ESA Annual Fund for the Millennium

Dear ESA Members,

“It’s a funny thing about life; if you refuse to accept anything but the best, you very often get it.” So said American author W. Somerset Maugham. That is an apt description of our professional society as well. Our ten thousand members expect the best of this organization and we have continued to receive the best. I am proud of ESA and everything we have stood for over the last ninety-two years. When we welcomed our ten thousandth member this summer, it was clear that we have not yet peaked. We just keep getting better. How many professional societies can say that after nearly 100 years of existence?

Another area of growth for ESA is through our support as members of our Annual Fund for the Millennium. Former President Bill Schlesinger and our Executive Director Katherine McCarter had the foresight almost nine years ago to conceive of this annual fund as a way to grow the financial stability of ESA as we grew in membership. Since that time, the Governing Board has been committed to using the resources generated through the Millennium Fund to launch new and innovative activities. By using the fund to build the organizations programs and services, we seek to strengthen ESA’s impact by reaching out beyond our profession.

Thanks to the start up dollars provided through the Millennium Fund, Rapid Response Teams composed of ESA experts are available to provide vital information to congressional offices, the administration and other scientists through briefings and testimony.

Past President Nancy Grimm brought the concept of the Millennium Conference to the Governing Board in 2007 to provide ESA members with the opportunity to organize special conferences highlighting emerging, exciting ideas in ecology with the endorsement and support of the Society. Organizers are encouraged to work across disciplinary boundaries, engage compelling speakers, and produce high-quality publications. The target date for this first Millennium Conference is early 2009. A rigorous competition is underway to select a topic for the first conference that will be announced this spring.The Rapid Response Teams and the 2009 Millennium Conference represent the kind of outreach that takes ecology to another level. At this time of year when we all receive so many messages about the need for giving, I hope you will remember ESA and support the Millennium Fund. If you have given to the fund for 2007, that is great! Consider another year-end tax-deductible contribution. If you have never given to the fund, start this month. Did you know that less than 1000 ESA members actually contribute to the Millennium Fund? Just 100 new contributors by the end of the year will make a significant difference. You can donate online at

If you are looking for a different way to support the fund, consider making a gift of appreciated securities or other investments. Tax laws make this kind of donation particularly beneficial at this time. You receive the tax deduction for the gift and avoid capital gains taxes on your investment. Talk to your broker or financial advisor about how such a contribution can benefit both you and ESA at the end of the year. Call ESA staff members, Elizabeth Biggs (gro.asenull@zil, 202-833-8773 ext. 203) or Ramona Crawford (gro.asenull@anomar, 202-833-8773 ext. 212) if this approach is of interest to you.

Finally, this is a great time to think about making a Planned Gift to ESA. Planned Gifts are in many ways the most committed donation to your profession. Let Liz or Ramona know if you would like to talk about a Planned Gift. Happy Holidays,Norman Christensen, President

Ecological Society of America