Endowments are perpetual sources of funds that make many universities able to undertake challenging activities that can be transformative in nature. The yield from endowment can fund such activities for generations to come.
The GPS faculty have done something truly extraordinary — perhaps even singular. By providing monetary resources from their personal discretionary accounts they have collectively raised $400,000. Through many individual contributions — spanning from the junior faculty, through the senior faculty, to the emeritus faculty — we achieved our target goal of $400k in a very short time. Furthermore, each of the GPS Division's major centers (Caltech Center for Comparative Planetary Evolution, Linde Center for Global Environmental Science, and the Seismological Laboratory) contributed funds that were matched by the GPS Division, bringing our current total to $700,000. The way Caltech endowments are managed, the annual payout is 5%, so that gives us a budget of $35,000 each year. This DEI Fund could only have been created as a result of the faculty's deep commitment to the future of diversity, equity and inclusion. As a specifically directed endowed fund, with an annual payout to manage, it not only guarantees we'll have a resource for generations to come; it also ensures we won't forget the intention of the fund after the current moment, with its passions, have subsided. It will be there every year to remind us of its importance.
This new DEI Fund will enable us to offer, beginning with the next round of admissions, several Diversity Fellowships to eligible applicants. Those fellowships will be offered at the time of admission through recommendations from the option reps and discussion among the entire faculty. Furthermore, through the recommendations of the Committee on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, the faculty will make decisions on how to best spend available resources for a broad variety of activities involving outreach, inreach, WAVE fellows, recruiting, and more. The entire Division community is encouraged to submit ideas to the DEI Committee for their consideration. At $700k, the payout will be modest, so we will need to thoughtful and deliberative to use it most wisely.