Founded in 2016, the SAME Foundation strengthens and expands the philanthropic efforts of the Society through its compelling purpose to foster engineering leadership for the nation. The Foundation supports programs that introduce youth to STEM, develop emerging leaders with our membership, and increase the number of veterans transitioning into the engineering and construction workforce. The Foundation also provides a secure and beneficial repository for charitable and other bequeaths from members of the Society and the public at large.
Bricks & Clicks recently chatted with Hal Rosen, F.SAME (Dist.), SAME Foundation President and Board Chair, on how the Foundation is investing in programs like the SAME Leader Development Program to help identify and inspire the next generation of engineering leaders; its five-point action plan to meet the engineering and leadership challenges facing the nation; and what the Foundation means to him personally.
BRICKS & CLICKS: What was the impetus for the establishment of the SAME Foundation in 2016?
ROSEN: The SAME Foundation was intended to be the philanthropic arm of the Society, and today serves to encompass the full range of the 2025 SAME Strategic Plan. Prior to the establishment of the SAME Foundation, the Society did not have the mechanisms to carry out philanthropism at a truly national level. SAME was not operated to fundraise beyond what was necessary to cover operating expenses, and its annual budget did not forecast fundraising or philanthropic spending. The Society also had no mechanism in place to recognize the passing of its members through wills and other planned giving.
If I could point to one thing that served as the genesis to the Foundation, it was a request that came to the SAME National Office to make improvements to the building at Dover Air Force Base where family members awaited the first step in “dignified transfer,” the solemn and respectful process of returning fallen Americans to U.S. soil. An officer of SAME requested that the Society make improvements to the décor and landscaping of the building to make it more welcoming to family members awaiting the return of their loved ones. The Society did not have the mechanisms or the budget in place to meet the request, and so it had to be respectfully declined.
At the same time, the Society’s Board of Direction decided it should appoint a task force chaired by Jennifer Fogg, F.SAME, to consider how the organization might be more responsive to these types of requests. After lengthy study, the task force strongly recommended to the Board of Direction the establishment of what would become the SAME Foundation.
The Foundation was designed to be the philanthropic arm of the Society. Subsequently, the SAME Foundation later would define its compelling purpose—Fostering Engineering Leadership for the Nation—within the parameters of its founding purposes, and the compelling purpose was accepted by the Board of Direction.
BRICKS & CLICKS: The challenges facing our nation and the A/E/C community continue to grow in complexity and urgency. How is the SAME Foundation planning on meeting these needs?
ROSEN: The engineering-related challenges facing our nation are huge—from disruptive technologies, extreme weather, and climate change, to new cybersecurity risks and most recently a global pandemic. There should be no denying that the world’s balance of power and the place of this great nation in that balance are being threatened every day.
One way to respond to these threats is to be certain that this country maintains its leadership capabilities, including most importantly its engineering leadership.
Disruptions are a constant, and the need for leadership in our engineering fields is also a constant. We are far behind Russia in annual numbers of engineering graduates and far behind China in producing technology graduates. At the same time, our nation faces complex national security and infrastructure challenges, as well as non-country ideological threats. One way to respond to these threats is to be certain that this country maintains its leadership capabilities, including most importantly its engineering leadership.
The Society and the SAME Foundation are responding to the criticality of engineering leadership. The steps are small now, but they will grow and need to grow exponentially. That response includes the Society’s Leader Development Program (LDP). Early in its life, the SAME Foundation agreed to provide financial underwriting to the LDP. The program, now in its third year, has had profound success.
This is just one example; the Foundation plans to undertake much more in the days and years ahead to meet the engineering needs of this nation and the A/E/C community as a whole.
BRICKS & CLICKS: SAME’s National Leader Development Program is one of the signature programs supported by the Foundation. What are the benefits of this program, and how is it helping meet your mission?
ROSEN: The LDP is a terrific initiative. This one-year training program, developed by the Society and its Leader Development Community of Interest, is now in its third year and receiving nominations for its fourth class, which will start up in 2022. From its first year, the participants, mentors, those that administer the curriculum, and everyone around them have confirmed the high quality and mission success of the program. Work colleagues and supervisors of participants and Society leadership likewise attest.
Just this fall, one of the members of the first class was selected to be the next President/CEO of the construction company he works for, effective in 2024 as part of a transition plan. Another member of the first class is an active-duty Army engineer who was recently elected to the SAME Board of Direction. And three members of the second LDP class spearheaded a project that was selected for a grant by the United Engineering Foundation to execute. This project addressed the subject of STEM support to American Indian and Native Alaskan youth and will help bring STEM outreach to four indigenous American Indian populations at reservations and territories in North Dakota, New Mexico, Florida, and Alaska.
These are just a few examples of the incredible potential that is coming through the program.
In summary, LDP is designed to train the next generation of world class military, government, civilian, and industry leaders for the Society and the nation. It is tailored to the individual to lift the participants to higher expectation levels and roles in their chosen careers. Specific goals of the program are to expand the knowledge base of engineering and to develop, expand, and promote best practices. The LDP also goes a long way to address needed leadership capabilities that are critical not just to SAME but to the nation as a whole.
Because of its goals and successes in its brief three years, the Leader Development Program has been embraced by private sector and the military alike. One-third of the current third class is composed of active duty and reserve military. Almost one-half of the class comes from within DOD, military and civilian.
Each class participant closes with a project under the oversight of an assigned mentor, much akin to a master’s degree thesis. Past projects have covered a range of subjects, including such things as the delineation of clear steps to transitioning from non-leadership into leadership roles. A program has also been developed by which individuals moving up the ladder of leadership can learn from past leaders, referred to as the Exemplar Program. For the Society itself and particularly the Posts, class participants developed a toolkit to be used by Post leadership to provide continuing mentoring for Post scholarship recipients.
Because of its goals and successes in its brief three years, the LDP has been embraced by private sector and the military alike. One-third of the current third class is composed of active duty and reserve military. Almost one-half of the class comes from within DOD, military and civilian.
It is an honor for the SAME Foundation to support this program and its participants in their leadership progression. We could not do this without the support of our donors. Those that financially support the SAME Foundation should know that their donations benefit causes in support of engineering leadership, as the underwriting of the LDP confirms.
BRICKS & CLICKS: The SAME Foundation also helps support SAME’s Engineering & Construction Camps, K-12 STEM outreach, and credentialing-related programs. Can you share more about how these programs support your compelling purpose?
ROSEN: We all know the criticality of STEM. It embraces fields we must support for the future of this nation. K-12 STEM outreach, including the SAME Engineering & Construction Camps, is indispensable to the SAME Foundation’s mission of fostering engineering leadership.
K-12 STEM, including the SAME Engineering & Construction Camps program, is indispensable to the Foundation’s mission of fostering engineering leadership.
The summer camps program, running now for a good 20 years and with at least 3,000 alumnae, has been a boon to the Society’s efforts to engage and interest high school students in engineering, specifically military engineering. The Foundation is proud to provide partial financial support for this effort. Nowhere else, with the mutual partnered support between SAME and our military engineering services, are such camps possible.
In a sense, the SAME Foundation focuses its financial support generationally. For young students, the Foundation financially supports K-12 STEM outreach, most particularly the summer Engineering & Construction camps. Then, the Foundation financially supports the Leader Development Program focused on a different generation. The Foundation is now adding focus to another generation to support those transitioning from the military to the private sector of the A/E/C world. These generations all have the attention of the SAME Foundation with its focus on fostering engineering leadership for the nation.
Our action plan in support of our Second Century Fundraising Campaign, which we launched earlier this year, identifies five primary areas we seek to invest in:
- Grow SAME’s National Leader Development Program
- Prepare Veterans for Success in the A/E/C Profession
- Improve K-12 STEM Outreach at the Post Level
- Enhance the Mentoring Capacity of the Society
- Inspire High School and College Students to Pursue Engineering/STEM Careers
BRICKS & CLICKS: What are some ways that the SAME Foundation is assisting Posts, now and in the future?
ROSEN: SAME’s Posts have done so much for engineering leadership for so many years through their scholarship funds and local community engagement. The SAME Foundation wants to see those scholarship efforts continue, even expand, at the Post level. During the early days of the Foundation, there was concern that Posts might misconstrue the SAME Foundation as some form of competition, or worse yet, some sort of threat to the Posts and their scholarship funds. There is nothing further from the truth. The intent always was and remains that the SAME Foundation support the Posts.
An example of this is the SAME Foundation’s Post Funds Policy. By that policy, the Foundation offers to invest and manage Post funds along with the Foundation’s own funds, with all earnings accruing to the Posts and the Post funds fully remaining as Post funds. This can take a huge administrative burden off of Posts, especially those that do not have the volunteer manpower to manage the investment portfolios of their scholarship funds. The process and policy have worked quite successfully for Posts for the past five years. The SAME Foundation currently manages scholarship funds for nine Society Posts, with many more Posts looking into this.
The SAME Foundation would like to further buttress the capabilities of the Posts. All we need to do is think about how the Posts might engage further to foster engineering leadership for the nation. An area that comes to mind is mentorship. How might the Foundation augment the Posts in their mentorship efforts? Posts will best answer that, and the Foundation stands willing to provide support.
It is important to understand that the SAME Foundation takes its lead from the Society Board of Direction on what the Foundation will underwrite. The SAME Foundation undertakes support of programs within the Society’s strategic goals and objectives that are aligned with fostering engineering leadership for the nation, as long as the Foundation’s Board of Directors believes it has the wherewithal to undertake the financial underwritings. All the more reason for Society membership to lend donative support to the Foundation!
BRICKS & CLICKS: What has been the most rewarding aspect for you in your role as President and Chair of the SAME Foundation Board of Directors?
ROSEN: I served as legal counsel to the Society as a volunteer for some 20 years. As legal counsel, I often had a voice in instances in which requested philanthropic supports were deemed outside the parameters of the Society’s mission and abilities. Once the task force reported out its recommendation for the creation of a foundation for SAME several years ago, I was more than ready to provide legal support to that effort. There was a very small group of us nationally that further conceptualized the operation of the Foundation and did the legwork, all under the oversight of a select Founding Board and the SAME Board of Direction. This culminated in the creation of the SAME Foundation we know today.
In 2016, the SAME Foundation was incorporated in the District of Columbia and received its 501(c)(3) designation, without any questions raised by the Internal Revenue Service. Shortly thereafter, as was part of the plan, the Foundation was financially “seeded” by a transfer of the Society’s Education & Mentoring Fund, carrying forward the original purpose of that fund. Our initial Founding Board, comprised of accomplished senior leaders within the profession—Lt. Gen. Robert Antwerp, F.SAME, USA (Ret.), Vice Adm. Mike Loose, F.SAME, USN (Ret.), Maj. Gen. Del Eulberg, F.SAME, USAF (Ret.), Col. W.H. “Bud” Griffis, Ph.D., F.SAME, USA (Ret.), and Roger Wozny, F.SAME (Dist.)—was selected to represent the enduring roots of the Society: the services, industry, and SAME’s Posts.
That is the rewarding aspect to me—seeing the growth we are making and foreseeing the ‘force’ that the Foundation is now just becoming.
Once the SAME Foundation was incorporated and recognized as a 501(c)(3), I accepted appointment to the Foundation’s Board of Directors, which was officially initiated in January 2017, and then under the chairmanship of Col. John Mogge, Jr., Ph.D., F.SAME, USAF (Ret.). That early group was called upon to develop multiple organizational processes and policies, including an investment policy, stewardship policy, fundraising policy, Post funds custodial policy, and, of course, defining the Foundation’s compelling purpose in those few words—Fostering Engineering Leadership for the Nation. I participated with the drafting of all of those policies. I guess you could say I had a large investment, certainly of time, in the success of the SAME Foundation.
The next step was to become overall operational with both fundraising and the undertaking of financial underwritings to support programs. I knew this would be a challenging time, and I threw my hat in the ring for an additional three-year Foundation Board term, this time to serve as Chair of the Foundation Board and as its President. I proudly was accepted and appointed to fill those positions, and I spend each and every day delighted to move the needle forward. Each and every day has been most rewarding to me.
It is my goal and objective to lead the SAME Foundation as “a force,” not just a player, in Fostering Engineering Leadership for the Nation. I see that happening now; the seeds are planted; the Foundation is bearing fruit. That is the rewarding aspect to me—seeing the growth we are making and foreseeing the “force” that the Foundation is now just becoming. The fact that seven of the 12 members of our Board of Directors are former national presidents of SAME underscores the credibility with which we are pursuing this vision.
I hope everyone within SAME, all members alike, embrace this passion and support the SAME Foundation. Together, we can do great things not just for this Society but for this nation.
As SAME moves ahead in its second century, the challenges facing national security and our A/E/C community continue to grow in complexity and urgency. Nations and non-state actors are striving to change the balance of world order. Technology and civilization are accelerating rapidly. Disruption is constant. Extreme weather and climate change pose dynamic and dangerous risks to mission-critical assets. Material scarcity, capacity shortfalls, artificial intelligence and machine learning, competing access to finite resources, even global pandemics, are impacting our ability to plan, design, build, and maintain the infrastructure needed to sustain a secure nation underpinned by a resilient economy. In order to address these and other future challenges, our nation must have a steady pipeline of quality and dedicated leaders and engineers.
The SAME Foundation has established a target to raise $1,000,000 during the Second Century Campaign, and we need your help to meet our goal! No matter the amount you choose, you can feel good knowing you are doing more than just talking about the issues facing the engineering community’s future…you are taking action. Help make a lasting difference. Become a Second Century Campaign Supporter today! Learn more at www.same.org/donate.