Looking back over the history of the FRSA Educational and Research Foundation, much has been accomplished. Thanks to the generous donations of many in the industry, the Foundation presents roofing specific continuing education seminars and awards scholarships year after year. Over the last 20 years, the Foundation also funded significant research and established a training center. There’s more work ahead and there’s an opportunity for companies and individuals who have benefitted from the Florida roofing industry to join the effort and give back.
Twenty years ago, TAMKO Building Products, in response to a request by FRSA Past President Mike Silvers, CPRC, donated $25,000 to the FRSA Foundation. Florida Forum, the forerunner of Florida Roofing, covered the check presentation in its October 2003 edition: those funds were the first received for the establishment of the Endowment. “That was the break in the ice,” Silvers says, “members realized that the Endowment was really a thing.”
Then in 2005, the FRSA Self Insurers Fund donated $100,000 and became the first Chancellor-level contributor. As the Foundation began to create new donor categories, many generous members and FRSA Affiliates contributed and established named Endowments (see list). Governor-level and above donors are entitled to a seat on the Board of Governors, which meets quarterly at FRSA meetings, and a voice in how the endowment earnings are best utilized. Today, the endowment corpus stands at $1.2 million.
As Endowment Chairman Les Sims, CPRC noted at the September meeting, “Our commitment to you is to never spend that money. It remains in the Endowment forever.” The earnings from the Endowment are used to further the goals of the Foundation. Contributors can designate how they would like their donations to be used: whether it’s promoting the development of industry-related seminars, annual scholarships, research or other efforts that align with the Foundation’s purpose.
One of the recognized needs of the industry was the establishment of a training center. At the time, the focus of leadership was building an FRSA training center. Today, the Foundation offers a first-class training center at its new building in Orlando. The facility is used for FRSA industry seminars, to host meetings with contractors and building officials and is also available to rent for both members and non-members (www.floridaroof.com/tc).
One effort over the past few years is the development of a worker training manual that contractors can use in-house to train employees. That effort, after many, many hours of work by industry volunteers and FRSA staff, is nearly complete and the first edition of “Introduction to Roofing Technology” is scheduled for release at the 2024 FRSA Convention next June. In his inaugural speech, Sims, who is also serving as FRSA President this year, stated that one of the goals of his presidency is to make the training manual available to all FRSA contractor members free of charge. As part of the release, the Foundation will need to develop a “train the trainer” seminar to familiarize trainers with the manual’s content. In addition, producing the manual in on-demand video format has also been discussed. This will require a significant commitment in effort and funds from the Foundation.
Whether for the production of FRSA’s worker training manual, annual seminars and scholarships, research or another focus, the Foundation needs your support. I encourage you to consider contributing to the Foundation Endowment. Leave a legacy of giving on behalf of your company or your family into the future. For more information, contact John at 800-767-3772 ext. 123 or firstname.lastname@example.org.