The following is excerpted from the Foundation President’s report presented at the Annual Business Meeting, held July 5 at the Annual Gathering in Phoenix.
In an April 16 post on his blog, Seth Godin talked about impermanence and time and how our experience with it changes.
Godin proposes, “We have far more ability to make an impact than we expect. The only people who can change our culture (and thus our future) are us.” He notes, “We can’t control the future, but we can bend it. And we can’t freeze the world as it is, but we can figure out how to be a part of it.”
This quote caught my attention because it reminded me of the Mensa Foundation’s mission to make a positive impact on the future and benefit society by inspiring and empowering intellectually gifted people.
Our scholarship program continues to be robust. In the 2018-19 program year, 8,765 applications were received, and 186 students were awarded more than $138,000 at the local, regional, national, and international levels.
And we continue to see growth. One of the newest scholarships on the horizon is a Gen Y Mensa Scholarship, with funding support from the Gen Y Special Interest Group.
The Foundation’s international scholarships are garnering more attention. In 2019, about 70 entries were received from Mensans in 20-plus countries and judged by an international panel of Mensans from nine countries.
One of our strategic areas is advocacy for gifted youth. Last year, we approved a Gifted Education Fellowship for $5,000 to assist an outstanding educator in earning his or her graduate degree in gifted education. Next year, as planned, we are extending the program to include a second $5,000 fellowship in addition to renewing that of this year’s winner. Plus, we recently voted to begin a third fellowship specifically for a doctoral student in gifted education.
And now, we have decided to kick things up even more. The Board of Trustees voted to offer research mini-grants to both early career researchers and doctoral students in gifted education for research directly related to gifted education.
I’ve heard many comments from Mensans over the years who remember their own gifted education — or lack of it. We’re proud to be able to help those teachers dedicated to the gifted segment of “special education” so that future students receive the encouragement they deserve and need to excel.
All of this, and more, is possible only because of many dedicated people: volunteers, donors, board members, and staff.
In closing, I want to tell you a story about a donor, a very special donor. This person did not give a gift of money, nor was their donation to the Mensa Foundation. This person gave someone a lifesaving gift. They were an organ donor. Even though I don’t know this person, they are very special to me because I received their gift in a liver transplant earlier this year.
This life adventure has reminded me of how contributions — time, talent, and treasure — can make a difference well beyond the initial gift. Whatever way you have provided help and support to the Mensa Foundation, you have made an impact that extends into the future. Thank you for your support.