It’s true. If you build it, they will come. Last week in Kansas City ASBPE formally launched its tax-exempt educational foundation and the results are in: two dozen contributions from institutions and individuals. We’re well on our way to reaching our first-year goal of $30,000.
Everyone I talked to at the launch and throughout the national ASBPE conference said the same thing: a foundation dedicated to ending the stature gap between b2b and the consumer press in our university journalism programs is long overdue. Our plan to endow the country’s first b2b journalism chair at one of our country’s top universities and to offer generous scholarships to students committed to b2b journalism resonated more than I expected, and I went into the meeting with the highest hopes.
Of course, the foundation isn’t just about curriculum equality in our schools; it’s about helping editors today master the new-media skills they’ll need tomorrow to stay in the driver’s seat as content increasingly is delivered on platforms other than print. I talked to more than a dozen people about the role of the foundation in providing continuing education to b2b editors and each person nodded in agreement that editors must master video and other new-media resources or risk losing control over content as the migration away from print continues.
What’s clear is that editors and their publishers aren’t just agreeing to the need for the ASBPE Foundation; they’re committing themselves to making it happen. Questex Media in Cleveland and CFO magazine in Boston (part of The Economist Group), Access Intelligence of Rockville, Md., and the BNA in Washington, D.C. — these are just a few of the institutions that stepped up as founding donors. My employer, the publications group of the National Association of Realtors, has also donated, along with Adobe (which made an in-kind donation) and the Stephen Barr family (the sponsors of ASBPE’s Stephen Barr award for exceptional work by b2b journalists), among others.
Particularly inspiring, though, is the level of the individual donations we’ve seen. I hesitate to list them all here for fear of leaving someone out, but I can say we received generous contributions from professionals in our industry from every region of the country, giving me confidence that as word about the foundation spreads, we’ll see its support grow.
To me the logic of the foundation is clear: give publishers, editors, and others in our industry a vehicle for making charitable contributions that they can write off on their federal taxes while helping their own industry increase its professionalism and position itself for the future.
Thanks to the strong response to the foundation at its launch, I can say that the rationale for the foundation is clear to others as well. Everyone in our industry gets it, and we’re on our way to repositioning our profession for the future as a result.
I look forward to letting our members know of other contributions from publishers and individuals as they come in. If you’d like to make a tax-deductible donation, you may do so online.