Even if you’ve not experienced it yourself, you’ve undoubtedly heard about it: you’re sitting in the drive-through line waiting to get your coffee. (An apology to my Viennese friends for this example; of course the car is not a proper place to drink coffee.) As the car ahead of you pulls away from the window and you pull forward, the attendant hands you your coffee and refuses your money. There’s no charge – the person ahead of you paid for you.
As Oxford defines it, to pay it forward is to “respond to a person’s kindness to oneself by being kind to someone else.”
There are two elements at play with this concept: First the idea of shifting our focus from ourselves to those around us. The second is the idea of looking ahead, to the future, anticipating and preparing for the needs of others coming after us.
As many AAPG members worldwide prepare for holidays this month, with time dedicated to friends and family, exchanging gifts, and the joy that comes from focusing on others and their happiness, and we look ahead to a new year and to our future, it’s a good time to think about how we can pay it forward.
Paying it forward was in oil legend Michel T. Halbouty’s mind when as AAPG president he challenged the Association, “Let’s do what we can today to ensure that AAPG and the geosciences will be strong tomorrow.”
For more than 50 years, since 1967, the AAPG Foundation has been dedicated “to support(ing) a strong and vibrant community of petroleum geology, energy mineral, and environmental geology.” Its mission is to “maintain and grow a permanent non-profit foundation supporting educational and scientific activities in the field of geology.”
The Foundation is not a part of AAPG. It’s an independent non-profit charity with its own mission and vision and its own governance.
Foundation and Association
In fact, one of the principal differences between AAPG and AAPG-F is that the Association exists to serve its members and the Foundation exists to benefit the public. That’s apparent when you look at the types of programs the Foundation supports, including:
- Grants-in-Aid provide scholarship support for graduate geology students
- L. Austin Weeks Undergraduate Grants provide grants to undergraduate geology students and student organizations
- The Military Veterans Scholarship Program provides scholarship support for U.S. military veterans and dependents studying geology
- The Imperial Barrel Award program funding a global student competition focused on exploration and production
- The Distinguished Lecture program funds lecturers each year to present cutting-edge research and topics of emerging interest in the geosciences
- The Visiting Geoscientists Program supports professionals visiting universities to talk about careers in the geosciences
This is not a complete list of activities that the Foundation supports. It also includes support for scientific publications, such as the AAPG Bulletin to promote and disseminate geological information worldwide, and AAPG-F also accepts external requests for funding from organizations with aligned objectives. As you can see, the focus is on education, students, public outreach and other activities that enrich society.
Foundation and Future
The AAPG-F is led by a group of six Trustees who are responsible for and oversee the activities of the Foundation, working with the support of our staff team:
- Jim McGhay, Chairman
- Larry Jones, Vice Chairman
- Michael Wisda, Secretary
- Lee Backsen, Treasurer
- Valary Schulz, Trustee
- Scott Cameron, Trustee
Earlier this year, Jim Gibbs, long-time chair and Trustee, stepped down, and Jim McGhay was elected chairman and Scott Cameron was elected as Trustee.
One of the topics the Trustees will review in 2022 are the future needs of the geoscience community. There are changes occurring across the energy landscape, but the need for petroleum and the geoscientists necessary to find it and produce it remains.
How does the AAPG-F continue its long-standing support of these activities? How does the AAPG-F adapt to these changes and the new opportunities that they present? How can the AAPG-F play a positive role in communicating and supporting the value of geoscience in addressing the challenges facing our global community to assure a robust and engaged next generation geoscience workforce?
These are just some of the questions we’ll be asking as we scan for new and enhanced opportunities for the AAPG-F to achieve its mission and vision.
As we close out 2021, I invite you to be a part of the legacy that the Foundation continues to build through its global activities. The Foundation’s financial resources – to support these programs and to expand into new programs – come principally from contributions from individuals, not companies.
The contributions come from people like you and me, who have enjoyed a satisfying and rewarding career in the geosciences, and who would like to leave a legacy for the future.
Please join me in supporting the Foundation with a year-end gift – large or small. Please visit foundation.aapg.org to make a donation or to find more information and ask questions. We’re here to help.
Together we can pay it forward.