Foundation Emphasizes People Helping People


APEGGA Education Foundation President

People are motivated to make donations when they see the appeal as people helping people. As well, donors are motivated when they agree with the objectives of the appeal, they have a wish to help those with a real need, and when they agree with how the funds are managed.

Directors of the APEGGA Education Foundation board are aware of these things. We need, in other words, to put a human face on our appeal and show that the donations make an important difference.

We received some unexpected support when The PEGG ran an article in the March issue, entitled Manna From APEGGA: Scholarship Winner Says Thanks for the Cash. The winner was Heidi Eijgel, who was awarded APEGGA's $2,000 scholarship for persons with a geology, geophysics, or engineering degree returning to school to earn an education degree.

She went on to graduate with a bachelor of education degree from the University of Lethbridge and start a new career in education program support for Natural Resources Services in Lethbridge. The award helped not only Heidi Eijgel, but also helped mould a special set of skills for an employer in the Lethbridge area. It has also enhanced the image of our professions.

The need to help students is very real. Statistics Canada has published figures showing a 209-per-cent increase in tuition fees in Alberta since 1991. In the same period, the average national increase was 126 per cent. The Alberta Advantage, it seems, has not extended to students.

University education in Alberta now typically costs $3,890 for tuition, $425 for student fees, and on average another $1,000 for books and supplies. The average net student loan debt was $18,066 for the 1999 school year. (Data supplied by the Students' Union Office at the University of Alberta).

The APEGGA Education Foundation gets funds from APEGGA, a supplement paid by attendees of the APEGGA Summit Awards, and voluntary contributions from APEGGA members and other interested supporters. These totaled $103,824 in the year 2000. The APEGGA scholarships and awards amount to over $70,000 per year if all are awarded.
That leaves less then $25,000 to go to an endowment fund. We would need an endowment fund of more than $1.5 million to support existing awards. That does not include costs for fund-raising or administration, or the need we see to make the amounts of the awards more meaningful (the maximum award today is $2,000).

Voluntary contributions by members in the year 2000 totaled $24,749. This works out to just 78 cents per member. In fact, we had only about 750 donors -- those who gave did so generously.

In working out the average contribution, I included members-in-training. I was going to give them "immunity" until news coverage in Edmonton showed that students at NAIT donated $2.5 million to their building fund! (This was collected over about 10 years, mind you).

I think we can do better than 78 cents each. If each member gave just $10 per year, we would have more than $310,000 per year, enough to support an even more generous award program.

I know we all receive many appeals for charitable donations. Every dinner hour, the phone rings with one or more requests. But consider making at least a small donation.

The Education Foundation issues tax receipts for amounts of $25 or more, but will welcome any contribution. In future columns, I will let you know how our average is doing. Let's try for at least $2 a member this year!

For more information contact the directors of the Education Foundation.