Roll out the banners and start your engines: The public phase of the AAPG Foundation’s fundraising program is here!
A little over three years ago a group of dedicated volunteers led by the AAPG Foundation Trustees began planning a major financial campaign. The plan was driven by “need,” as the Foundation was receiving more viable requests than it had funds to support.
At the same time the petroleum profession was expanding along with the public needs associated with energy and geoscience education.
For the past two and one-half years the AAPG Foundation’s fundraising campaign has been in the initial or “silent phase” of raising funds for the many projects supported by the Foundation and also for emerging opportunities that deserved attention.
Our original goal was to more than double the Foundation’s portfolio of $16 million. The rule in fundraising is you should try to raise at least 60 percent during the “silent phase” of the campaign. It is “silent” in that leaders with a history and interest in making major gifts are personally approached by a few members and asked to provide lead gifts for the campaign.
Leadership cannot be understated in a financial campaign. It was the Foundation Trustees, the Foundation Financial Committee, members of the Association’s Executive Committee and staff that led the way by personally pledging major gifts to the campaign.
Thanks to the lead gift of $10 million from L. Austin and Marta Weeks and the generosity of 70 AAPG members we have now raised nearly $23 million!
Part of that total is a key gift of $9.4 million announced at our recent annual meeting in San Antonio. This last gift of the “silent phase” was provided by longtime AAPG member Boone Pickens to establish and build a digital geology fund in the Foundation.
Monies from this fund will be used to accelerate the development of AAPG’s digital GIS program through a unique consortium between AAPG and Oklahoma State University.
The old coffee commercial says, “The best part of waking up is Folger’s in your cup.” I hope that’s not really the best part!
The best part of the Foundation Financial Campaign is meeting people. I knew L. Austin Weeks only for a few years, but his generosity and that of his family is incredible. Marta Weeks has been a leader in the campaign and her vision of giving represents the soul of the Foundation.
Building relationships is the key component of any financial campaign. Following the Weeks’ gift, the campaign committee traveled around the country talking to potential donors.
For example, Jack Threet, Marlan Downey and Bill Gipson talked to John Bookout about his interest in K-12 education. As a result, a fund has been established to “Teach-the-Teachers” about geoscience and energy education.
And it has been a pleasure for me to work with Boone Pickens. His gift will support the development of digital products that will be used around the globe for education and research.
We have planted many seeds for future needs of the Foundation program. Based on the generosity of a few members the Foundation Trustees and Financial Committee felt very comfortable in setting the campaign goal at $35 million.
Now its time for the “public phase” of the campaign, where all members will be invited to support the Foundation’s program beyond regular giving.
Keep in mind, a large part of the Foundation’s funds are endowments that last well into the future.
The primary emphasis of the initiative’s public phase will be to educate members about the many programs of the AAPG Foundation. This will include town hall meetings, notices in the AAPG EXPLORER and BULLETIN, special receptions, correspondence and Webbased information. During the remainder of the year each issue of the EXPLORER will highlight one program supported by the campaign.
“Meeting Challenges, Assuring Success” is the campaign’s motto. AAPG’s leaders have taken the first steps. We are asking you to join us.
Your personal invitation will arrive soon.