthew 24 Health and Dental Clinic, Inc., Fort Wayne, Ind.; Midtown Center, Chicago; National Women's Employment Foundation, Inc., San Antonio; Providence St. Mel High School, Chicago; Teach the Children, San Antonio; Trevor's Campaign, Ardmore, Pa., and the Warren Center of Learning, Springfield, Ohio.
Terry Michael, spokesman for the Democratic National Committee, said that the $1 million gift to the U.S. Treasury is a "nice symbolic gesture," but added that he hopes it "will be backed up by some real substance."