Recently the Academy received two bequests - one was directed to a specific activity where the donor had intimate knowledge and commitment to the Academy’s education programs. The other was directed to the Australian Futures Science Fund which supports the future work at the Academy as prioritised by council.
We were notified about one of them, the other was a complete surprise. At opposite ends of the spectrum in magnitude and purpose, they’ve helped the Academy to consolidate support for existing projects, and start others from scratch.
We are grateful to receive them and honoured by their trust in the Academy’s commitment to supporting science in Australia.
Recently, Professor Michael (Mike) Dopita AM FAA met with Academy staff to advise of his pledged bequest to the Academy.
As a former treasurer, Mike has an appreciation of the Academy’s needs. The pure delight with which Mike spoke of his pledged bequest and his deep understanding of the Academy’s needs were obvious. Mike’s bequest represents a significant donation, one that is not tied to a specific activity of the Academy. By giving to the Australian Futures Science Fund Mike’s gift will allow us to advance our work.
Mike Dopita writes:
In my over 6 years as Treasurer of the Academy, I was constantly amazed by the enthusiasm, professionalism and dedication of the staff. They work to educate the general public on key issues such as climate change and the need for vaccination, labour tirelessly to instil a knowledge and understanding of science at both primary and secondary levels as an investment in Australia's future science literacy, build Australia's connections and standing with our international peers, and lobby and cajole Australia’s politicians to help develop more rationalpolicies with respect to science, STEM education and renewable energy.
At the same time, in my function as Treasurer, I was acutely aware of the limitations on our ability to act placed upon us by our budgetary limitations, and on more than one occasion a promising initiative could not be developed due to a lack of funding.
This is where bequests could help. Too often, the temptation of a giver is to memorialise one's own field of science, through striking a medal or creating a special purpose fund. This is eminently understandable, but does not greatly assist the functioning of the Academy in the long run. What is desperately needed now are untied donations which can be used for whatever purpose Council or EXCOM requires to develop the core mission of the Academy. For this reason, I have now made a binding bequest to the Academy of Science designed to add to the Australia Futures Science Fund, in the sure knowledge that the money will be well-spent in securing a more healthy, literate, rational and science-driven future for all Australians.
The Academy is a vital resource for the nation as it prepares for a future increasingly influenced by science and technology. To continue its important work promoting scientific excellence in Australia the Academy must secure its own long-term financial sustainability and independence.
In the tradition of truly great endowment funds such as that of Harvard University, the Australian Academy of Science has created the Australian Futures Science Fund.
As a supporter of the Academy of Science’s Australian Futures Science Fund, you will help to create a legacy that will not only guarantee the Academy’s financial independence, but will continue to promote scientific excellence in this nation for generations to come.
© 2020 Australian Academy of Science