The next goal for the board of the ASDP Foundation is to come up with a case for support. To start us off in the right direction towards this goal, we polled the board members to see why they felt the Foundation was important. You may find their individual answers interesting:
I think the Foundation is an important adjunct to ASDP. ASDP, by its nature as a trade association, is quite member-centric with services, benefits, and educational programs designed to support members in their sewing and design related businesses. The Foundation's reach will eventually be wider, as we become able to aid people starting out in business. It's helpful to have an entity that can accept tax-deductible donations, as this is often enough of an incentive to sway someone to donate.
I like the thought that the Foundation can reach out to both members and non-members of ASDP by sponsoring a speaker at the ASDP conference. Inviting the public will help generate interest in sewing and design, while also increasing awareness about ASDP. I think that's a better return on investment than giving student scholarships to conference and not gaining long-term members as a result. It would be great if we had enough money to give out grants to small business start-ups, award design school scholarships, etc. Hopefully one day we will, but for now we must start small and aim for the maximum bang for our buck.
I also think it's important for the Foundation to build relationships with businesses in the industry. With ASDP, this often consists of looking for conference sponsorships, which again yield publicity in front of a relatively limited number of people. I hope we find that the sewing and design industry is willing to support our mission of education and assistance for anyone who needs it, not just for ASDP members.
I have had the good fortune of receiving an education through grants and special funding. Therefore, I am eager to ensure others can receive any bit of assistance. Although I did not pursue a sewing career early in life, it has always been one of my dreams. In the spirit of giving back I really want to assist others getting a start regardless of their age or circumstance.
The importance of the foundation to me are first to support the education necessary for the new technologies being introduced into the fabric and design fields. Second to help develop the skills needed to manufacture garments and sewn goods locally.
Throughout my undergraduate and graduate studies, I was always appreciative of every scholarship I received no matter how small. Being able to give back in terms of time and service is the right thing to do as a small payback for my successes. Serving on the Foundation board is particularly special in that I can work with generous and empowering individuals who share a passion for sewing and design.
My answer to why I think the Foundation is important would be that helping others in the sewing and design profession get a "leg up" via scholarship or grants matters greatly to me.
When I was the president of ASDP I answered at least one call a month from a person hoping that the MSDP program was a place they could receive training to start their own business. Each time I had to tell them that while our focus was on education and support for individuals in sewing related business, they had to be able to pay for our conferences and memberships. We had no money available to help those in need gain skills and build a business. As a former social worker, this broke my heart and I vowed that when I had more time I would work towards establishing a funding source that could provide opportunities for people who were not as fortunate as I was.
A charitable foundation is a large task, but all the board members have held leadership positions for the ASDP National Board and some have served in chapter leadership as well. We all agree that there is little, if any, charitable funding for sewing-related causes and it will elevate our association to add this non-profit arm. We hope to keep sewing and sewing professionals thriving as we move toward the future. It also gives members opportunities to honor sewing friends who have passed with their tax-deductible contributions and honorary scholarships.
You can see by the answers given that the Board has strong feelings on the importance of the Foundation. We will be reporting more in the future regarding the case for support, which will help the Foundation board refine the Mission and Vision statements in more detail. These two documents address our interests in fair pay and education for sewing pros, grants to support eligible sewing entrepreneurs, educators, and student scholarships. This in turn will help us further our cause as we begin to expand our reach to industry-related companies, leaders, and other interested parties in our efforts to increase funding. Contributions to the foundation are always optional and the board will continue to offer a variety of ways for interested parties to contribute their ideas, time, and dollars.