Nearly 30 years ago, the American Counseling Association formed a foundation that was originally funded from the proceeds of the sale of the association’s headquarters building in Washington, D.C. During the past three decades, many changes have occurred in the profession, the association and society at large. To keep pace with such changes, the entity now known as the ACA Foundation has found it necessary to evolve to continue its relevance to its major constituencies, namely the counseling profession and ACA.
Last month, the Board of Trustees of the ACA Foundation met and engaged in long-range and strategic planning that will help position the organization to meet the needs of today’s, as well as tomorrow’s, professional counselor. With the addition of Skip Hansen, the Foundation’s full-time director of development, the staffing needed to help implement the strategic plan is now in place. The Board of Trustees members, chaired this year by Terri Lonowski of Atlanta, once again committed themselves to continuing their support of ACA, graduate students, fellow counselors and those who benefit from the work of professional counselors.
The ACA Foundation continues to need one key ingredient, however. That ingredient is you. We all need to do what we can to support the ACA Foundation because, together, we really can make a difference. Our impact on the issues facing professional counselors and emerging counselors is even more significant when we work collectively — and, yes, that means when we make donations of time and money to the Foundation. The ACA Foundation is the only organization dedicated to supporting ACA and the myriad issues facing many special areas of the profession.
I am pleased to say that every board member of the ACA Foundation has made a financial commitment. Many members of ACA’s Governing Council and our ACA past presidents continue to support the Foundation every year as well. In fact, two ACA past presidents, Courtland Lee and Sam Gladding, have committed to donate the royalties from some of their books to the Foundation. These generous actions, along with many more, demonstrate to me the special bond that the Foundation has forged with the counseling profession and ACA. Other examples showing your colleagues’ generosity would take up this entire column. Needless to say, we are all very appreciative of such generous efforts.
Among its accomplishments during the past year, the ACA Foundation Board of Trustees undertook the task of redesigning the Foundation website. The updated site can be viewed at www.acafoundation.org. I hope you will take a moment to check it out and then visit it again from time to time to learn about the Foundation’s latest activities and how ongoing projects are progressing.
In case you aren’t familiar with some of the projects that the ACA Foundation supports, let me tell you about a few of its endeavors. The Foundation has a great interest in supporting graduate counseling students, given their important role in carrying the profession forward. The Foundation supports the Graduate Student Essay Competition, the Graduate Student Lounge at the ACA Annual Conference and the development of publications used by graduate students.
Many of you are aware of the ACA Foundation’s efforts to encourage “counselors helping counselors” through its Counselors Care Fund. This fund was established to aid counselors who were directly affected by the hurricanes that hit the Gulf Coast region of the United States two years ago. For every dollar you donated, the Foundation committed to match the donation. To date, several thousand dollars in grants have been made to your colleagues impacted by the hurricanes.
One of the Foundation’s signature projects is the Growing Happy and Confident Kids program. Each elementary school counselor who wins a Growing Happy and Confident Kids grant is provided with as many as 20 books, each carefully selected because it deals with an issue or topic that impacts kids, such as bullying, divorce, diversity or family relationships. The ACA Foundation has awarded more than 50 grants, and it hopes to increase that number significantly during the next few years. For more information on applying for a Growing Happy and Confident Kids grant, visit www.acafoundation.org.
When we all work together for the collective good, very special things can happen. I like to think that the evolution of the ACA Foundation is an example of that thought. I thank you for your past (and future!) support of the ACA Foundation.
As always, please feel free to contact me with your questions, comments or suggestions by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 800.347.6647 ext. 231.
Thanks and be well.