Amber Stark

SIOP Foundation Celebrates its 25th Anniversary

It might be hard to imagine SIOP without the awards, grants, and scholarships offered by the Foundation. Yet, it wasn’t until 1996 that the Foundation was established with a $25,000 donation from SIOP Fellow, and 1969-1970 SIOP President, Bill Owens.

Of course, whether to start a Foundation was not an easy decision to make.

Owens would only make the donation if it could be tax deductible, so the Executive Committee (which we refer to today as the Executive Board) discussed that at a meeting held in 1995. Committee member Elaine Pulakos put forth a report showing that the only way to do this would be to establish 501(c)(3) status. Upon hearing this, the Executive Committee actually turned down the request. What happened next can be found on page 87 in this TIP article, but ultimately the decision was approved and there began the SIOP Foundation.

Next steps included gathering donations, deciding how to distribute money to winners, finding a way to pay for expenses, and similar preparations. Gathering data and donations was successful enough that by December 31, 1996, the planning steps had been completed and the SIOP Foundation funds totaled $52,787. Next steps included locating a board of trustees and officers and receiving the proper tax designation.

The field of I-O has certainly evolved over the last 25 years, and the Foundation has supported the research that contributed to these advancements. When the Foundation was finally ready to start distributing scholarships, there were only three awards: The William A. Owens, The M. Scott Myers, and the John C. Flanagan awards. Today, that number has increased to 37.

Today, the Foundation’s assets have grown, with endowment contributions and pledges exceeding $3.7M, plus $2.9M more in market earnings. Funds distributed have surpassed $2M.

A lot has been accomplished in the last 25 years, but where do we go from here?

“In the next couple of years, I’d like to see us double or triple the volume of annual payouts from the Foundation,” Milt Hakel said. “In the past 3 years, we’ve been much more effective at gathering pass-through gifts. The Anti-Racism Grants are an excellent case in point, because that’s just a little over a year old now, and we’ve put $100,000 into research grants that have gone to nine different winners. Most particularly, I’d like to see that double or triple in the next couple year.”

Hakel also has goals beyond the next few years.

“My hope is that 25 years from now, I-O professionals will still be giving at the office, in the form of their time, treasure, and talents, and the SIOP Foundation will be around to help focus philanthropy where it is needed,” he said. “The biggest benefit of having a Foundation comes in people being able to make investments into the future of the field. We’ve been able to benefit so much from the people who come before us.”

More information on becoming a SIOP Foundation donor and how to apply for an award can be found here. Keep an eye out for additional Foundation articles and social media posts as we celebrate this Silver Anniversary.

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