Education Endowment Fund: Investing dollars in our future

A chapter success story

Harold L. Welborn
Senior Engineer
ECO:LOGIC Engineering
Rocklin, California
Trustee, APWA Sacramento Chapter

In 1994, the Sacramento Chapter established an Education Endowment Fund (EEF) with $36,000 of chapter seed funds. The Fund has grown to include 38 individual and 13 corporate "Founders" who contributed $1,000 or $2,000, respectively. In addition, the fund has an open enrollment for "Sustaining Members." The Fund presently has five individual and five corporate Sustaining Members who contributed $1,000 or $2,000, respectively. The chapter has also made additional discretionary contributions to the Fund. For fourteen years the EEF has shown steady growth and our expectation is to see its principal top $200,000 in 2008. As the principal grows, only the earnings are used to fund the grant awards. To date the EEF has awarded $87,000 in grants.

Nine Trustees who are APWA members appointed by the Chapter Executive Committee govern the EEF. The EEF Trustees' mission is to encourage and promote the Fund's growth and development. The Fund is used to provide grants to universities located in the chapter area that will accomplish the following goals: (1) expose students to public works engineering; (2) provide the broadest benefit to the largest number of students; and (3) provide name recognition for APWA and the Sacramento Chapter.

In 2001, EEF Trustees awarded the first grant to California State University, Sacramento for creation of a Geosynthetics Laboratory. Additional grant recipients include:

  • University of the Pacific, in Stockton California - improvements to the hydraulics laboratory;
  • California State University, Sacramento - earthquake simulation equipment; and
  • California State University, Chico - implementation of a student intern program and rehabilitation and upgrades to the hydraulics laboratory (see sidebar).

CSUS students testing a geosynthetic fabric in Geosynthetics Lab

Supporting the EEF is an effective way for public works professionals to give back to the public works community in a practical way that will have a lasting, positive impact on our profession and our local communities. As the Fund grows, the opportunity for providing these greatly needed benefits also grows.

The Sacramento Chapter believes in the importance of giving back to our communities and for the last five years has successfully sponsored an annual National Public Works Week Dinner and Auction to benefit the EEF. This event, including both a live and silent auction, has unquestionably become one of the chapter's most anticipated events, with attendance surpassing 200, in 2007. The auction provides approximately $13,000 annually for the EEF.

For more information about the Sacramento Chapter's Education Endowment Fund contact Trustee Harold Welborn at (916) 773-8100 or at welborn@ecologic-eng.com.

From the California State University, Chico, Civil Engineering Department newsletter:

  • "Through funding from APWA we have established an internship program that helps strengthen our curriculum. The goal of the APWA Internship Program is to create an opportunity for students to gain valuable hands-on experience, promote student learning, and develop industry contacts."

  • "APWA, with matching financial support from the College of Engineering, Computer Science, and Construction Management, has funded a two-year project to modernize the fluids laboratory located in LANG 117."