The local United Way campaign just kicked off, and the folks over on ScienceBlogs started up their Donors Choose program (click on over and help Isis win). As the leaves fall, so should dollars into important programs.
I decided to become a philanthropist shortly after taking my first faculty position in 1991. The funding climate, similar to today, was brutal for a new PI. I knew my best chances were with private foundations, especially local groups. So there was some self-interest in my initial volunteer efforts; however, I figured that it was my job to enable biomedical research, even if I never saw a dime.
Eventually, I did get some of that money, and it led to bigger and better grants. I still believe in keeping up the efforts. In the current economic climate, those same organizations and foundations are the only source of funding for many new investigators or for those whose idea isn’t quite ready for prime time (the NIH).
That’s why I am giving to enrich elementary science programs. That’s why I dragged my butt out of bed on a cold, soggy morning yesterday to volunteer at the local American Diabetes Association Walk (the balloon release at left kicked it off). That’s why I made time Friday to do a promotional interview about the Nebraska Kidney Association. This stuff is important, both now and tomorrow.
Cylinder artwork courtesy of PhotoXpress.