Terri-Jane Yuzda

Philanthropy Thrives in Alberta

Special Section Highlights Foundation Successes


Education Foundation Columnist

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

As I'm writing this, work progresses on the production of an insert featuring the APEGGA Education Foundation. The insert appears as a pullout in this edition of The PEGG. (view insert here)

In it, once again, we publically thank our many donors, and provide information on the make-up of the foundation board of directors, the foundation's mission and its objectives.

The timing for this section is fortuitous - on Nov. 15 the Association of Fundraising Professionals sponsors National Philanthropy Day. Since becoming involved in the foundation I am continually amazed how vast an industry philanthropy is!
Last year on Philanthropy Day, the fundraising association's award luncheon drew an attendance of more than 1,000 in Calgary. A similar function in Edmonton drew more than 500.

Did you know that there are about 80,000 charitable organizations in Canada? I'm told that there are more than 400 charitable golf events in the Calgary area alone!
At this time of year, we all know that the United Way campaign is in full swing. But did you know that community foundations in Alberta support charities year-round in their communities and form endowment funds of more than $314 million? Calgary has the biggest one at $168 million and Edmonton is close behind at $125 million. But even the smaller centres of Drayton Valley and Mayerthorpe have community foundations.

These foundations were first created in 1908 in Cleveland, Ohio, where it was realized that certain trust monies could be put to better use than towards "retired milk horses," believe it or not!

Winnipeg had the first one in Canada in 1921 and Alberta legislation allowed their existence after 1971, although they really didn't get going here until 1989. An interesting feature is that donors are able to specify what type of charity is to receive the benefit, and another is that donors in Edmonton, for example, are able to build up an endowment over 10 years. Scholarships at any institution are a growing part of their work.

Other big fundraising players include the Alberta Heritage Scholarship Fund, which awards millions in scholarships each year for many different types of education, and the universities themselves.

It is clear that we are small players in an extremely competitive field. So it is important that we find our niche and be of value in that area at least.
One distinction we have is that while we try to attract the best to our professions, we don't recruit for any one institution (not to say that it isn't important for them to do that).

Another is that the board has decided to restrict solicitations to APEGGA members, companies that employ them, and other organizations with which we have important common interests.

So there. Your suspicions are confirmed when you receive all those calls and mail that there is a "monster" out there. The good news is that work for philanthropy helps thousands of people, and donors have some say in how their money will be used, rather than letting government decide for them.

Contributions Grow
Our base of donors added $3,936 in September. We have also had a very gratifying response from our mail-out to life members.

Forty-seven life members have responded to the mail-out with donations and another dozen have shown enough interest to ask for further information. And the donations continue to come in. The life member campaign has added $4,341 in September.

This brings our total voluntary donations for the year to $33,577. After allowing for expenses, it means we have $665 to add to each scholarship - 33 per cent of our goal.

Also, we are beginning to get responses from our 35-year practitioners. Doubling our scholarships by May 2003 will be a stretch but not impossible.

I have had a chance to review the list of donors published in this PEGG. The total numbers are a bit ahead of last year's but the donations total is well ahead.
There are always surprises. Members-in-training and registered professional technologists contribute generously in proportion to their numbers! So, thanks again to our many supporters.


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