SIAM News Blog

Benjamin Franklin, Andrew Carnegie, and Other Friends of SIAM

By Ken Boyden

Charitable giving in the U.S. has a long and distinguished history, dating as far back as the 1636 founding of Harvard College with support from the Massachusetts Puritans, and the 1727 creation of “Junto,” an exclusive social club established by Benjamin Franklin that discussed philanthropic ideas for “the love of mankind in general.” In more modern times, we associate philanthropy with Andrew Carnegie and John D. Rockefeller, the Ford and MacArthur Foundations, and the Gates-Buffett Pledge, which encourages many of the world’s ultra wealthy to commit 50 percent of their estate assets to charity. Indeed, numerous leading 501c3 charitable organizations currently rely on philanthropic generosity to grow and prosper.

Fundraising to support SIAM, our mission, and our work involves a far more proactive strategy than awaiting the passing of our friends and supporters before learning about bequests or testamentary trusts to the society in their estate plans. While we are always extraordinarily grateful to be included in estate plans through any deferred giving vehicle, we much prefer to learn of such important and impactful expressions of support during the lives of our donors.

It is with the philanthropic support of our global donors that SIAM strives to enable and advance its core purpose to build cooperation between mathematics and the worlds of science and technology. Through the recent addition of the position of Director of Development and Corporate Relations, SIAM leadership has made a tangible commitment to solicit and professionally manage donations, celebrate and recognize our donors’ generosity, and grow support for our priority areas. These priorities include the growth of endowment funds to ensure in perpetuity the continuation of our Visiting Lecturer Program and various prizes; ongoing student travel funding; professional development and fellowship programs; production of leading publications; and continuing policy work and advocacy.

Gifts of all types impact this effort. In addition to estate plans, outright donations in more traditional forms such as cash, checks, or credit cards are the most common type of annual gift that SIAM receives. Larger gifts typically involve a meeting and conversation with the donor to ensure our understanding of the donation’s purpose and ascertain that its use will stay true to both the donor’s wishes and SIAM’s mission.

Of course, we are happy to discuss in confidence the wishes of any donor who is considering a planned bestowal such as a bequest, trust, charitable gift annuity, real estate contribution, retirement account beneficiary distribution, appreciated security, insurance, or even the gifted rights to intellectual property. Friends of SIAM who have previously made estate provisions that included SIAM without advance notification before their passing have been truly influential; we only regret the missed opportunity to say “thank you” during their lifetime.

SIAM’s mission and work have surely played a significant role in virtually all innovations related to healthcare, communications, aerospace, data science, and climate research, among other areas. The continued support of our members and allies assures SIAM’s enduring leadership role as the fields of applied and industrial mathematics doggedly pursue resolutions to the persistent problems of society at large. Moreover, SIAM’s positive impact on the scientific lives and careers of its members has helped further applied mathematics and other related disciplines.

Please consider supporting SIAM with your generosity today and in the future. Your financial assistance will help us advance the application of mathematics and computational science to engineering, industry, science, and society. Similarly, your support will allow us to continue to foster the exchange of ideas and promote research that yields effective mathematical and computational methods and techniques.

If you wish, let us know of your plans. We are always happy to meet with our friends. Read more about donating or email me directly at [email protected].

Ken Boyden, Esquire is the Director of Development and Corporate Relations at SIAM. 
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