If you’re interested in supporting the cause of free markets and entrepreneurship in space, now is your chance! The Space Frontier Foundation (on whose board I sit) is wrapping up their annual fund-raising drive today (12/4) with a 1:1 donation matching program. More about the Foundation follows below in a letter from our Chairman, Bob Werb. If you are interested in supporting foundations work, today is the day to make whatever (tax-deductible) donation you can. Otherwise, you can follow the Foundation or get our NewSpace News feed on Twitter.
The Space Frontier Foundation is an incubator for people, organizations, and ideas.
By giving responsibility to talented young people, we help them prove themselves and learn skills they need to pursue careers advancing NewSpace. Former key volunteers are now working throughout the NewSpace community, in commercial space, and in government leadership positions.
I can’t count the number of NewSpace companies that began with private conversations at a Foundation event. Preliminary ideas presented at our business plan competitions have grown into successful startups. And more are in the pipeline.
Frontier enabling concepts once considered too “far out” have long found a friendly hearing and support from the Foundation. Fuel depots, tethers, commercial crew and cargo, suborbital rocketplanes, sunshades, laser launch, prizes, tax credits, property rights, settlement, protecting earth’s fragile biosphere, unleashing the power of free enterprise and on and on are now part of the mainstream discussion about the future of spaceflight.
Incubating people, organizations and ideas continues. More than half of our Board of Directors, and virtually our entire conference team, are under 30. When I was in Boston in September I got to hear the winner and runner-up from our August business plan competition make greatly improved presentations to Space Investment Summit 7. In recent weeks we told DARPA that they need to consider legal and economic issues in resolving the orbital debris problem; we poked fun at Time magazine for calling Ares the “best and smartest and coolest thing built in 2009″; we submitted a whitepaper to the National Academy of Science’s Decadal Review; and, we submitted ideas for six new prizes to Centennial Challenges. These sorts of activities are ongoing and limited only by having enough money and volunteers.
Which brings me to my main point: we need your money; we need your time!
Let me tell it to you straight. These are not only challenging times for individuals and for-profit companies. Times are also difficult in most of the non-profit sector. Large donors, portfolios ravished, are giving less. All donors are concentrating their giving on alleviating the pain caused by recession, especially the local pain they see around them. This leaves non-profits that address longer term concerns, and national, international and global needs, struggling. The Space Frontier Foundation is doing better than many, largely because of an influx of young volunteers, allowing us to do more with less. The fact that we have raised less than expected, coupled with partial recovery in one of those ravished donor portfolios, is permitting me to announce that the matching donation period is being extended through Friday.
We now have a commitment to match all donations made before Friday, December 4th.
If you are thinking that all you can afford is $50, or even $15, and that hardly makes much difference – please think again. Often all a volunteer needs to get going on a vital task is for us to reimburse the purchase of a flash drive, paper, ink or other inexpensive items. We’ve mastered the art of fueling our efforts with little more than pizza and beer. We will stretch every dollar to maximize its impact on opening the space frontier to human settlement.
Space Frontier Foundation
16 First Ave.
Nyack, NY 10960
To volunteer your time contact Will Watson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Open the Frontier!
Chairman of the Board