From the CEO

Many of us entered psychology out of a motivation to do work that helps us better understand or that improves the human condition. As scientists, practitioners and educators, we are part of a "giving" profession--one that places a premium on advancing society. We endeavor to use our training, knowledge and expertise to make life better for others. Occasionally, however, members ask me how they can help make psychology better; that is, how they can give back to the discipline that has given them and others so much. One way is through giving to psychology's philanthropy: the American Psychological Foundation (APF).

Our charitable arm

Long before coming to APA, I had known about some of the work of APF. Since becoming CEO of APA, and serving on the APF Board of Trustees, I have learned much more about its research funding efforts and its support of graduate students in psychology. What makes APF special, and why I am a contributor to it, is that it fills a niche occupied by no other philanthropy. It exists for the sole purpose of supporting all of psychology. Its mission is to "provide scholarships, grants and awards in order to advance psychology as a science and a profession and as a means of understanding behavior and promoting health and human welfare." It is indeed the charitable arm of the organization and the discipline.

APF was established in 1953 to provide a way for psychologists to express their dedication to the field and to help ensure its future. The founders believed there was an unmet desire among psychologists to share their resources to advance psychological research and provide scholarships. Beginning with six founding psychologists and a budget of $580, the foundation now boasts thousands of donors and has blossomed into a $12 million charity. The growth in the foundation's assets is a testament to the desire of many psychologists to give back to the field.

Building a foundation for the future

In 2000, under the leadership of APF President Dr. Dorothy Cantor and Executive Director Elisabeth Straus, the foundation began its first fund-raising campaign, the Campaign for a New Era. The goal for the campaign is to raise $7 million by the end of 2004. The APF trustees initiated the campaign to increase APF's grant-giving capacity and to apply psychology to violence prevention and to health, areas where psychology's unique problem-solving skills can make a difference. In the last four years, APF has been able to raise thousands of dollars for research and programs in violence prevention alone, with specific projects designed to address the aftermath of 9/11.

The violence prevention program is a good example of the foundation's funding activities and is a model for future efforts that the Campaign for a New Era will foster. Titled "Research-Based Programs on Violence Prevention and Intervention," the program provides up to $20,000 to:

  • Encourage the transfer of psychological science with regard to violence, its prevention and intervention strategies to programmatic applications within the community.

  • Support the implementation of innovative community programs aimed at preventing violence within any number of social settings (e.g., young adult populations, elder abuse, domestic abuse, hate crimes, sexual assault and others).

  • Provide seed money to establish promising interventions proposed by community-based organizations and funding for established community programs that have been deemed successful.

In each issue of the Monitor, there is a section devoted to all that APF does for psychology and psychologists, and I invite you to read about other activities of the foundation.

In 2005, a wall in the APA headquarters lobby will be dedicated to those of you who give or pledge $10,000 or more to the campaign. For those of you who give or pledge $1,000 or more, your names will be inscribed in a beautiful leather-bound book on permanent display at APA headquarters. For those of you who make a donation of any size, you will see your names published in the American Psychologist.

For the first time, APF is providing an envelope in the Monitor so that all psychologists will have an opportunity to help us achieve--and hopefully exceed--our $7 million goal.

Giving to the foundation is one more way to demonstrate that we are grateful for the rewarding careers psychology offered to us and that we believe psychology can make our world a better place now and for generations to come.

Giving to the foundation is one more way to demonstrate that we believe psychology can make our world a better place now and for generations to come.