Three years ago, under the guidance of then-Chairman Jack Threet, the AAPG Foundation started planning a program to increase funding for key existing and numerous new programs.
“The AAPG Foundation performs a vital role in our industry and society,” Threet said. “And we believe the most important investment we can make is in the support of our students, teachers and researchers who have unlimited potential to make our world better.”
“It is to that end – investing in the future – that a few of us decided we could and should make sure the Foundation is significant enough to meet the needs of our profession, industry and society.”
The goal, said AAPG Foundation chair William L. Fisher, was to double the Foundation portfolio, which then was worth a little over $16 million.
Two years ago a Financial Campaign Committee was established, with Jack Threet and Larry Funkhouser serving as co-chairs.
A major bequest of $10 million to the Foundation establishing the L. Austin Weeks Memorial Fund in 2005 was the lead gift in the campaign and set a bedrock for the campaign titled “Meeting Challenges – Assuring Success,” on which future donations could build.
Marta Weeks, the first recipient of the Foundation’s Weeks Medal, named in honor of her husband, was asked to join the campaign along with Bill Crain, Ed Picou, Mike Party and Bob Ardell. Also, the remaining Foundation Trustees – Fisher, John Amoruso, Bill Barrett, Marlan Downey, Jim Gibbs and Bill Gipson – were key members as well.
During the past two years the leaders met with AAPG members who could substantially support this campaign.
“This was step one, the ‘quiet campaign.’” Fisher said.
“In 2005, when we started the campaign’s ‘quiet phase,’ we hired a consultant to conduct an audit and survey of AAPG Trustee Associates,” Threet continued. “We were not surprised to learn that the Foundation had a good reputation – but we were very surprised to learn that most members were not familiar with Foundation activities or support.”
Step one, Threet said, was a major ad campaign in the AAPG EXPLORER to define the programs and objectives.
The survey also asked members about preferential areas of support. These answers were prioritized and used to build the fund-raising program. K-12 education and support for students and teachers were the highest priorities.
But the initiative really began gaining momentum in the fall of 2005, when L. Austin Weeks provided in his will a gift of $10 million to the Foundation. Marta Weeks agreed to have it used as the lead gift in the campaign.
Since that time the more than $12.8 million in additional gifts and pledges have been raised from only 70 members.
The public phase of the AAPG Foundation financial campaign is now open, and members are invited to take a look at the campaign initiatives on the Web site and urged to support the Foundation campaign.