AMCHAM Executive Director’s Remarks
We just finished having a Ball – literally! Hopefully you were one of the 400+ members and guests who attended our annual Governors Ball on April 22 at the AVANI Riverside. The theme this year, “Country Roundup,” provided an opportunity for cowboys and cowgirls and those with a country spirit to let loose. It was certainly an enjoyable evening, even if you didn’t like to line dance! I want to give a big thank you to Sheree Tanpensuk at the AMCHAM office and the whole AMCHAM team for the great job they did this year. And of course, a thank you to our event partners, raffle prize donors, and the AVANI Riverside for the support and effort that went into this year’s ball. And the good news – we raised approximately Baht 1.6 million for the AMCHAM Thailand Foundation that will go directly towards helping underprivileged Thai students get a better education.
We are already planning for our next big event – the Independence Day Picnic. This year’s picnic will be held on Saturday, July 1 at Bangkok Patana School. To make this event a success we need your help! Please consider supporting the picnic in one or more of the following ways:
• Sponsor one of the remaining stars on our Star- Spangled Banner. In addition to your name or company logo on the banner, you will be given an opportunity to operate a booth with a fun activity and ten entrance tickets to distribute to family, friends and staff; • Provide a raffle prize or small give- away
items for the charity game; • Volunteer to be on the organizing committee or help out on the day of the event.
All proceeds from the event go to help fund the AMCHAM Thailand Foundation educational programs. Regardless of whether you can support the event in any of the ways listed above, please come out and join us on July 1. Entrance ( and raffle tickets!) will be available this month at all AMCHAM events.
AMCHAM THAILAND FOUNDATION
At the beginning of this year, the AMCHAM Board made some structural changes to the AMCHAM budget regarding the support of the AMCHAM Thailand Foundation with the instructions that the Foundation should aim to be self- sustaining. For approximately the last eight years, at year- end, surplus funds from the Chamber’s operating budget were donated to the Foundation and provided almost half of the Foundation funding. This surplus, however, has dwindled over the years as AMCHAM membership dues have not been increased since 2002 and several of our larger events ( such as the USA Fair and Government Appreciation dinner) were postponed. The stagnant dues, coupled with normal inflation and the addition of several staffing positions ( including the new Government Affairs Director position) means that the Chamber is now operating at a break- even budget.
The end- result is that in order to continue our support of the Foundation’s educational programs – namely the Student Scholarship fund and the English Teaching Assistantship, the AMCHAM Foundation will need to more heavily rely on direct support from members. Currently, all proceeds from our social events, including the Governors Ball silent auction, the Independence Day picnic, sports activities ( golf and bowling) and social networking nights are directly donated to the Foundation. Due to the generous support from the AMCHAM Corporate Partners, their sponsorship of the above programs generated approximately Baht 3.5 million through the social activities. This level of sponsorship will allow to support 140 student scholarships, down from the 200 Thai university students we have given scholarships to for the last three years ( note that the level of student scholarship has grown substantially from 2003 when we provided 30 scholarships).
We are now reaching out to AMCHAM members to fund both additional scholarships and the English Teaching Assistantship ( ETA) program ( our partner program with the Thai- U. S. Education Foundation – Fulbright, which sends native English speakers to help teach English at schools around the country). If you wish to support a student or an ETA, please contact foundation@ amchamthailand.com.
Supporting education has been one of the key community engagement activities at the Chamber and the Student Scholarship program has been one of our most successful programs, with almost 2,500 Thai students having received scholarships from the Chamber since 1986. The ETA program has 22 English assistants around the country and we all are aware that increasing the English language capabilities of Thai students is a priority. Please help us continue to support both these programs.
The Foundation will continue to operate the Adopt- a- School program for those members who want to provide hard infrastructure items, such as playgrounds, water systems, libraries, etc. The Foundation, however, will not be in a position to provide matching funds at this time. The matching funds program was initiated approximately eight years ago based on the surplus fund donation. We are still happy to accept donations to the program and find worthy schools who can avail of your generosity. If you have any questions about the above changes, please feel free to contact me. Best regards, Judy Benn Executive Director