The Florida Aquatic Plant Management Society Scholarship and Research Foundation, Inc. celebrated its Silver Anniversary in 2010. Since its inception in 1986, the foundation has been comprised entirely of FAPMS past presidents who have donated countless hours to the advancement of the Foundation and FAPMS. In addition to celebrating the foundation’s 25th Anniversary in 2010, members reached another milestone when the endowment reached $100,000! To date, the foundation has awarded 16 William L. Maier Jr. Memorial Scholarships and 62 Paul C. Myers Applicator Dependent Scholarships. A total of $76,450 has been awarded to worthy individuals over the past twenty five years. This is an amazing accomplishment for the foundation as well as for the aquatic plant management industry.
Since 2002, the Foundation has contributed $1,000 annually to the Aquatic Plant Management Society (APMS) Graduate Student Stipend. The APMS awards graduate student stipends to a research institution using contributions from the APMS, regional chapters, the Aquatic Ecosystems Restoration Foundation (AERF), and individual sponsors. The recipient is chosen by a panel of APMS and regional chapter representatives to conduct research on nationally significant aquatic plant management issues.
William L. Maier Jr. was a charter member of FAPMS, President in 1982 and on the Board of Directors from 1978-1980. He conceived and developed Aquatics magazine, the official publication of the Florida Aquatic Plant Management Society, and was its first editor (1979-1980). The William L. Maier Jr. Memorial Scholarship award is based on each applicant’s potential contribution to the science of aquatic plant management as demonstrated by past academic performance, field of study, and his or her philosophy of aquatic plant management as expressed in a required essay. This scholarship is typically awarded to a junior, senior, post-bachelor or graduate student who is enrolled in an accredited university or college in Florida, and majoring in a field of study directly related to the management of freshwater or aquatic vegetation for the ecological benefit of aquatic or freshwater environments. This scholarship is not awarded every year.
Scholarship applications are reviewed and ranked by a selection committee comprised of a chairperson, three Scholarship Foundation members, and three FAPMS members appointed by the current FAPMS President. Both the Myers and Maier Scholarship applications are evaluated based on a short essay and the quality and thoroughness of the application. Interest in the scholarships has grown as more applicator’s dependents/students learn of this opportunity.
Typically, 70-80% of the foundation’s annual income is dispersed in the form of scholarships. The goal is to strike a balance between awarding annual scholarships to deserving students and creating a self-sustaining endowment fund. The endowment fund has steadily grown over the years. Other than annual corporate filings with the State of Florida, there are no administrative expenditures incurred by the foundation. In an effort to increase constituent support, the FAPMS Board of Directors voted to contribute $5 per member each year from annual membership dues to the Scholarship and Research Foundation. The Foundation also sponsors a Silent Auction, an annual raffle, and the very popular Rubber Duck Race at the FAPMS annual meeting. Items for the Silent Auction are graciously donated by foundation members and vendors. Raffle ticket sales for door prizes and a grand prize at the annual meeting continue to be the mainstay of the foundation’s fundraising by adding $3,000 to $4,000 per year to the endowment. The sponsorship list for door prize donations and other fund raisers has also grown significantly- from four to sixteen sponsors over the past six years. Since 2008, the annual Rubber Duck Race has been a popular event that adds nearly $3,000 to the Foundation’s endowment. The society and the foundation depend heavily on sponsors and we sincerely appreciate their generosity and continued support. The most important participation in fundraising events, however, is by FAPMS members through annual dues, sponsorships, attendance at the annual meeting, purchasing raffle tickets and other FAPMS items, and buying ducks for the rubber duck races, all of which helps to support and fund the Scholarship and Research Foundation.
The foundation’s primary mission is to continue to support the members of FAPMS as well as promote academic interest in the field of aquatic plant management. The foundation’s annual fundraising goal is always to exceed the previous year’s goal, but we need your continued support to do so. When starting a planned giving program or when deciding to make a donation, please consider the foundation. Remember, the foundation is a non-profit, tax-exempt, charitable organization. Please support the local organization that locally supports you! We thank all of the Scholarship and Research Foundation members, FAPMS Board of Directors, Officers, Members and sponsors for supporting the foundation and FAPMS. It would not be possible without you!