An Open Letter from Pete Abbott, former President, MSSA Scholarship Foundation, Inc.:
February 21, 2019,
Following the demise of the MSSA, the MSSA Scholarship Foundation (MSSASF) Board of Directors continued to raise funds for 2018 awards. Thanks to the generous contributions from MSSA Chapters, individuals and other outside organizations, 25 students shared $35,000 for the 2018-2019 academic year. These were records for both measures during the 23- year history of the Foundation.
After sending the funds to the students last July, several attempts were made to move the operations of the MSSASF to another local organization. While there was interest, none chose to exercise the option of adding the MSSASF to their corporate structure through a simple name change.
Ultimately, the Coastal Conservation Association (CCA) Maryland Chapter (CCA Maryland) elected to establish a new Scholarship Fund. As CCA is a national non-profit (501 (c) 3), the CCA Maryland Scholarship Program will join with their habitat program to strengthen CCA Maryland’s commitment to improving the future health of our most precious marine resource, the Chesapeake Bay.
As the former President of the MSSASF, I am pleased to report to you that I will assist CCA Maryland in the start-up of their new Program. Some of my fellow former Board members will also participate in this new undertaking. The missions of both of the former organization, and this new effort are in complete accord – to help educate the future scientists, engineers and resource managers who will devote their careers to solving the environmental problems that threaten the sustainability of the Chesapeake Bay ecosystem, and effect recreational fishing pursuits.
In the coming weeks, CCA Maryland will publicize the start-up of the new Scholarship Program. Social media, email, and print copy will all help introduce the Program and make available on-line links and regular mail channels to donate funds. The new Scholarship Fund website is under construction and the donation portal is accessible NOW by going to:
https://www.ccamd.org/scholarshipfund/. You can use PAYPAL, debit, or credit cards to make a tax-deductible gift today, or follow instructions to mail a donation to the fund.
Fund raising efforts will continue through 2019 and the first half of 2020 when CCA Maryland plans to make its initial donation to the University of Maryland Marine Estuarine Environmental Sciences (MEES) Program. In my last act as President of the MSSASF, I signed an agreement with Dr. Ken Paynter, Director of the MEES Program, to establish a $25,000 endowment fund for scholarships that will be given to deserving students studying for their MS and PhD degrees. The fund honors the memory and good works of Bill Huppert, first President of the MSSASF and “father” of the Reef Ball Projects throughout the state of Maryland. We were able to do this because the MSSASF had saved money over the last 6 years for an endowment. I cannot be happier that we found an ideal destination for these funds in the MEES Program.
I welcome this new opportunity with CCA Maryland to serve the interests of all the members of Maryland’s angling community. The education of our future marine scientists, engineers and resource managers is critical to the future of our sport and failure is not an option.
CCA Maryland Scholarship Committee Member
443 871 5342