2 weeks, 94 generous people, 26 happy people–Summing up the Spontaneous Scholarships

Here’s how it happened: it all started with one person going on a little rant on Twitter about how she couldn’t afford to go to SAA because of the registration fees. So I asked her to put her thoughts together and post a comment here. And she did. That got me thinking, and on Facebook I asked my friends if they’d be wiling to kick in some money to help pay for this person’s registration. And of course, a lot of them said they would, because I have lovely friends. The next step was an easy one. On July 1 I posted something here, on Twitter, on my two Facebook accounts (yes ArchivesNext has a Facebook page of its own), and later on the A&A listserv. Soon a helpful colleague forwarded the message, with his own endorsement, to the listservs of the SAA College of Fellows and the Archival Educators. On Thursday, two weeks later, I received the last donation. So like a flashmob, you got together, did something, and now it’s over. As the title says, 94 generous people have funded meeting registrations for 26 people.

18 of those lucky people are students or recent graduates, and they are very excited about attending the meeting. For some, it will be their first and what better introduction to the positive aspects of our profession could there be than to have people step forward to help them out? I’ve suggested to all the lucky people that if they want to say thanks to the donors, they can do so via a comment left on this post. Some of the donors wanted to find a time at the meeting to meet the recipients, and so everyone, donors and scholarship people, are welcome at the official 2011 SAA tweetup on Thursday night. Just write “donor” or “scholarship awardee” on your name tag. I’ve also invited the recipients to write up guest blog posts about their meeting experiences, so watch for those in September. And last, but by no means least, I don’t see any reason not to do this again next year. But with a little more advance notice and planning. So if you didn’t have chance to give this year, don’t worry, I’ll be asking you again before you know it.

And I should note that we had one extremely generous donor who went above and beyond any normal expectations, giving 40% of the total funds received.  So thanks to you, Outrageously Generous Donor, and to everyone, including those who gave what they could, even if it was $5. Because of all of you, 60% of the people who applied for a scholarship received one. A lot of people thanked me for doing this, but I can honestly say that it was my pleasure. It’s easy sometimes to focus on what problems there are within our profession, but this little project reminded me and many others that there’s a lot of good out there too.


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24 thoughts on “2 weeks, 94 generous people, 26 happy people–Summing up the Spontaneous Scholarships”

  1. Hi everybody! My name is Liz and I just finished my first year of Archives Management classes at Simmons College in Boston. I’ll be attending SAA for the first time this year, thanks to Kate’s impressive organizational skills and your generous donations.

    I have a lot of interests (especially science and history), and haven’t yet decided what type of organization I want to work for. That’s one of the reasons I’m so excited about attending SAA – I want to talk to as many different people and learn as much as I can.

    I’m planning on attending the tweetup in Chicago, and I hope to meet some of you there and say thanks in person!


  2. I am another grateful recipient of this scholarship. I am a student that will be starting my second year in the fall. I think I can say for some of my fellow students that we thought long and hard about whether to attend this meeting because of the labor disputes and our own small pocket books. What I think ultimately decided it for many of us was an already burgeoning loyalty to SAA and to the people that we know who are leaders in it (whether with a formal title or not), who are great examples for us of what this profession is about. I look forward to meeting the many people that I follow through their blogs and tweets, and I appreciate so much the opportunity that you all have given me.

  3. I would like to thank Kate and the Incredible 94 (sounds like a band) for making this happen.

    My name is Wesley, and I’ve worked for many years in organizations where professional development was funded. For the past few years, however, much of it has come out of pocket.

    This year, I’ve was fortunate enough to have proposals accepted at several conferences, including SAA, but unfortunate in that ALL expenses have come out of pocket, which doesn’t run that deep.

    The work of Kate and others have made an amazing difference for 26 individuals — and in such a short amount of time. I applaud their spirit, gumption, and look forward to contributing funds to next year’s effort.


  4. Hi all,

    My name is Emily and I will be going into my second year in the Simmons Archives Management/History program.
    I would like to give a big thank you to Kate and the 94 people who donated money — you are all amazing! Because of your generosity, I will be able to attend my first ever SAA conference. I’m looking forward to meeting new people, attending some interesting sessions, and also finally meeting my SAA Mentor in person.

    It makes me happy to know that I am entering a profession full of such community-driven individuals. It will be a great pleasure to meet and thank some of you at the Tweetup in Chicago.


  5. I would also like to thank everyone who donated for making this possible! I am another awardee, and am so grateful as it makes it that much easier for me to attend and enjoy the conference.

    I am a very recent graduate from an MSIS program, and this will be my second SAA annual conference. All of my SAA funds are coming out of my pocket, except for the registration fee (yay!). For a recent grad who doesn’t yet have a job and whose contract for her student job (w/stipend) ends very soon, it is a veritable boon and means so much that I can smile a bit more during the conference and won’t have to pinch pennies so hard while I’m there. I hope to pay it forward this year in some way, and in years to come when I am gainfully employed!

    I am looking forward to meeting many of you at the tweetup, and attending another SAA.


  6. I would also like to express my gratitude to Kate and the 94 wonderful donors who gave of themselves to make this happen. I admire the spirit of generosity and community that you all bring to this profession, and I am glad to be joining such a wonderful group of people.

    As a recent MSLS graduate, my situation is much like Jennifer’s–I am looking for my first job as a full-fledged archives professional while finishing up my old student job and doing some archival processing on a volunteer basis. I am very aware of how lucky I am to have received this scholarship, and I will soak up as much knowledge from this conference as I can. What a great way to embark on one’s career!

    I, too, look forward to meeting many of you at the tweetup and expressing my thanks in person.

  7. My name is Kristy, and I would like to thank Kate and each of the 94 people who so generously donated to the spontaneous scholarship. I am another scholarship recipient, who otherwise would not have been able to go this year had it not been for all of your kindness.

    For the past 4.5 years I worked in an organization where professional development was fully funded. In March of this year my position was eliminated, and I have been unemployed since then. Sadly, my part-time job was also eliminated last year. There was absolutely no way I would have been able to fund the entire SAA trip out of pocket. Thanks to all of you I will be able to attend this year’s conference and stay current with all of the hot topics in the archival profession. I look forward to meeting you and being able to personally thank you at the tweetup.

    I firmly believe that next year I will be in a position to be able to be as generous as all of you and fund another colleague’s conference costs.

    Thanks again.


  8. I know that no matter what I say, you will not completely know how important
    your generosity is for me. I’m not a recent graduate and this is not my
    first SAA conference, but for the last few years this has been the most
    important event of the year for me, both personally and professionally.

    Like most others, our institutional funding for professional development is
    dwindling. I also have added personal expenses this year, but was
    determined I was going to the SAA 75th anniversary celebration, even if it
    meant going deeper into debt. I owe all of you a huge hug for lessening my
    burden. I knew that SAA members were generous and giving, but I truly,
    until now, did not realize the depth of your kindness. You all rock! Thank
    you so much.

  9. Let me add my heartfelt thanks to the other scholarship recipients! I too am a student at Simmons GSLIS on the Archives Management track and this will be my first dive into the joys of SAA. I have been fortunate enough to attend both NEA conferences in my first year of the program, and it has been such a pleasure to meet people and, even better, learn from the archivists and experts presenting.

    I very much look forward to the knowledge and archives love in Chicago! The amount of things that I can do with an MLS and knowledge of archival management seems endless – I’m currently debating between academic archives, records management, and archival consultation. I only hope the list of archives skills’ applicability will get longer after August… but I also hope my interests narrow further!

    See everyone at the tweet-up – and thank you again for your contribution to my education!

  10. Thank you so much to everyone who donated, and to Kate for making this all possible! I am really thankful to be a recipient of the spontaneous scholarship. I just graduated the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s library program, and completed the archives and records administration track. I’ll never forget the sense of community and professional camaraderie I felt when I attended SAA last year, and that sense of professional pride has certainly shown through with this scholarship. I’m so in love with my career choice, mostly because archivists are so welcoming and invested in helping each other out.

    Thank you SO much! I hope to meet many of you around the conference, and at the tweetup! (I can actually attend it since I won’t have to spend my time commuting to/from my parents house in the suburbs!) I hope to pay it forward throughout my professional career.

  11. I’d like to add my sincere thanks to those who donated to the Spontaneous Scholarship Fund. Like others who’ve posted here, I just finished a MSLS program with a concentration in Archives and Records Management and have been on the job search. I’m sure most of you know what that’s like! I have a great student internship that, sadly, ends in August. As amazing as my internship is, it doesn’t leave me with a whole lot of pocket money for conferences. But when I found out that my poster proposal had been accepted and that I’d get to share my master’s thesis research at the conference, I knew I had to find a way to go. I cannot express how touched I am by the fact that strangers would be so willing to help one another. I know times are tough right now even for those of us who have jobs, and I don’t take that for granted for a second. I can’t wait to thank you in person in Chicago!

  12. I cannot even begin to express my gratitude to Kate and all the donors, who have made it possible to attend my first SAA conference. I am in my first post-graduate paid position, but it is a part-time, grant-funded one, without any professional development benefits (or any other benefits, for that matter!). I am very happy to have the paycheck and love my work, but I was deeply disappointed when I realized just how expensive SAA would be, and that even though it is a short train ride away, I wouldn’t be able to go as a result. Que Kate and the amazing surge of donations! Not only does the scholarship make it so I get to attend this incredible conference and all that comes with it, but it also makes me feel more connected to the archives community than I ever did before. I am so truly grateful to everyone who donated, and I am eager to see this become a yearly fundraising event!


  13. Thanks so much to Kate and all the donors for this lovely scholarship! This will be my first SAA conference as a non-student, so I’m very grateful to have help with the extra expense. The conference which I previously attended had a great impact on my professional development, and I am sure this year’s will be no different. The generosity of other archivists proves that our profession is full of kind, as well as intelligent, people, and hopefully by next year, I will be able to contribute myself.

  14. I am chiming in a bit late to thank Kate and the incredibly generous group of 94 people who responded to her fundraising effort. My sentiments echo many of those of my fellow recipients. I am of course grateful to receive money for my SAA registration, without which it would have been impossible for me to attend this year. However this “spontaneous scholarship” has special significance for me at this particular moment in my life.

    Like some of the other recipients, I am not a student. I obtained my MLIS in 2006 and have been somewhat lucky in that I’ve been able to work in the field since that time. However, I’ve only been able to cobble together a series of temporary, grant-funded, positions (and currently am doing contract work and do not get funding for professional development). During this time I’ve had the privilege to work for some great people who’ve become friends and mentors, but without getting into the details, I’ve also had the misfortune of being involved in a situation that sadly tarnished my view of the profession and had me seriously questioning whether it was worth continuing in archives. In the end I realized that in spite of what had happened, I enjoy the work and the people with whom it brings me into contact and I’m excited by all the changes currently taking place in the profession too much to leave. I am looking forward to attending SAA so that I can keep abreast of these changes as well as meet up with some of the truly wonderful, bright and now I can add generous people in our profession. Even had I not been one of the incredibly lucky recipients, just knowing that someone in our field came up with the idea to offer spontaneous scholarships and so many others responded, has rekindled my faith in the archives community! I look forward to being able to contribute to this scholarship next year!

  15. I am another recipient of the spontaneous scholarship and I am very thankful to all of the generous people who made it possible for me to at least register for the conference. This will be my first SAA conference and I am definitely interested to see this year’s presentations and panels. I am recently out of graduate school with a concentration in archives and so far I haven’t had much luck finding a full-time position with professional development benefits. When I saw the contest to get the registration paid by quite a few generous archivists, I didn’t want to miss the opportunity because I have been wanting to go to an archives conference for awhile. The trip expenses are not great for my finances but I know the conference will be worth it. If this scholarship takes place next year, I will try and contribute at least a few shillings.

  16. I am so thankful to Kate and the outrageously generous donors for helping me get to my first SAA conference! I’m a recent graduate of Pitt’s MLIS program, specializing in the Archives, Records Management, and Preservation track…actually yesterday was my last day, which is exciting and scary all at once!

    I’m looking forward to meeting Kate and all of the donors at the Tweetup. I’m also looking forward to many of the breakout sessions and trying to learn as much as possible about what’s going on in the field while in Chicago.

    Thanks again to Kate and the donors. I couldn’t have attended SAA without your help and I will be sure to contribute to next year’s scholarship fund as another way to say thanks. I feel lucky to be part of such a generous profession.

    See you in Chicago.

  17. Add my own thanks to the heap! I want to thank everyone who donated and congratulate my fellow lucky Spontaneous Scholarship recipients!

    This will be my first of hopefully many SAA conferences. I graduated from Simmons in May from the archives management track. I can’t wait to meet everyone at the tweet-up and to personally thank as many as I can.

    Next year I intend to be a donor! Thanks so much again!

  18. I would like to add my thanks and gratitude to Kate for initiating this and to all who contributed and made this possible.

    As a Ph.D. student, having to self-fund 3 conferences this year, I cannot tell you how much this means for me. This will be my first SAA conference (I am presenting too), and I am looking forward to learning new things and meeting people.

    Thank you again for making this possible!


  19. I’m very excited for the opportunity to attend SAA this year for the 75th conference in Chicago. I am a recent graduate of the University of Pittsburgh program in Archives and although I was forced to move back home to Kentucky, I am glad I will be able to stay abreast of the profession through this experience.

    This spontaneous and donation-based reason for my being able to attend continues to impress me with each day that the conference draws closer, and I enjoy sharing with people from outside the profession just how strong and generous a community is ours. I look forward to meeting as many of the donors as possible at the Tweetup and throughout the week. Many thanks to Kate and her supporters for their efforts in supporting the new and underfunded bunch. I hope that I can soon join you in being a generous archivist!


  20. Hi Kate,
    Thank you for having an idea and running with it. Though we briefly met in person once, I’m a friend of yours on FB and watched the momentum of this project build from its starting point. I remember seeing your birthday post requesting donations for another friend of yours who could not attend SAA without help. I have to admit I was a little envious. Thanks to social networking, however, I was able to easily keep track of the evolution of an idea to a full-on fundraising drive. I tossed my name in the hat as soon as you shared this opportunity with the rest of your friends and I won. I sincerely thank you and the donors for your good will and generosity. See you all at the tweet-up.

  21. Thank you to everyone who made this scholarship program possible — but thanks most of all to Kate, who spearheaded it and donated such a large amount of time and energy! I’m a recent (May 2011) MLIS grad from San Jose State, and this will be my first SAA conference. In fact, it’s my first professional conference of any kind, so right now I’m a strange combination of nerves and excitement.

    I’ve spent my summer job hunting, and I had no idea how frustrating and heartbreaking the experience would be. That so many generous people have reached out to help others in their field — it’s helped to lift my spirits. I’m going to try to make the most of my time in Chicago, including taking 2 pre-conference courses. I look forward to meeting the donors and other scholarship recipients!

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