PMI Educational Foundation
past and present
A.C. “Fred” Baker, PMP Scott, Madden & Associates, Raleigh, North Carolina
PMI's Professionalism Policy Statement states that:
…For the decade of the 1990s, it is a fundamental goal of the Institute to promote and develop a true sense of professionalism in the practice of project management in all areas of application …
This vision of the 1990 Institute's Board of Directors was to leverage the emerging drive towards professionalism in project management, so that application of project management principles, techniques and tools would become recognized as more than just a technical way to plan and track projects. So much of this, or any advancement, is education. ally based. It was recognized that:
If you want one year of prosperity, grow grain.
If you want ten years of prosperity, grow trees.
If you want one hundred years of prosperity, grow people.
Growing trees and people is, in a nutshell, what the Foundation is all about.
PMI Project 202 to create an education-focused organization was approved at the fall 1989 Board of Directors meeting. Initially proposed as a subsidiary of PMI, tax laws required that it ultimately be established as a corporation separate from and independent of the Project Management Institute. Operationally, the vision, mission and policies of the Institute continue to greatly (and rightfully) influence strategic direction and decision making of the Foundation, and the Foundation's Board continues to be made up of members of the PMI Board.
A small group of individuals on the 1989 Board of Directors had a vision that a separate organization to manage and pursue education in project management, primarily through student chapters and scholarships, would facilitate a growing cadre of project management practitioners. Other professional organizations had successfully used this approach to not only advance their profession, but also to increase awareness and membership in their organization. This group of PMI Board members recognized that the emerging profession, and professionalism of project management could be greatly facilitated through just such a tactic.
The Foundation's Articles of Incorporation, filed in August 1990, empower the Foundation to:
- Solicit, receive and expend gifts, legacies and grants;
- Provide scholarships and fellowships for education in the field of project management and other related fields;
- Endow or establish professorships at colleges and universities;
- Assist in establishing degree programs in project management at institutions of higher learning;
- Administer and support student chapters;
- Assist educational research projects;
- Grant and confer awards, citations, or medals primarily in recognition of educational or other meritorious work in project management; and
- Provide for the preparation and dissemination of educational information concerning project management and related subjects by such means as publications, exhibits, lectures, workshops, and seminars.
Providing “independence” of these research, education, training and certification activities was key to receiving the May 1991 approval from the United States Government to operate as a 501 (c) (3) organization. This classification provides certain federal (and in some states) tax benefits to contributors to this Foundation.
Two additional benefits were seen by the PMI Board of Directors at the time that this Foundation was approved. First, PMI would be better able to pursue its educational objectives by managing educational activities separate from other business. Secondly, PMI could more positively project its educational activities to its marketplace by referencing the existence of, and operating from within the Foundation.
In July 1992, the Foundation's Board of Directors (and others) established the Mission Statement of the Foundation as:
To sponsor education and research dedicated to advancing the practice, theory, and profession of project/program management.
Progress continues to be made by the Foundation and its operation. There is money in the bank, and the student paper award and student chapter support have now been officially transferred to the Foundation. However, there remains work to be completed. It was reported in the April 1991 PMNETwork that among other things, administrative and operational procedures had to be developed, and that a fundraising campaign must be designed and implemented.
Since that time, the project manager of Project 202 resigned due to personal reasons (unrelated to the Foundation) and multiple occurrences of turnover in PMI's vice president-technical activities has impacted any continuity in progress towards full operational status of the Foundation. The PMI vice president-technical activities is the president of the Foundation's Board of Directors. This lack of continuity, along with fabricated uncertainties about the Foundation, its operation, its relationship to PMI, and other questions and personal agendas have greatly impacted the fruition of this vision in support of the advancement of the profession we call project management.
As you will see on page 52, the current Foundation's president (Bill Ruggles, PMI vice president-technical activities) has laid out his plans to firmly establish the PMI Educational Foundation as the premiere foundation of its type, as was originally envisioned by that small group of PMI Board members in 1989.
We all have a vested interest in the success of the Foundation. If the Project Management Institute, the PM profession, PM practitioners (PMI members and non-members alike), but most importantly, the future PM practitioners are to “promote and develop a true sense of professionalism in the profession of project management in all areas of application,” it is vital that this Foundationexcel.
Supporting Bill and the other members of the Foundation's Board of Directors will move the Institute (and its Educational Foundation) towards fulfilling their respective missions. ❑
Fred Baker is a senior associate with Scott, Madden & Associates, with 20 years experience in the utility industry. Prior to joining Scott, Madden & Associates, MT. Baker was a senior consultant and manager for Davis International, a project management consulting firm. He also has held a variety of engineering, supervisory, project management and management consulting positions with three utility companies (Omaha Public Power District, Gulf States Utilities, and Carolina Power and Light) and was project manager for Gibbs and Hill, Inc. Mr. Baker was the founding member of the North Carolina PMI Chapter and is a past chapter president and international officer for PMI.
Mr. Baker holds a B.S. in civil engineering from the University of Nebraska and an M.B.A. from the Fuqua School of Business at Duke University. He is also a certified Project Management Professional.
PMNETwork • June 1994
Organizations must invest in building a culture - and project teams - that can turn cutting-edge ideas into reality, according to new PMI research.