Foundation Gifts Support Numerous IFT Programs
Since the December meeting of the IFT Foundation Board, I have reflected on the integral role the Foundation has played in the success of important IFT programs. Every IFT member is a beneficiary of the Foundation’s feats and the food industry has been strengthened by the generosity of IFT Foundation donors.
Did you know that the IFT Foundation disbursed $8.4 million for IFT programs between 1985 and August 31, 2004 . . . $8,494,243 to be exact? More than $4 million has been awarded in scholarships, fellowships, and awards. More than 2,400 scholarship and fellowship recipients have received $3.6 million since the Foundation’s inception. Jonathan Merkle, a member of the Foundation Board Corporate Team said, “I’ve been involved with the Foundation since I was a student and I have seen what the Foundation has done for the food industry and for the profession. I have stayed involved in order to provide future opportunities to advance the profession, the food industry, and the science.”
Each year, more than 3,000 IFT members, Sections, Divisions, companies, and allied organizations support IFT programs through donations to the IFT Foundation. Their support has funded innovative and valued programs and projects.
Donors to the foundation have provided more than $1,148,000 to support IFT Section, Division, and Student Assoc. programs.
Immediate Past-President Ann Hollingsworth was President of the Student Association from 1981-83. IFT Foundation, she said, funds programs that members recognize as an integral part of both their traditions and their future. “What the Foundation has done for IFT and for each of us, by extension, is to foster and build on the rich heritage that we have. Those of us who are more senior in our careers now know that the lifeblood of the organization and the profession is students. Programs funded by the Foundation allow us to continue and grow what we have built.”
IFT Expert Reports on Biotechnology, Functional Foods (for release in February 2005), and Antimicrobial Resistance (in process) were funded by the IFT Foundation. The Biotechnology Report was praised in Congress for its objective and comprehensive review of research. Funding has also been approved for an Expert Report on “Decision-Making When the Science is Incomplete.”
The IFT Foundation also funded the IFT Congressional Fellowship for five years. Each Congressional Fellow worked on Capitol Hill, providing science-based information to our legislators to shape national decision-making. Science-based communication on food-related issues has also been boosted by IFT’s Office of Science, Communication, and Government Relations. A grant from the IFT Foundation funded establishment of this office. Chicago hosted the IUFoST 12th World Congress of Food Science and Technology. The IFT Foundation donated $425,000 to the Congress.
In total, the Foundation has provided $2.8 million to improve science-based communications. “Foundation programs have allowed IFT to reach outside projects that might not be possible within the normal operating budget. It has allowed us to extend our influence beyond our traditional bounds and to communicate from a place of sound science beyond the borders of the scientific community,” said Merkle.
The IFT Foundation contributed $376,000 to the development and distribution of Career Guidance videos and program materials; a National Health Museum program; and workshops for high school teachers. Another $159,000 was provided for diversity initiatives, electronic continuing education courses, IFT Student Association projects, and Web communications.
In the next two years, the Foundation board will focus on fundraising to:
• Fund IFT core programs and incubator projects.
• Identify and fill knowledge gaps through research.
• Provide science-based information to consumers.
• Position IFT/Foundation globally to provide a safe and healthful food supply.
President-elect Margaret Lawson shares my enthusiasm for these new initiatives and was among the IFT and IFT Foundation leadership team that developed the Foundation’s current strategic plan. The goals are ambitious, and that ambition offers much to be passionate about.
All Foundation grants are focused on advancing sound science, on programs that support IFT’s Strategic Plan. Every donor and every gift are important to the Foundation’s efforts. An annual gift to the Foundation should be an essential part of your commitment to the future of food science and technology and your profession.
by HERBERT STONE
IFT President, 2004–05
President, Tragon Corp.
Redwood City, Calif.