Response to Covid-19 pandemic: As a result of the global Covid-19 pandemic and its severe economic impact, the KEGS Foundation, like nearly every organization, has had to pivot abruptly in mid-March from previously announced programs and initiatives, to focus on ways to assist current scholarship recipients and other students to continue with their geophysical education in the 'new normal' that will ultimately emerge.
Renewal of scholarship program for 2020/21: As previously announced, the Foundation has renewed its core scholarship program for 2020/21, and recently advised that the deadline was extended to April 30, to ensure that interested students had ample time to apply in the new virtual environment (see details in the circulated poster and on the Foundation's website). The response rate was quite high after the deadline was extended. Decisions should be announced by early July, as students grapple with their education funding, including recently announced federal assistance.
Collett Research Fellowship: The Foundation is considering alternative approaches to extending support to innovative Canadian PhD and post-doc researchers to advance their research, as will be announced if a suitable framework and sufficient funding is established.
Collaboration with KEGS and other organizations: The Foundation is continuing its efforts to collaborate closely with KEGS, BCGS, TGDG and other geo-organizations in advancing geophysical and related education and achieving useful synergy between groups and events, including supporting current scholarship recipients who attended the KEGS Symposium on Feb. 29 ahead of the 2020 PDAC Convention (March 1-4) as well as Foundation events.
Alumni affairs: The Foundation continues to follow with interest the careers of the now more than 275 past scholarship recipients as they pursue further education and ultimately employment, and encourages donations to the Foundation by past awardees with established careers to support current and future students. It was noted with pleasure that several of the authors of presentations at the KEGS Symposium were past recipients of scholarships from KEGS or the KEGS Foundation.
Financial Overview: The financial report for the Foundation for FY 2019 (ending July 13, 2019) has been posted on the Foundation’s website, and the required annual tax filing completed and submitted to the CRA. Although the economic impact of the pandemic has caused significant decrease in certain investments, including a portion of the Collett legacy gift in 2017, thanks to its conservative investment policy, the Foundation's finances remain reasonably sound, and sufficient to fund its core scholarship program for 2020/21, although likely at a slightly reduced level. However, additional donations by sustaining and new donors are needed and are being actively sought to enhance the funds available to sustain Foundation's core scholarship at recent levels.
Donations and fundraising efforts: While regular donations are obviously affected by the pandemic, thanks are extended to those who have recently donated in renewing their KEGS membership. Individual donors are reminded that they can double the impact of their tax-deductible donations by taking advantage of the continuing matching donation program generously funded by Phoenix Geophysics (individual donations are eligible to be matched up to $250 per year; see details).
Governance and management: The Foundation remains focused on adapting to the ever-changing societal, business and technological environment, so as to be relevant and effective in achieving its overall educational objectives as it expands the breadth of its activities in collaboration with KEGS, BCGS and the SEG Foundation. In terms of achieving a planned transition in management and ensuring active and relevant governance, long-serving Director Stephen Reford, previously Acting Chair, was appointed Chair, succeeding Jerry Roth, who will remain a Director for another year, as part of implementing a more collegial governance structure with greater roles and designated responsibilities by each of the nine volunteer Directors. These matters were further considered at the annual Board meeting on March 1, and discussed with supporters at the Foundation's AGM on March 5.
Recap of pre-pandemic shutdown activities
Collet Distinguished Visiting Lecturer: Short Course and Lectures: Prof. Michel Zhdanov (University of Utah and TechnoImaging), the 2020 Collett Distinguished Visiting Lecturer for the spring term, delivered lectures on Feb. 29 and March 6 and presented a half-day short course on inversion on March 5 (AM) at the UofT, arranged to be aligned with the PDAC Convention and the KEGS Symposium. Depending on circumstances prevailing at the time of the winter term, it is hoped to renew this well-received program for the spring of 2021.
Veterans Reunion / After Party Feb 29: The Foundation again hosted its popular informal Veterans Reunion/After Party at Grace O'Malley's on Saturday, Feb. 29 following the KEGS Geophysical Symposium, with a number of current scholarship students participating.
Board meeting (March 1) and AGM (March 3): The Foundation held its annual Board meeting of Directors and Counselors on Sunday morning, March 1 to consider its governance, programs and finances, including formalizing the appointment of Stephen Reford as Chair succeeding Jerry Roth. The regular Annual General Meeting was held on Tuesday, March 3 at 9:00 am immediately following the annual KEGS Breakfast.
KEGS Special Lecture program: As previously noted, nine lectures were presented under the successful KEGS Special Lecture program during the 2019\20 academic year, in many instances accompanied by presentation of some of the twenty current scholarship awards. Many thanks are extended to the nine volunteer Special Lecturers for undertaking these important and well-received educational efforts on behalf of the Foundation. Depending on how universities are functioning in the coming year, the program may be renewed and/or modified in light of prevailing circumstances.