Terri-Jane Yuzda

Education Foundation
Anticipates Increase in Awards


Education Foundation Columnist

Editor's Note: The APEGGA Education Foundation, which is separate and distinct from APEGGA, serves the professions by supporting the education and development of engineers, geologists and geophysicists, as well as those who might enter the three professions. It assembles and manages funds, builds endowments and encourages donations. The foundation distributes funds for scholarships and awards, and in support of special projects.

The Campaign

We await the APEGGA Education Foundation auditor's report; then I can give you the latest in campaign results. We didn't receive enough in voluntary donations to double all scholarships, but we did have a pretty good year and will be able to make some substantial increases in scholarship awards.

Your foundation board is deliberating on exactly how this money will be applied for the coming scholarship offerings. The board is also busy planning the foundation's Annual General Meeting (open only to foundation members), bringing some of the year's business to a conclusion, and doing succession planning. One of the year's items is a number of amendments to the bylaws

Voluntary? Or Mandatory?

Member donations so far have been voluntary with the exception of attendees at the Summit Awardsâ who are each assessed, in their ticket prices, a charitable donation to your foundation. Their companies sponsor many of these attendees.

Voluntary donations have grown considerably since our founding in November of 1996 - from zero at the start to about $50,000 this past year. That is a good rate of growth.

However, when you consider APEGGA's membership base, it's not a large amount per member. Arguments have been put forward within the Foundation to introduce mandatory donation.

It is possible that this idea will be introduced to APEGGA members before long, so I would like to put to you some of the pros and cons so it can be debated intelligently if it does come up.

The obvious advantage is the potential increase in member donations. Even with a contribution of just $5 each, the total contribution would be $175,000! We could do a lot with that amount available for awards. With $10 per member we would have $350,000 available.

We're told that chartered accountants are assessed $60 each for their scholarship fund, so $10 would be very minimal by that standard. A study needs to be done as to what other professions do for scholarships.

I have read that lawyers make available a $10,000 scholarship; that would be an enormous help to anyone in our professions and would enhance our public image at the same time.

From a tax point of view, members are better off to have an assessment included in their annual dues, since assessments come directly as a deduction from income, whereas only a 17-per-cent credit is allowed on a charitable donation (which, however, is deductible directly from tax otherwise payable).

A complication arises when a member's company pays the dues. Would they support even a $10 increase? Many of them already support our professions by sponsoring attendance at the Summit Awardsâ, and a number make a significant contribution directly in support of the Summit ceremony. On the other hand, they gain indirectly when our professions are promoted as that draws good students to us - their future employees.

Of course, the main argument against automatic assessment is that persons making charitable donations like to be able to choose which charities they will support and in what amount. The existing process of receiving donations and issuing tax receipts allows members to do just that.

I have favoured voluntary contributions up to now. We have not peaked in those contributions and we might well get to $70,000 per year before we plateau. But $175,000 or more certainly looks attractive in view of the objectives of our Foundation. This subject deserves more study and more debate.

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