Subject: Schulich Engineering Students Society - budget cuts and the alumni
From: "Bill Howell. Hussar. Alberta. Canada" <>
Date: Tue, 6 Nov 2018 14:13:29 -0700
To: "Jiani Deng. President. Engineering Students Soc. Uof Calgary"

Jiani Deng -  It's embarrassing how long it's taken me to get back to you, following the ESS Presidents' Dinner last 11Oct2018.   October has been a brutal month, but I have a bit of a break today (between storms).

At that time you had given a presentation that mentioned a ~70? k$ cut from ~250 k$ of [university, faculty] support for ESS activities.  This was also discussed with you during your tour with alumni of the ESS offices and meeting with other ESS executive.  I think that you did a very good analysis of the situation, with a key question being something to the effect :  Would alumni support only be on the order of a few [hundred, thousand] dollars, or could it make up a significant portion of the "lost budget"?

My guess is that the answer will depend on the timeframe (one-time help might be much easier than permanent on-going support), and a small number of exceptional donors to cover a chunk, but complemented by many smaller donations.  I am NOT in the "exceptional donor" category - see my donations from last year below, which were slightly higher than my normal 2 k$/yr target now that I am retired. 

Note that I've constantly had to manage brutal budget cuts with severe impacts on my personnel in the government, and lived through [cuts, shutdowns, mergers, etc] in companies.  So it's a bit hard for me to see a 25% cut as a big deal - sometimes adapting may be the best for the future.  The original quarter of a million $ gift budget itself it beyond my imagination - we got bills for damage.  I can't remember too many donations except what we could scrounge for specified purposes from companies.

Now that I am looking at this, there is no way of ensuring "good" placements of funding for scholarships etc, nor for that manner any charitable donation.   To some extent one must trust the [individuals, societies] involved in the selection process.  Comments during the dinner suggest that the ESS might actually provide a [healthy, critical] input to such decisions if they relate to [projects, research] but of course for student life. 

For me, help for a ~25% budget cut for the ESS would come from a 100-200$ range for "education", by cutting back on scholarship donations.    So how about if I just say 150$ as a starting point, for a one-time donation (ongoing I would have to think about in light of other donation priorities), assuming that alumni support for the 70 k$ gets underway  But you would need 700 donors like that to make up the difference....

Mr. Bill Howell
P.O. Box 299, Hussar, Alberta, T0J1S0
member - International Neural Network Society (INNS), IEEE Computational Intelligence Society (IEEE-CIS),
            Association of Professional Engineers and Geo-scientists of Alberta (APEGA)
IJCNN2019 Budapest, Publications and Sponsors & Exhibits Chair,
WCCI2018 Rio de Janeiro : Publicity committee, mass emails
Retired: Science Research Manager (SE-REM-01) at Natural Resources Canada, CanmetMINING, Ottawa

My own focus for Charities

I am a modest donator - I worked the latter part of my career in the federal government and have a reasonable pre-retirement pension, but no big winnings from [investments, businesses, big responsibilities].

Year    foreign    climate   political   science     local        software    education         total
2017    100            480            0            533            885            64              809                2,871

  • foreign -  in recent 3 years, was Yazidi women, now shifted to Ukrainian situation (freedoms and personal necessities only - not political or military)
    • Note : I traditionally have considered my foreign donations to be among the most important, and the portion is WAY to low!
    • This is not an easy area to be comfortable with!  I am optimistic for the future - but time must be measured in many generations, not years.
  • climate -  ONLY for specific scientists who are working to fix up the "CO2 as a primary driver of climate" religion with "real" ideas and analysis.  This area may decrease soon, in favor of other problematic "religious" areas like the [physics, astronomy, geology] item below <grin>.
  • political -  This isn't big for me, but I do provide modest amounts for [provincial, federal] election years
  • science -  ONLY for scientists doing very interesting, high-quality work outside of the current science "religions", and therefore unable to get conventional funding (essentially all great ideas pass through this phase).  Mostly [physics, astronomy, geology]
  • local -  the small community where I live, whatever comes up!
  • software-  small donations to MANY Linux [programs, utilities, etc],
  • education -  Mostly Schulich for 2017, Wikipedia, web-media that actually try to cover the facts and can analyse the news (small budgets, awesome thinkers).  NOTE :  the Schulich donations for 2017 were >double what I would normally consider.
    • 400  Andrew Reid memorial scholarship
    • 200  Impact fund - oops, was this for Engineering or ALL of UofC?  (sometimes confusing - and I read too much into descriptions)
I am mostly looking to contribute in areas where exceptional individuals have a chance at making a BIG difference, but cannot easily get traditional [funding, support] as their [thinking, actions] often violate "mainstream [science or other] religions".
Psychology and sociology are notably absent - but I don't have a good enough [awareness of, comfort for] these areas.

Also, this budget is highly at risk, as has happened this year, because of heavy family health and job support requirements (YES - mostly due to aging!!).