It was great to see so many of you during the AAUS Virtual Symposium last month! While we couldn’t meet in person, the day was a rousing success and full of useful information. Thank you to the AAUS Board, Heather and all the folks who worked behind the scenes to make it happen.
As President of The AAUS Foundation (AAUSF or the Foundation) I’d like to provide a brief overview of what we do and who we are.
Although AAUS and the AAUS Foundation are intricately linked (the AAUS President appoints two Foundation board members), AAUSF is a separate non-profit corporation with a distinctive membership structure and designation. AAUS was incorporated as a 501(c)6 in 1983. AAUS is a not-for-profit mutual benefit corporation based in California. The Foundation is a 501(c)3 non-profit corporation, based in Alabama, and was formed in 2010 to support and promote the Academy’s mission of “facilitating the development of safe and productive scientific divers by supporting initiatives to enhance education, research and the advancement of scientific diving practice”. Donations to the AAUS Foundation may be tax deductible.
The Foundation was created to fund and support AAUS scholarships, internships, travel awards, operations and other initiatives. Additionally, AAUSF subsidizes a portion of the AAUS Office Manager’s salary.
We raise funds through a variety of methods including selling past symposium prints and cool underwater photographs, working with partners and corporate sponsors, and of course accepting donations.
The Foundation also benefits from legacies and generous benefactors such as the Flanagan Fund, internship support
from Martha Somers, Chuck and Kathy Mitchell, and through our partnership with the Our World Underwater Scholarship Society. Additionally, the Foundation Board is working on a larger fundraising plan including something bold and exciting in 2024 with one of our most dedicated partners…stay tuned.
The Foundation bylaws allow for formation of standing and ad-hoc committees. The standing committees of the Foundation are the Finance Committee, the Diversity and Outreach Committee (DOC), the Scholarship Committee, and the Elections Committee. We are actively recruiting committee volunteers, if you’re interested in helping please reach out to myself or any Foundation Board members.
All of this wouldn’t be possible without the support of the Academy and Board of Directors, the AAUS Office (that means Heather), and the tireless work of the AAUS Foundation Board of Directors: Anya Hanson (VP), University of Rhode Island; *Ross Whippo (Secretary), University of Washington; Michael Dardeau (Treasurer), Dauphin Island Sea Lab (ret.); Vin Malkoski, MA Division of Marine Fisheries; *Scott Chapman, Monterey Bay Aquarium; George Wozencraft, Our World Underwater Scholarship Society; and Christian McDonald, Scripps Institute of Oceanography. I’d also like to thank Lizzie McNamee (Diversity & Outreach Vice-Chair), Florida Atlantic University, and all of the current committee volunteers. A special thanks goes out to past Foundation board members for all of their considerable efforts.
Keep yourselves and your divers safe, healthy and happy and see you in Texas in 2022.
George Z. Peterson
Director of Dive Programs/Monterey Bay Aquarium
the AAUS President