Geology & Geophysics AGU News

Prioritizing Development

The chair of AGU's new Development Board announces the board's members and a fundraising goal for this year: getting 12% of our 60,000+ members to donate to the organization's programs.

By Carlos Dengo

Carlos Dengo, Chair, AGU Development Board. Credit: Carlos Dengo
Carlos Dengo, Chair, AGU Development Board. Credit: Carlos Dengo

Earlier this year, at the invitation of the president of the American Geophysical Union (AGU), Margaret Leinen, I accepted the position of chair of the new AGU Development Board. I was confident that this would provide an excellent opportunity to give back to AGU and help it continue to be the leading organization of the Earth and space sciences.

AGU relies heavily on member volunteers to carry out its mission. The financial generosity of our donors makes many of AGU’s programs possible, in turn generating additional value for our members.

New Development Board

This year, AGU has revitalized its approach to development, hiring a new development director and reestablishing its Development Board after a period without one. I am pleased to recognize the 13 members who have agreed to join me on the new board:

  • Mike McPhaden (vice chair), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
  • Sunanda Basu, National Science Foundation
  • James Burch, Southwest Research Institute
  • John Delaney, University of Washington
  • Donald Dingwell, Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich
  • John Geissman, University of Texas at Dallas
  • Cynthia Greeley, Arizona State University
  • Timothy Grove, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • William Reeburgh, emeritus, University of California, Irvine
  • Joaquin Ruiz, University of Arizona
  • Peter Schlosser, Columbia University
  • Kiyoshi Suyehiro, Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology
  • Bruce Tsurutani, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory

The Development Board met for the first time in mid-June. We look forward to making development an organizational priority by increasing engagement with all current and potential contributors.

Thanking Members for Contributions

As a member of AGU for nearly 40 years, I have been impressed by its growth and the wide-ranging impact of its meetings and journals. AGU has made a significant impact on Earth and space scientists and our sciences for several generations.

AGU’s leaders appreciate all members who financially contribute to the organization—from donors with more than $10,000 in lifetime giving to students and early career scientists who made their first contributions last year. Thank you all for your tremendous support of AGU.

Yet one of the most staggering statistics shared with Development Board members during the June meeting is that only 7% of AGU members financially contribute to AGU, at any level. Fewer than 4500 of our 60,000+ members donated to AGU in 2014.

2014 AGU Donor Snapshot

  • 4368 out of 60,000 members (7%) made donations
  • 37 donors made contributions of $1000 or more
  • 795 donors made contributions of $100 or more (only 18% of 2014 donor base)
  • 3016 donors made contributions of less than $50 (69% of 2014 donor base)

Goal to Increase Donor Rolls

At its initial meeting, the new Development Board set a challenge goal: increase the rate of participation from AGU members to 12% in 2015. This will require an additional 3000 members to make financial contributions to AGU. I truly believe that once everyone understands the impact of their giving and the increased number of programs, scholarships, grants, etc., that AGU can provide with these additional revenues, we will see a significant increase in AGU member donors in 2015.

AGU has made development a priority, and now I am asking all members to do the same! If you have benefited from being an AGU member, as I have, give back. Or if you are a new member and wish to see our Union thrive for generations to come, pay forward.

Questions Are Welcome

My fellow Development Board members and I are happy to answer any questions you may have regarding AGU’s fundraising efforts. For more information, contact Jeff Borchardt, AGU director of development, at [email protected]. To make a contribution to an AGU fund of your choice or to view the list of AGU donors who have given $50 or more to date in 2015, please visit

—Carlos Dengo, Chair, AGU Development Board

Citation: Dengo, C. (2015), Prioritizing development, Eos, 96, doi:10.1029/2015EO034535. Published on 21 August 2015.

© 2015. The authors. CC BY-NC 3.0