January is the time for New Year’s resolutions to become commitments reflecting on life’s priorities and making changes in what we do. One of my resolutions is to work harder to pass on a vibrant and flourishing Society to the next generation of scientists by spending more energy for SIVB. My rationale is simply that a non-profit, professional society is critical for helping to steer our science on the course to serve, not only some of our own interests, but more importantly all of humankind. I’d like to ask each of you to join me in being generous with your time and your resources for many unique initiatives that we’ve recently undertaken together. Previously I had appealed to all of you to step up your commitment, particularly with our student initiative (free registration for all students attending the annual meeting and a free SIVB membership for one year), and I’m thankful that many of you responded.
In particular, I want to acknowledge how some members have shown great support. Bob Lawrence and Barbara Doonan secured a contribution from their company, UST Inc., for an additional $15,000 above regular generous gifts SIVB has received from this corporate source. Significantly, this support has been leveraged to recommend SIVB for a $27,000 government award, and Sarwan Dhir was instrumental in spearheading this effort. In addition, a group of members, including Dave Ellis, Cynthia Goodman, Barbara Reed, Mary Ann Lila, and Wayne Parrott, were inspired to submit another government grant proposal that could also bring in funding with five figures. John Harbell committed resources for the SIVB to pay for the services of a professional fundraiser that has enabled the Development Committee to approach a number of funds that were previously unknown potential donors to the Society. I’m sure that I might have missed other contributions, and I apologize if I inadvertently left anyone off of the growing roster, but I wouldn’t want to omit mentioning the Society’s Vice President, Dave Songstad, who has coordinated these efforts with me and assumed the key leadership in revitalizing our fundraising efforts.
Now, I’m humbled that such commitments were recently forthcoming as a result of our current Board’s appeal and the small bully pulpit that some of us can use. However, SIVB cannot stand on accolades for this initial success! I want to make a stronger appeal to all of you to add to what we can do for bringing vision and opportunity to the students who are the future of our science. Can those of you from the corporate world make an effort to get your company to add to the generosity of UST? Can those of you from the academic world make the effort to get colleagues to join and to give personal donations for the same goal? Can any member start an effort to put in a grant or an application for funding our meeting, our student initiative, our publishing enterprises, our public service efforts, or other ideas? The best tribute to the colleagues who have achieved some success would be to multiply the contribution total by several folds. In the end, you will receive something back, though not necessarily any tangible reward that will provide great satisfaction.
Finally, I would be remiss if we only concentrated on monetary contributions. There have been so many individuals who contributed service to the SIVB with their time and energy. Dennis Laska has been able to obtain tremendous support for the 2007 Annual Meeting and has taken an initiative to provide leadership for a new standing committee focusing on providing better support and new formats for future annual meetings. Paul Price has been diligently working with the Long Range Planning Committee to provide analysis for a comprehensive strategic plan. Richard Heller, SIVB Treasurer, has contributed an enormous amount of time to help contain costs and to manage our resources wisely. Our membership at the end of 2004 showed a 10% increase over the total at the end of 2003, so everyone who assisted solicitation of a colleague can be given kudos from the Society.
I come back to the subject of what we can build upon, and whether your New Year’s resolution list might include helping SIVB. What might we achieve together when looking back a year from now? I would like to think that it will be more than we thought possible.