The American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (ASPRS) has launched the ASPRS Foundation Inc., an independently registered entity that will raise, invest, and grant funds to the ASPRS Awards and Scholarships Program. This brings back to ASPRS the original American Society of Photogrammetry (ASP) Foundation that was initially formed in 1979, and later transformed to become the International Geographic Information Foundation (IGIF).

The ASPRS Foundation Inc. is headed by a Board of Trustees. Dr. Thomas Lillesand is the President, Roger Crystal is the Vice President and Secretary, and Mike Renslow is the Treasurer. All three are past presidents of ASPRS. ASPRS Executive Director James Plasker will serve as Executive Director and ex officio member of the Board and Jesse Winch, ASPRS Awards Program Manager, will serve as Assistant Executive Director. Over time, the Board of Trustees will expand. New Trustees will be appointed by the ASPRS President. The Trustees are responsible for the investment, management, and approval of grants of Foundation funds. Trustees do not receive any salary or other compensation for their services.

In late 2003, the ASPRS Board of Directors decided to explore the reacquisition and renaming of the original ASP Foundation (most recently known as the International Geographic Information Foundation, or IGIF). If this action was not possible, the ASPRS Board directed the establishment of a new "ASPRS Foundation" whose primary purpose would be to advance the understanding and use of imaging and geospatial information for the betterment of humankind and the effective operation of public and private organizations. However, Mr. Plasker was able to negotiate an agreement with the Association of American Geographers (AAG), a sister society and longtime co-sponsor of the IGIF, to enable ASPRS to re-establish stewardship over the organization. "We sought to maintain the continuity of the original Foundation as a key element of the transition strategy, so that a clear path could be traced by the IRS and the courts from the inception of the organization as the ASP Foundation in 1979 through the "˜IGIF' period to what we intend to have permanently as the ASPRS Foundation," Plasker explained. "The ASPRS Foundation is the very future of the mission of the Society; how wonderful that we are now in a position, both financially and organizationally, to re-embark on this effort."

Plasker gave significant credit to his counterpart at AAG, Executive Director Dr. Doug Richardson, in making this transition possible. "Doug clearly understood the long-term history of the Foundation, and the special relationship ASPRS had to it's founding. Doug went the extra mile to ensure that both AAG's interests as well as ASPRS's were addressed in the transition. I have to give Doug the highest degree of credit and appreciation for working with ASPRS to accomplish this result."

The ASPRS Foundation will establish an extensive and broadly-based program that provides grants, scholarships, loans and other forms of aid to individuals or organizations pursuing knowledge of imaging and geospatial information science and technology, and their applications across the scientific, governmental, and commercial sectors. A key short-term goal of the Foundation is to fully endow all existing ASPRS awards and scholarships.

Contributions to the ASPRS Foundation are invited from individuals, businesses, and organizations that see value in supporting the goals and programs of the Foundation. The Foundation Trustees will review proposed large donations and any terms specified by the donor to ensure that the donation will legitimately and substantially enhance the charitable programs of the Foundation and that any conditions associated with the donation can be met. ASPRS has currently set aside a total of $30,000 from the Society's reserve fund to match individual ASPRS member and regional contributions to the Foundation. This amount is likely to be increased in the future as donations accrue.

The activities, bylaws, operating procedures, and Board of Trustees are listed on the website.

Source: ASPRS, April 13, 2005