Scholarship Foundation

Magnetite Sand, Image Credit: Lori Carter

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AFMS Scholarship Foundation

The establishment of the Scholarship foundation was authorized by the addition of an Article to the By-Laws of the American Federation of Mineralogical Societies in 1958.  The AFMS Scholarship Foundation, Inc. was set up as a separate corporation with its own officers and directors. 


The Foundation was incorporated as the AFMS SCHOLARSHIP FOUNDATION, INC., a Minnesota Corporation on March 18, 1964.  A Tax Exemption Certificate was obtained from the Internal Revenue Service on November 6, 1964.

The Board of Directors consists of:  The President of the AFMS who is automatically both the Vice-President and a Director of the Foundation.  The other Directors are: the AFMS President-Elect, and the President and the Vice-President of each of the six participating Regional Federations.  The Board of Directors has the management of the Foundation.

The Board elects a President, a Treasurer, and a Secretary, each for two-year terms, the President being elected one year, the Treasurer and Secretary being elected the next year, to insure continuity of experienced management.  It will be seen that the Foundation, while an independent Corporation, is entirely in the control of AFMS Federation personnel

Purpose of the Foundation

The object of the Foundation is to accumulate a Fund, using only the income from the Fund to be used to finance Scholarships.  The principal cannot be used for any purpose whatever, hence the usefulness of the Fund is perpetual. 

Awards to Beneficiary Students

Beginning in 1965, one student received a scholarship grant of $300.00 per year for two years to help achieve an advanced degree in any of the Earth Sciences.   In 1966, the grant was increased to $400.00 per year for two years; in 1967, the grant was increased to $500.00 per year for two years.

As the Fund, and hence the income from it, increased, the grants were increased and, subsequently, more students received scholarship grants.  By 1972, each Regional Federation received one grant of $750.00 per year for two years.   Grants were increased to $1,000.00 per year in 1976; to two scholarship grants per each Regional Federation in 1981.  In 1983, each grant was increased to $1,500.00 per year for two years; and the amount was increased to $2,000.00 per year for each grant in 1988.  In 2009-2010 additional funds were raised to allow the educational grants to increase to a single $4,000 educational grant starting with 12 students selected in the 2009-10 school year.

Grants are restricted to Graduate students to avoid the possible waste of money on students who are not committed to Earth Science subjects, or who drop out before graduation (Any student working toward an advanced degree is presumed to have definitely decided to follow that field for his/her lifetime vocation, insofar as such decision is possible).  Since our joint interests lie in that field, grants are restricted to Earth Science students who are U.S. Citizens.

Selection of Beneficary Students

Until 1972, one person of prominence in the Earth Science field was selected from among twelve nominees, 2 from each Regional Federation.  That person, normally associated with a prominent University or College, selected the schools., and the students who received the grants.  Since 1972, each participating Regional Federation has selected their own Honorary Award Winner who then selected the school(s) and assisted with the selection of the student, or students, who then received the scholarship grant(s).

This indirect method has served our purpose perfectly in that it benefits needy students, yet avoids the enormous task and expense of receiving, sifting through and evaluating applications from hundreds of applicants, which would otherwise be necessary if selections were made by ourselves in the conventional manner.

The Fund

In the beginning, Betty Crocker coupons were accepted and turned in to General Mills at 1/2˘ per point until December 31, 1974., when the program was discontinued by General Mills.  Coupons accounted for approximately 10% of the Fund at that time.  Since that time, the trust fund has been supported by donations and memorials from "rockhounds", nationwide.

The market value of the investments of the Foundation, as of October 31, 2010, stood at just over $1,024,170.00.  With the exception of a few hundred dollars received from outside organizations, the entire amount has been donated, by Earth Science Clubs and Societies throughout the entire nation, and by individual members of such groups.


All gifts to the AFMS Scholarship Foundation are held to be tax-deductible to the donor, and are normally added to the "trust" account.  Gifts should be sent to each Regional Federation's Scholarship Chairman, who will see that the donor receives proper credit, and will forward the gifts to the proper Foundation Officer.  Founder's Certificates are issued to individuals, dealers, or firms that contribute $500.00 or more to the Fund, either as one gift or cumulatively, but the individual's club does not receive credit for such gifts.

Gifts may be made directly to the "Unrestricted Fund" by marking "Unrestricted" on the donation check or in a letter accompanying the donation.  Unrestricted funds are not automatically put in to the investment account and may be directly paid out as educational grants to students instead of using the investment income only from the trust (investment) account, for the educational grants.

Goals for the Future

Our first goal was to establish a Fund of $50,000.00 which would provide an annual scholarship in Earth Science.  This goal was reached in 1968.  Having attained that goal, do we stop when such attractive vistas and horizons appeared? By no means!

The Fund has now achieved over twenty times its first goal and we are providing a single year scholarship grant of $4,000.00 each year to two students selected by each of the six participating Regional Federations.  What do we see ahead?  Wonderful additional opportunities for service and help for more and more students.

Remember, the Fund itself is not consumed - only the income from it.   Whatever is in the "restricted trust fund"  keeps working year after year, indefinitely into the future.  The larger it grows, the more good it can do - not only once, but time after time as the years go by.  After the 2010-11 educational grants were paid out, 566 students have received financial educational assistance because of your generosity.  At that time, the total dollar amount of grants paid out since the program inception in 1964 totaled $1,540.6500.00.

First written by W.H. DeHeui President (10/69);

updated by Glenn Lee, President (10/83);

updated (7/93) by Louellen Montgomery, President

updated (12/04) by Dee Holland, AFMS Scholarship Foundation President

updated (7/11) by Jon Spunaugle, Treasurer and Foundation Past President 

AFMS Scholarship Fund Recipients

AFMS Scholarship Foundation

About the image on this page

Magnetite Sand

Magnetite sand from Oregon with a stack of strong magnets. The magnetite grains align with the magnetic field to form a furry looking cluster. The rocks to either side are concretions.

Display by: Steven Michael

Image Credit: Lori Carter