By Brenda Kai, Executive Director, EDSF
EDSF, the international non-profit organization dedicated to the document management and graphic communications industries, could not be effective without the outstanding leadership of its Board of Directors—all volunteers who support EDSF in its mission. EDSF grants scholarships to students in support of their academic careers, provides research grants to colleges and universities, builds awareness about industry careers, and recognizes innovative educators and educational programs.
To bring more insight into EDSF’s efforts, Franchise Services President and COO, Richard Lowe, the new EDSF chairman, shares his thoughts on EDSF happenings as they relate to helping students.
As an industry leader, Lowe joined the Franchise Services in 1989, and today the company’s print management group operates the brands of Sir Speedy, PIP, Signal Graphics and MultiCopy—all well-known and highly successful brands in the quick printing industry.
DN: Congratulations on your new position as Chairman of the Board of EDSF. How long has Franchise Services been involved with EDSF?
RL:We are proud to say that Franchise Services has been a supporter since EDSF was founded in 1996. Their primary focus has been, and continues to be making positive changes in the lives of students, and we share that dedication. I personally joined the Board in 2008 and served on the Development Committee prior to becoming Chairman.
DN: What benefits does EDSF provide to the industry?
RL:It’s hard to imagine a more challenging business environment than we have experienced this past year. Despite all the turmoil, there remains within the increasingly complex world of document management, graphic communications and printing a critical need to attract and foster the development of the next generation of business professionals.
However, also during this same time, financial assistance programs for students have been drastically reduced while the costs of an education have continued to rise. EDSF programs help fill these needs by providing scholarships to students attending two-year and four-year college/university and postgraduate programs worldwide. To date 306 scholarships have been awarded in ten countries.
DN: What is the biggest challenge EDSF is facing?
RL:Fundraising remains a critical issue and it is no surprise that the Wall Street Journal reported that contributions to non-profit organizations focusing on education were down 24 percent in 2009 due to the economy. To overcome this shortfall requires a different approach to fundraising and a willingness to investigate new initiatives. This year, we developed several campaigns and programs designed to attract a higher number of individual contributions in addition to our corporate sponsorships.
One of my personal favorite’s, is the Adopt-a-Scholar program designed for donors interested in a more personal approach to providing educational support. Participation in this program provides each donor with a thank you letter from the student receiving support along with their photo and a short profile. Other new programs also include:
- eBay Giving Works
- Continuing education partnership with AIIM Certificate Program
In addition, there are many different ways to establish or contribute to an existing scholarship award.
Information about all donation opportunities is available on the Web site at: www.edsf.org.
DN: What other thoughts would you like to share with our readers?
RL: I would like to thank everyone who supported EDSF’s “The Future is Bright” campaign in December, and ask for your continued support.
With the recent disaster in Haiti, we’ve seen the difference the “Power of Many” can make. Everything we give today, no matter the size, has more meaning, more power, more importance and for our students, more hope. Every dollar donated has a greater impact than it did just a year ago. We ask for your help in working to make a difference for a student pursuing their dream of continued education.
In closing, I want to share a quote from one scholarship recipient from 2009:
“Knowing the industry is behind me and willing to support me financially means so much. This generous scholarship encourages me in preparing for a bright future and allows me to put a stronger focus on my education rather than how to pay for it.”
– Jason Landrum