Campaign to strengthen ASM’s international and diversity programs

We face challenging times. As markets and the overall economy decline, so does ASM’s ability to support many of the programs that make us unique. The Society has long prided itself in supporting the next generation of mammalogists; last year alone ASM provided $182,700 in support of students and early-career professionals through multiple programs. However, any award or fellowship that is not sustained by funds specifically designated for that program is at risk of being cut or even eliminated in years when the economy underperforms.

Through the generosity of numerous supporters, many of our grants and awards are fully sustained in this way and thus not susceptible to budget cuts. Others, however, remain far short of this goal. The ASM Fellowship is funded at such a small percent of what is needed to support it that it is on the chopping block in almost every annual budget discussion. The Future Mammalogists Fund has considerable support, but is still well short of the amount needed to provide the current number of student research grants, much less increase award size in step with the rising cost of conducting research. Supplemental funds from the Reserve Fund have been used to fortify these programs every year.

Two of our highly valued student programs are on the margin. The Latin American Student Fund can currently support five awards at $1,500 each, and the African Research Fund can support three. The number of applications for these awards greatly exceeds the number of grants awarded, but increases in the number of awards are not likely in the current economic environment. The new Black and Indigenous Scholars Fund can currently support about 67% of the $3,000 requested for 2022.

ASM is announcing a campaign to expand support of the African Research Fund to the level of five annual awards, the Latin American Student Fund to the level of seven awards, and the Black and Indigenous Scholars Fund to the level where it can provide $5,000 annually. This would require about $70,000 each for the African and Latin American funds (it takes about $35,000 to support a $1,500 award at 4.5% of principal), and about $62,000 for the Black and Indigenous Scholars Fund. The campaign will begin on November 15, 2022, and close on May 31, 2023.

As ASM is co-hosting the IMC in Anchorage next year, think of what a great impression it will make when we announce that in times of adversity, ASM is not just reaffirming but expanding its support of diversity in mammalogy. To help reach these goals, the ASM Board of Directors has agreed to “match” all donations (up to half of each amount listed above) by dedicating an equivalent amount to the fund from the Reserve Fund.

Please help us show the international mammalogical community how dedicated the ASM is to promoting diversity by making a donation of any size here. All donations during the campaign will be matched until our goals are met, so your contribution at this time will count for twice as much!  Thanks in advance for your support.

Enrique Lessa
President, American Society of Mammalogists

Ed Heske
Chair, ASM Development Committee