Since its inception in 1967, the AAPG Foundation (AAPG-F) has been committed to building a legacy of support for the geosciences. It does so through the generous support of individuals and companies who together are committed to the science of petroleum geology, energy minerals and environmental geology and seeing it continue far into the future.
While most AAPG members know about the Foundation and many have contributed to it, far fewer understand its structure and its relationship to the Association. They are, in fact, separate entities with independent governance structures and slightly different purposes.
The Association is a non-profit professional association with a 501(c)6 tax designation. AAPG exists to serve its members.
The Foundation, in contrast, is a 501(c)3 charitable organization. As a charity, its focus is broader than AAPG’s. The programs in which the AAPG-F invests must have a broader public impact. That’s why a contribution to the AAPG-F may be tax deductible. The expectation is that society benefits from designating AAPG-F a charity.
The upshot of all of this is that when you contribute to the Foundation, you are not only supporting geoscience and the continuation of our profession, you’re also supporting our broader goals of supplying the energy the world needs.
Society may not give us a lot of credit for our role in powering the world, but you and I know we’re playing an essential role.
And the global impact of the Foundation is significant when measured by the 2019 results of four joint programs that the AAPG-F conducts with the Association:
• A total of 114 graduate students from 59 institutions in 9 countries received support from the Grants-in-Aid program. These competitive grants are intended to help cover the research expenses for these students as they work on their theses or dissertations. In 2019, grants totaled $285,500.
• The L. Austin Weeks program supports undergraduate students and student organizations.
These, too, are competitive awards, and in 2019 the program awarded grants to 106 students and 66 student organizations worldwide at a total of $86,000.
• Visiting Geoscientists are folks who go to visit geoscience departments and talk about their experiences as geologists, teach a course or provide mentoring and feedback to students. These visits occur throughout the year, and we’ve got a committee – the VGP Committee – that tracks and collates these contacts, providing a small amount of travel support when needed.
And the results are impressive. In 2019 the VGP had visits in all six U.S. sections and six international regions, totaling 377 by 196 Visiting Geoscientists. Over the course of these 377 visits, they interacted with 13,615 students!
Surely, you’ve occasionally visited a campus, perhaps your alma mater, to meet with students. Let the VGP Committee know and they’ll count that visit, too.
• The Imperial Barrel Award program is the most well-known of these joint programs. In 2019, there were 169 teams from universities across the globe totaling 900 students who competed for the top award. Given a data set and a limited amount of time, these teams develop an exploration concept and then defend it in front of a team of judges in their section or region. The winning teams from each section and region then gather at the AAPG Annual Convention and Exhibition to compete in the final round.
In recent years the AAPG-F Trustees approved a new program to encourage U.S. military veterans to pursue studies in the geosciences. The Military Veterans Scholarship Program does just that, providing much-needed assistance that supplements what is available to veterans through the G.I. Bill.
In 2019 there were seven recipients of these scholarships, totaling $20,000, and with diverse service backgrounds: two from the Army, two from the Air Force, two Marines, and one from the Navy.
Trustee Associates Program
These are just a sampling of the programs that are funded by the Foundation. And if any of these programs are interesting to you, please visit the AAPG-F website at Foundation.AAPG.org. There you can also learn about other program funding opportunities.
At the website you can also learn about our Trustee Associates program. This program is designed for those who see the value in what the Foundation is doing and are committed to its mission. Membership is by invitation and includes a $15,000 contribution to the AAPG-F, which may be split over several years. But right now, the Trustees have lowered the contribution amount to $10,000 until we reach 300 Trustee Associates.
As we reach the end of another year, looking ahead to the next, would you consider being a part of the legacy of the AAPG Foundation?