Scholarships Pumped Up By Donations


Education Foundation Columnist

On page three of this month’s PEGG is the announcement of major increases in APEGGA Education Foundation scholarships. This follows the Feb. 10 foundation board meeting, at which motions were passed approving in principle increases of 50 per cent in the awards for our entrance and transfer scholarships
As well, undergraduate scholarships at the University of Calgary will be increased to equal in value those at the University of Alberta. The board also approved the creation of two new annual scholarships, called the APEGGA Alberta Centennial Scholarships, starting in 2005 in the amount of $5,000 each.

Implementation will require that sub-committees change or create terms of reference for subsequent board approval. Then administration will have to revise application forms, and notify students and award bodies of the changes.

Many Preparations
On the face of it these changes appear instantaneous. The reality is that much study and work came before.

First, we have had a campaign running for three to four years to encourage more donations and make increases possible. Voluntary donations have grown from about $25,000 in year 2000 to over $50,000 in the past two years.
The number of donors continues to increase each year with 1,080 contributors in 2003. The average donation has also increased to nearly $50.

Over the past year, sub-committees have been hard at work to determine how best to apply new funds to scholarships. They met with university deans and department heads, who urged them not to create whole new programs but to build on existing ones. Especially favoured are programs that encourage students in grade school and high school to pursue careers in engineering and science.

The foundation recognizes, of course, that increased awards have to be sustainable. So there was considerable discussion at the last meeting about whether our revenue flow, backed by our investments, could support the proposed increases. Based on growth trends and the fact that many of our donors back us year after year, the board concluded that the answer is yes.

There was some discussion about whether the foundation should finance increases through endowments or through cash flows. This was considered a big enough topic to warrant a future special meeting.

It was noted, however, that should any governments decide to offer matching grants for monies put into endowments (as they did for Alberta’s 75th anniversary), your foundation is in a financial position to take advantage of the situation.

So, great work, donors.You have helped make dreams come true!

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