As we celebrated the 50th anniversary of AVS, we looked back with pride on the many contributions of this Society and its members to science and technology. Looking forward to the future, we hope to continue as the lead Society in the fields in which we operate. Not all of the activities that we aspire to promote are best supported within our operational budget. With this letter, we announce the establishment of the AVS Leadership Endowment Fund. We invite you to become a Charter Member of this Fund.
What is the AVS Leadership Fund?
For several years, the Board of Directors and others have discussed approaching our members for voluntary contributions to a fund such as this one. With this in mind the Development Committee was established, consisting of Christine Whitman, Theodore Madey, Art Fuente, and N. Rey Whetten as Chair, to set up a mechanism to facilitate activities toward these goals. The money raised will be kept separate from the income and expenses of the ordinary operation of the Society. With oversight by an Endowment Committee, the funds will be invested in a combination of stocks, bonds, and money market instruments and 4.5% of the fund balance, based on a rolling four year average, will be used for this purpose.
What is the Purpose of the AVS Leadership Fund?
Funds from the Endowment Fund will be used for Outreach and Major Initiative Programs. One priority of AVS is to greatly expand our student programs. As the funds become large enough, we would consider awarding student scholarships for tuition and other educational expenses. Another avenue in which to take a leadership position is to support a Congressional Scholar, to work in the nation’s capital as a congressional staff member in the field of science and technology. This might be done in cooperation with another society to share the expenses. Recommendations for the use of the funds will be made by the AVS Leadership Endowment Committee with the approval of the AVS Board of Directors. Suggestions from donors for worthy activities are most welcome. It will probably be several years before the fund is large enough to support significant programs, but if we don’t start now it will take even longer. Rest assured that none of the money will be used for day-to-day operation of the Society. This fund will be used to secure members of the future and to contribute to society at large.
Doesn’t AVS have a Large Investment Portfolio?
AVS maintains a little more than a years’ expenses in reserve. This is the typical target for societies that allows stability in the face of unforeseen events. Most other societies in AIP have about the same ratio of assets to expenses. The 1990’s were very good to AVS from a financial standpoint, with our investments, short courses, and publications doing very well. Unfortunately, our 2001 International Symposium immediately followed 9/11 and resulted in many international and national cancellations. Thus, we lost significant registration income and paid severe hotel penalties due to prior hotel room commitments. The prolonged stock market decline also took a toll on our assets, and our short course income plummeted as a result of the recession. AVS responded by restructuring committee and Board activities and cutting expenses. Today, the Society is fiscally sound and efficient, as the revenues slowly increase. The operating budget is in good shape, however it will not support the outreach activities that commemorate our past and build for our future.
How will the AVS Leadership Fund Operate?
The request for contributions will be sent out annually. Contributions can be of any size, and will be grouped in several leadership levels as follows:
Contributions and Leadership Levels:
|$99 and less
|$100 - $249
|$250 - $499
|$500 - $999
|$1,000 - $4,000
|Greater than $4,000
The names of individuals contributing in the different leadership levels will be published in the cover letter for the following annual appeal. Also, the amount contributed will be rolled over for a five-year period. That is if someone contributed $100 for five years, in the fifth year they would be in the Gaede group, and would stay there in succeeding years if they continued with $100 annual contributions.
AVS also welcomes bequests to the AVS Leadership Fund, as well as Residual Trust accounts with the AVS Leadership Fund named as beneficiary. Please inform AVS if you are planning such gifts. Since AVS is a 501c3 not-for-profit scientific society, your donations to the Endowment Fund are deductible from your taxable income.
We hope that you will join us as a Founding Member of the Leadership Endowment Fund.
may be made in the form of a check, payable to AVS, 125 Maiden Lane, 15th Floor, New York, NY 10038, Attn.: Yvonne Towse, or please contact Yvonne directly (firstname.lastname@example.org
, 212-248-0640) for additional information.
Dawn A. Bonnell