This year the ASHS Endowment Fund is celebrating its 30-year anniversary. This endeavor is one of the great success stories for ASHS. Since its inception with $5,000, the Fund has continued to grow to a respectable $529,110 as of September 30, 2012. The Fund is managed in an investment account under parameters approved by the Board of Directors. Under the guidelines, the corpus (currently $454,000) is never spent—only the investment increase in interest is used. Unfortunately, the Wall Street debacle and European worries have kept investment returns from growing much in the past few years. Nevertheless, ASHS has continued to sponsor travel grants to hard-working, caring horticulture students to attend our Annual Conferences. At this year’s meeting in Miami, I met several students who were only able to attend because of this support. These new horticulturists will be our future and our new leaders, and investing in them brings a wonderful return on investment. Wouldn’t it be nice if ASHS could fund all eligible students? By doing so, we would increase student participation in both our Annual Conference and our Society. In turn, membership numbers would increase, thus increasing Endowment Fund contributions in the future.
I encourage each of you to consider making a contribution this year. By donating to the Endowment Fund, you will help to ensure that the best and brightest students can become horticultural scientists. I realize most of us are of modest means, so what is an appropriate amount to give? I was contemplating this question as I drove to work the other day. On my way into the campus, I stopped at the local convenience store and bought a cup of coffee. This is my daily routine, and the cup of coffee costs me $1.39. I thought to myself, if I can buy this cup of coffee each day, I can afford the same amount as a donation to the ASHS Endowment Fund. A year’s worth of coffee costs me $361.40. So right then and there, I decided to donate $375.00 to the Endowment Fund. I went online to the ASHS web site, pulled out my credit card, and made the donation. Easy! What a wonderful way to help horticulture students and ASHS. Maybe $375 is too much for you to donate at this time. How about $30 to celebrate our 30-year anniversary of the Endowment Fund? And don’t forget if you’re a member in the USA, donations to the ASHS Endowment Fund are fully tax deductible as a charitable contribution!
At the Annual Conference in Miami, I also attended the Endowment Fund Committee meeting. The Endowment Fund Committee had a great discussion and I enjoyed learning that there’s a lot ahead for the committee and future envisioned activities. The Chair, Chris Gunter, and members Bernadine Strik, Beiquan Mou, Rich Marini, Marietta Loehrlein, Astrid Volder, Paul Read, Carl Sams, Paul Thomas, and Brian Trader are energized and ready to help raise money for the Endowment Fund. The group brain-stormed ways to build the endowment. I left the meeting energized and ready to assist them with their goals. Look for more about this topic in the near future.
I hope you will join me and generously donate to the ASHS Endowment Fund. I know I cannot afford much, but I do know that my contribution will make a difference in a student’s life. Many student travel grants have been awarded over the past 30 years. It would be great to see the Endowment grow to over $1,000,000, indicating to the world that we have a strong, responsible, and helping Society.
Finally, it is appropriate for me to acknowledge those members who have made substantial contributions to the Fund. We owe them a great big thank you, and well-deserved accolades and gratitude. When you see them say thank you, thank you, thank you.
Published in the November 2012 ASHS Newsletter.