Larry J. Hackman 2014-12-02 11:18:36
I recently made a gift of more than $5,000 to the SAA Foundation. While not nearly as large as some donations to the Foundation, for me this was a real stretch gift—I’ve never given more than this to any other organization of any kind. Although I was intensely active in SAA and the profession from 1975 to 1995, I have not been engaged—other than writing for several publications—for the nearly twenty years since I resigned as State Archivist of New York. So why did I make this gift, and why now? Why I Donated The main impetus for my gift—and I hope to make a similar one next year if all goes well—is perhaps the most obvious. At age 71, I’ve been looking back at a career in archives and public history and considering how I can make a positive impact. At this stage of my life a gift to the Foundation seems to be the best way to do this; I believe that as the Foundation grows and matures it will support initiatives vital to the success of archivists and archives far into the future. I also wanted to provide support at this particular time to add momentum to the Foundation’s transition from being an SAA budget account to operating as a 501c3 corporation with a board of directors and its own mission and vision. Although I had In mind making a planned gift to the Foundation, as I learned more about the Foundation’s status and its plans, it seemed useful to provide support now, at what appears to be an important turning point. How Donations Can Help SAA Way back in 1975–1981, I was the first director of the NHPRC’s new records grant program. The very first grant we made was to SAA to publish the original five titles in the SAA Basic Manual Series, a practical, far-reaching, and precedent-setting project. It was the kind of project that SAA itself would have found difficult to bring to life on its own in those early days before it had an established ongoing publication program. While the SAA Foundation already supports scholarships, travel, and awards on a regular basis, it excites me that the Foundation has the potential to assist future projects useful to the whole archives community. One such project could be a periodic analysis (perhaps every decade), similar to the now Long-outdated 1984 Levy Report on “The Image of Archivists,” a study that helped us better understand how archivists and archives were regarded by the allocators of the resources vital to our work. Another kind of project that could have a high impact would be to engage and educate a wide variety of associations about the value of archives to themselves and to the individuals and organizations that look to them for guidance. Perhaps this sort of advocacy could become a catalyst for the creation of new archives—and new archival jobs—where they are lacking. The Foundation Board could consider many possibilities if funds were sufficient and there was interest from the profession. I believe I have made a sound decision in supporting the SAA Foundation. I encourage my colleagues from the good old days to step up now to pay back, to increase momentum, to demonstrate sooner rather than later the potential of the Foundation as a contributor to the common good. Make a major gift or a planned gift this year. *** Larry Hackman, a Fellow of the Society, was a member of SAA’s Council and Executive Committee and an annual meeting program chair. Most recently he is author of Many Happy Returns: Advocacy and the Development of Archives. He now serves on the Development Committee of the SAA Foundation.
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