The American Rhododendron Society Establishes A Grant Program
William A. Mangels
Chair, ARS Endowment Fund Committee
At its April 2002 meeting in Atlanta, the Board of Directors achieved a significant milestone when it established a grant program to assist in fostering the Society's purpose of encouraging "the culture of rhododendrons, including azaleas, and the increase of the general understanding of and interest in all aspects of these plants."
This includes support of the Society's educational and publishing activities. Up until now, the American Rhododendron Society (ARS) has not utilized its endowment funds, in large part due to the small amount of income produced. Previously the Board took the position of having the corpus grow before considering any potential use. However, as a result of board action taken in April, the earned income generated each year in excess of inflation can be available for use. This precedent setting event should greatly help chapters and committees with a variety of projects and programs.
This change in position by the Board is the result of a $342,000 bequest received from the estate of Dr. John E. Swisher in 2000. This gift was made without restriction so that the Board placed the funds into the Society's Endowment Fund. The endowment fund is now in excess of $540,000 and is now capable of producing significant income to benefit the ARS at large.
The program is under development and further information will be forthcoming in the next issue of the ARS Journal. Application guidelines will be available at that time.