ASA Leadership Campaign
Begins by Raising $300,000 for MFP
by Jean Shin, ASA Minority Affairs Program
The lapel pin worn by campaign leaders
at the ASA Annual Meeting
Over its 35 year history, core support for MFP has come from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), which recently announced that it will no longer support scholarly association-based training programs, thereby ending its MFP funding by July 2010. This means a loss of $450,000 annually to support fellowship stipends and related program expenses.
The first phase of the ASA fundraising campaign has been a "quiet" one. Individual ASA members were asked privately to pledge $1000 a year for five years. Approved by ASA Council in the winter of 2009, the campaign is designed as the first step to secure the future of the Minority Fellowship Program. It is intended to provide direct funding, encourage additional ASA member support, and demonstrate the commitment of ASA members to MFP, thus enabling the association to broker additional support from foundations, federal agencies, and private organizations.
The impressive results of the "silent" phase of the now-public campaign in less than five months show the strong support ASA members have about the past, present, and especially the future of the Minority Fellowship Program. This commitment has long been present in financial contributions, although not at the significant levels the leadership campaign has shown possible. For years, many individual ASA members have contributed small amounts to the MFP general fund when renewing their memberships. The approximately $18,000 raised per year for MFP through the membership’s charitable giving shows broad member financial support, but has not tapped the potential level of support indicated by the new leadership campaign.
The $500,000 Goal
The initial goal is to identify a minimum of 100 campaign leaders, raising the leadership contribution to at least $500,000. At the Annual Meeting, campaign leaders already in place wore a gold-colored lapel pin indicating their membership in the "MFP 100" and encouraging others to join them. The addition of new leaders since then suggests the power of the appeal.
The leadership campaign was initiated by a subcommittee of ASA Council, led by immediate past Vice-President Margaret Andersen (University of Delaware). In early 2009, members of Council suggested names of ASA members who were thought to have both a particular interest in and the ability to make a significant donation to MFP during the silent phase of the campaign. Andersen and Executive Officer Sally T. Hillsman contacted individuals beginning in March, asking them to participate as MFP campaign leaders. Both Hillsman and Andersen reported that the response of all those asked, even if they were unable to donate at the leadership level, was extraordinarily gratifying and demonstrated the commitment of ASA members to MFP. The leadership phase of the public MFP campaign will continue into the months ahead.
The Minority Fellowship Program has always received funding from multiple sources, although its core funding has been the T-32 training grant from NIMH with co-funding from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) more recently. MFP, however, is a program of the ASA run on behalf of the entire discipline. Sociologists throughout the United States provide financial support through ASA’s organizational partners in the discipline, including Alpha Kappa Delta (AKD), Sociologists for Women in Society (SWS), the Midwest Sociological Society (MSS), the Association of Black Sociologists (ABS), and the Southwestern Sociological Association (SSA). AKD and SWS each currently support an entire MFP general fellowship with a stipend at $15,000 per year.
Over the past 35 years, MFP has supported 474 minority doctoral students, approximately 280 of whom have received PhDs in sociology (with many still enrolled in doctoral programs across the United States). It is not surprising, therefore, that almost one-fifth of all minority doctoral degree recipients in sociology since 1995 have been supported by the Minority Fellowship Program. Former MFP Fellows include some of our most prominent members, such as ASA immediate past President Patricia Hill Collins, 2009 Cox-Johnson-Frazier Award recipient Aldon D. Morris (Northwestern University), and many others (some of whom will be featured in an upcoming Footnotes article on the impact of MFP scholarship through the decades).
During 2009-2010, MFP is supporting 20 doctoral fellows, including the new 36th cohort of nine Fellows (see the July/August Footnotes). The newest cohort went through a day-long orientation on Friday, August 7, just prior to the start of the 2009 Annual Meeting, where they heard research presentations and professional development advice from more recent former Fellows Tony N. Brown (Vanderbilt University), Nadia Kim (Loyola Marymount University), and Roberta Espinoza (California State University-Fullerton), among others.
In the coming year, the campaign for MFP will continue as ASA asks members to provide financial support to the program at the leadership level or any level members find appropriate as part of their annual charitable giving. Doing so signals the breadth and depth of our members’ commitment as the ASA seeks new institutional support for MFP. Financial contributions to MFP, as well as to other ASA activities that directly benefit members, is also a way of giving back to professional communities that support the work of all sociologists.
There are multiple ways ASA members have and will continue to show support of association programs that contribute significantly to strengthening the discipline. Members can make a multiple year pledge or annual contributions. Some members have donated royalties from book projects. MFP can be a recipient designated in your will through a "legacy gift." The association is also exploring the possibility of matching contributions from publishers and other private organizations. Members can expect to hear more about these different efforts in the months ahead.
To contribute to the leadership campaign or for more information, contact Margaret Andersen (email@example.com).
The full list of campaign donors will be posted at the end of 2009. At its August meeting, Council passed a resolution to recognize and thank those who have taken the lead in this campaign:
"Council extends its gratitude to the ASA members who contributed so generously to the MFP Leadership 100 Campaign in 2009 by pledging significant support to the Minority Fellowship Program for the next five years. Their exemplary generosity will help ensure that ASA can continue to support the graduate education of students who enhance the diversity of our discipline, and it will inspire others to join this Association-wide effort. On behalf of the Council of the American Sociological Association, its members, and especially the talented graduate students who will benefit from these gifts, we extend our recognition and thanks for your leadership."