By Kelly Schwalbe, Chair
Last month the AAEA Professional Improvement Foundation board of directors held its spring board meeting to discuss funded programs, revenues, and sponsorship activities, and conduct other business in advance of the board’s July meeting at Ag Media Summit. Fiscally, the foundation is on solid footing with nearly $400,000 in investments (as of March 31) and operating funds of $23,000. Revenues for the year from corporate and individual donations and other fundraising activities are approaching $23,000 and we expect that number to reach nearly $25,000 by mid-year as more memberships are renewed and income is received.
On the expense side for internships, scholarships, awards and other programs that PIF funds, there is $27,500 committed to date. The two biggest expenses this year are the editorial and marcomm internships ($11,000 total) and student scholarships ($7,500), which are funded in large part by ongoing corporate donations/sponsorships. The one exception is the editorial internship that is not currently funded ($5,000) and Laurie Bedord is working to find an organization of cover that cost in the future. Also, with the IFAJ Congress being held in the U.S., there was no large outlay of funds this year for stipends as in past years.
As a reminder, the Andy Markwart Horizon Award applications are due June 1. If you are 35 and under, please consider applying for this prestigious John Deere-sponsored award. The winner receives a $2,500 stipend and will be recognized at AMS.
Also, there will be an opening on the 15-seat PIF board of directors that will be filled at the summer business meeting during Ag Media Summit. If you are interested in joining the PIF board and helping to guide the work of this important organization, please let me know. Lastly, let us not forget the purpose of the foundation is to fund professional development; promote ag communications; finance awards/recognition of outstanding work; and support internships, scholarships and training that benefit all AAEA members and the greater ag communications profession. The board’s goal is to accomplish this without having to tap into investment income and reserves. All of this is only possible because of the generosity of our corporate sponsors, industry donors and members during these tough economic times. I hope we can count of your generosity in the future so the foundation’s work can continue.