CSEG Foundation’s Fund Development Committee

I’m happy to be writing this month’s spotlight committee on the CSEG Foundation’s Fund Development Committee. I had the opportunity to interact with this important committee while I was volunteering with the Foundation and it was an educational and inspirational experience.

The purpose of the CSEG Foundation’s Fund Development Committee (FDC) is to raise funds for CSEG Foundation programs and the Foundations’ endowment. The FDC began in 2012 as a major fundraising program targeted to increase the Foundation’s endowment to a target of $3 million as well as give donors the opportunity to direct funding to specific Foundation programs such Outreach programs, Travel Grants and Learning Bursaries, and Scholarships.

In 2012, the CSEG Foundation’s endowment fund had reached $1 million. The first fundraising campaign from September 2012 – March 2013 generated over $470,000 in donations and pledges with nearly all of it from individual donors. Those funds supported Foundation programs like Scholarships, where half the $34,500 annual scholarship budget was funded by donations. In 2013 the FDC had raised over $663,000 and by the end of 2014, individuals and corporations had donated $276,000 plus an additional $44,000 in sponsorships for programs. By the beginning of 2015, the CSEG Foundation assets were just under $2 million and of that, the Endowment was $1.5 million.

2015 marked a difficult year for both individuals, corporations, as well as for the CSEG and the CSEG Foundation. As a result, the CSEG annual donation to the Foundation was not as significant as in previous years. Thankfully, the Foundation received $112,161 from previous pledges, new donations and sponsorship for programs. Based on the economic environment, the Foundation was very grateful for the financial support it received from its generous donors. Despite these challenges, the CSEG Foundation now had a strong financial base, with assets at the end of October 2015 of $2,010,625 and an Endowment of $1,548,625. The Foundation’s financial position allowed them, even under increased fiscal scrutiny, to maintain all of its programs as well as lend a hand to the CSEG by subsidizing several of the Emerging Professional Program educational events through the Foundation’s Travel Grants and Learning Subsidy Program.

The committee’s focus for 2015 concentrated more on plans for the future than on fundraising during these challenging economic times. The committee focused on fundraising to support some of the Foundations programs with less focus on the endowment fund. Recognizing the need to maintain programs during a downturn, the 2016 Foundation budget has trimmed expenses but will still maintain their programs without any significant funding reductions.

In the current environment, the committee understands that donations will not be at the levels seen in previous years. Taking a proactive stance, they are focusing on providing future donors more options to help support individual programs or more generally through supporting the long term sustainability of the CSEG Foundation. One option being developed with the advice of consultant Derek Fraser is a planned giving option, encouraging gifts from the estates of our CSEG members. Another option is alumni support for scholarships and other university programs, which was originally launched at an alumni reception held before the challenge bowl at the 2015 GeoConvention. If you are interested in supporting students from your former post-secondary institution you may add your alumni information to your online CSEG member profile. There are opportunities to support Scholarships or help students more generally through and Outreach and Travel Grants and Learning Subsidies Programs.

The FDC co-chairs are John Boyd, Andreas Cordsen, Brian Russell (past co-chair). The co-chairs received support and assistance from a number of volunteers including Doug Bogstie, Dave Bonar, Marc Boulet, Mike Clement, Sean Contenti, Dennis Ellison, Brian Emerson, George Fairs, Tooney Fink, Larry Herd, Helen Isaac, Perry Kotkas, Stephen Kotkas, Jennifer Leslie-Panek, Sandy Lucas, Annette Milbradt, Kim Nevada, Hassan Odhwani, Tiffany Piercey, Laurie Ross, Neil Rutherford, plus support from our office staff, Jim Racette, and Alyssa Middleton. Derek Fraser, professional fundraising advisor, was contracted to help develop a fundraising strategies.

The campaign’s success to date is a product of not only the generous donations of individuals and corporations, but from the leadership and efforts of our CSEG volunteers. The Foundation hopes that previous and future donors will take heart in the fact that their donations have a direct and significant impact in allowing the Foundation to maintain its many programs in both good and difficult times.

Kevin Bianchini
in collaboration with the Fund Development Committee



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