Futures Fund allocations total $1 million


The McMaster University Futures Fund (MUFF) will spend over $1 million in support of a wide variety of initiatives during the year.

The MUFF committee selected the nine projects, totalling $1,040,000, from submissions received from University Faculties, departments and individuals. The projects were chosen based on two main criteria: whether they would improve working conditions for members of the McMaster community and/or support academic and professional development of faculty and staff.

Harvey Weingarten, provost and vice-president academic and a member of the MUFF committee, says that although there are always more proposals than can be accepted, he is pleased with the selected allocations.

“I am glad to see additional money being put into staff training to continue those initiatives already in place. And I am also pleased to see there is more money available for scholarly presentations by faculty and staff (at conferences).”

One of MUFF's new initiatives relates to the current “Changing Tomorrow Today” campaign. Campaign donations specifically for scholarships for children of salaried employees will be matched to a maximum of $100,000. This will not only support the objectives of the campaign, but will increase the number of University scholarships available here at McMaster. The Office of Student Financial Aid and Scholarships has been asked to prepare an implementation plan for the committee to consider.

Five other proposals relate directly to staff and faculty working environments. The popular conference support program will continue ($200,000 allocated); the amount of support per presenter has been raised from $300 to $500. Both faculty and staff members who are making formal presentations to provincial, national or international conferences are eligible to apply for support.

Based on the positive reaction to the program to assist staff in increasing their proficiency with information technologies, this initiative will also be continued ($75,000 allocated). A total of $250,000 has been set aside, on a matching 50-50 basis, to fund any expenditures designed to upgrade working conditions through painting, provision of computers or replacement of furniture.

As well, the 4H1 lounge in the Health Sciences Centre will get a $35,000 facelift, and a further $100,000 is designated for outdoor campus improvements including tree planting.

In addition, MUFF will provide a one-time allocation of $200,000 in support of the Canadian National Site Licensing Project, a three-year initiative of the Canadian Foundation for Innovation to establish electronic libraries. The funds will ensure that the McMaster Library can continue subscribing to both print and digital research materials during the interim period so that there will be no gap in the research materials being collected.

Two Department of Athletics & Recreation proposals were also accepted. Funds will be used to hire a consulting firm to conduct a feasibility study on the construction of a campus field house, and the Fitness Gallery will receive $50,000 for new aerobic-fitness equipment.

Established by the Board of Governors in 1996, the McMaster University Futures Fund is the interest earned by the University on cash that, because of limitations imposed by Revenue Canada, cannot be remitted to the pension plan.

The MUFF Committee is comprised of four members named by the President and four named by employee/retiree associations.