APEGGA Education Foundation Offers
Opportunity to Contribute to a Worthy Cause

By Dan Motyka, P.Eng.


Along our educational path, it's rare that we are not the beneficiary of some support - be it from a teacher, a parent, a mentor or some outside agency.

In 1997, the APEGGA Education Foundation, a Charitable Organization, was formed under the Alberta Societies Act to provide an additional brace to the activities that our Association already was undertaking in support of math and science education, and to encourage young people to pursue careers in engineering, geology and geophysics.

Contributions Tax Deductible

Importantly, the creation of an independent, arms-length foundation meant that donations made toward APEGGA scholarships and other educational activities could be recognized as tax deductible contributions.

The Foundation's Mission is succinct, namely: "To enhance and provide leadership and support in the education and development of Engineers, Geologists and Geophysicists and of those who may wish to enter these Professions."

The Foundation's objectives are equally straightforward:

1. To encourage and assist educational institutions to define the educational needs of the Professions and to develop and deliver the programs.

2. To encourage and assist educational institutions, students and teachers by providing financial assistance and/or awards.

3. To encourage and assist interaction between industry and educational institutions both at a corporate and individual level.

4. To serve as the Professions' vehicle to assemble and manage funds, build endowments, encourage voluntary donations and distribute funds to meet these objectives.

An important activity transferred to the Education Foundation was the supervision of an extensive list of scholarships previously administered directly by our Association. Collectively, these scholarships were valued at some $75,000 and depended on funds transferred directly from the APEGGA budget, or in other cases, they were based on endowed funds, usually established through bequests.

Excellence Honoured
For the last number of years (and including this past October) Excellence in Education Events have been held in Edmonton and Calgary to honour recipients of APEGGA-related scholarships and those winning APEGGA Gold Medals (for top marks in their engineering and earth science programs at the Universities of Calgary and Alberta).

The Foundation potentially provides a means of leveraging, through donations or via other fund-raising efforts, the scholarship contributions traditionally made by the Association or available through endowed monies.

In the longer term, the investment of contributions might permit the Foundation to sponsor scholarships and other educational initiatives by drawing upon income rather than current donations.

The first major fund-raiser under the Foundation's auspices was held late in 1997 when the Hon. John Crosbie spoke at an Edmonton dinner. A more low-key but continuing appeal for support for the Education Foundation is made as you are mailed your annual membership renewal notice. I am pleased to tell you that these efforts, though conducted so far with very little fanfare, are yielding results as some members top up their dues with a tax deductible contribution.

Potential For Growth
If each one of our 30,000 members made a contribution of just $10 with their dues, it would add some $300,000 annually to the Foundation account. Just imagine what could be done with even more generous donations.

As I noted at the beginning of this column, each of us likely owes a debt to someone for the education that has given us the opportunity to practice as professionals. We do, of course, repay that debt through application of our professional skills for societal well-being, through volunteer activities in APEGGA and other organizations, and through the encouragement we personally offer those new to our professions or those contemplating a future in engineering, geology or geophysics. However, a regular contribution to the Education Foundation provides a helpful and fairly painless means of saying "thank you" for what others have given us.

Independent Board
The affairs of the Education Foundation are managed by an independent Board of Directors. The APEGGA members who are giving of their time and talent to lead the Foundation as directors are: Harry Moore, P.Eng., who has served as the Foundation president since its creation; Bob Comer, P.Geoph., its vice-president; University of Alberta Dean of Engineering Dr. Dave Lynch, P.Eng.; Dr. Raj Rajan, P.Eng.; Ashok Sehgal, P.Eng.; Debbie Wershler, P.Geol.; and University of Calgary Dean of Engineering Dr. Chan Wirasinghe, P.Eng.

Let me extend my gratitude to those who already have made a contribution. Please remind your friends and colleagues how a helping hand to this arms-length Foundation can go a long way.