November 1, 2018
As communicated to you several weeks ago, SRI made the responsible decision to put new Bridge and Early Career Investigator Grants on hiatus for the next two fiscal years. We have also announced the formation of the SRI Foundation, to which SRI has provided a gift of $500,000. I thought it worthwhile to briefly explain these two actions that might on first glance appear contradictory.
Careful analysis of our expenditures vs income in the past few years has revealed that with a lower interest rate on our investments and an expanded mission beyond our core meeting, SRI finances are under pressure. The choice to limit new grants was based on the fact that these grants are offered to only a few people vs the need to promote participation through travel grants and recognition awards to many more members and guests (who may become more personally invested in SRI), while also expanding outreach.
In consultation with Council we have recognized the need to create a separate revenue generating arm so we can ultimately return to undertaking all these activities long term in partnership with an increased number of sponsors who share our interests and goals. But, in order to meet these we must first take a breath.
Our Secretary-Treasurer has provided a detailed analysis of what steps are needed to balance membership and meeting income against our meeting and core expenditures and we have moved ahead with creating the SRI Foundation that will support many of our training related costs. By taking these steps now to protect the assets by which we need to operate, and by promoting both sponsorship and the Foundation as reliable sources of support for training and meeting related costs, we anticipate only a few years will be needed to regain stability while maintaining reasonable membership dues.
Once again I must express my gratitude to our Secretary-Treasurer, Dr. Ian Bird and to the Development Committee for all their hard work in bringing these matters to fruition.
Murray Mitchell, DPhil, DSc
SRI President, 2018-2019