1990. The Hubble Telescope sends its first photos from space, the Berlin Wall begins to come down, the San Francisco 49ers win the Super Bowl and the ASSP Foundation is formed. 30 years later, the Foundation continues its mission of providing scholarships, career guidance and professional development to help build a stronger workforce.
What began as a program to support education and research has grown into a network of more than 6,000 donors that have provided more than $3 million in scholarships, $500,000 in research grants, $245,000 in professional development grants and $45,000 to support ABET accreditation. Thanks to donor generosity, more than 1,500 students and safety professionals have advanced their education and grown their careers.
Throughout its history, the Foundation has expanded its efforts to support safety professionals and safety research through a wide variety of initiatives.
The year 2000 saw the establishment of the Student Leadership Conference, now known as the Future Safety Leaders Conference. The event offers safety students the opportunity to connect with peers, meet established safety professionals and prospective employers, and learn leadership, management and teamwork skills. This annual event hosted 150 students from 48 colleges and universities in 2019.
In 2004, the Foundation established its Legacy Donor Program, providing donors the opportunity to name the Foundation as a partial beneficiary in their estate plans and continue to support the safety profession beyond their lifetime. In 2013, the Family Scholarship was established to provide educational funding to those who have lost a spouse or parent to a workplace incident.
Over time, support for the Foundation has grown significantly. In the 2018-19 academic year, the Foundation awarded more than $388,000 in scholarships, the most for one academic year in its history.
As it looks toward the future, the Foundation will place more focus on workforce development and build the talent pipeline for the occupational safety and health profession. The Foundation will support emerging professionals on their career path through guidance, educational opportunities and leadership development. This includes financial assistance for students and safety professionals, as well as attracting new members to the profession and helping build the knowledge and skills of current safety professionals.
One element of this initiative is the “Safety Gets Hired” campaign, which acknowledges student members who have received jobs in the safety and health profession either before or after graduation and highlights the opportunities available in the field.
“The purpose of the ASSP Foundation has always been to support a strong safety workforce,” says Linda Tapp, chair of the ASSP Foundation Board of Trustees. “Our collective legacy can be working together to build programs to engage the greater community and aid in guiding prospective and current OSH professionals throughout their careers.”
Those looking to support the foundation and get active are invited to take part in the Safety 2020 Step Challenge in Orlando, FL. Registration fees for the challenge will support the Foundation’s workforce development initiative and participants will be entered to win prizes.
How else can you support the ASSP Foundation? Those interested in supporting the future of the safety profession are encouraged to organize events benefiting the Foundation, hold fundraising competitions among ASSP communities, buy Foundation merchandise or simply donate on the Foundation’s website.