TWS thanks The 1,000 members at annual reception

David Frey

TWS CEO Ed Thompson meets with members of The 1,000, the group of TWS members who give at least $100 annually to the Society.

Members of The 1,000 gathered Monday evening at the historic Hotel Andaluz for an annual reception to thank them for their commitment to The Wildlife Society.

“These are folks who are highly dedicated who want to help us reach our strategic plan goals faster,” said TWS CEO Ed Thompson. “Many things that we would like to be doing for members would be slower to develop. Because of the generosity of this group, we have been able to expedite services to members that might have had to sit a year or two at least.”

The 1,000 was launched in 2014 by Thompson and former TWS President Bruce Leopold with the goal of creating an additional revenue stream of $200,000 from 1,000 members who make an annual donation of at least $100. Their contributions fund TWS strategic plan initiatives that might otherwise be delayed or unfunded.

“The reception is our annual opportunity to face-to-face thank these people for all they do for The Wildlife Society,” Thompson said. “It takes an extra layer of generosity and loyalty to make a contribution of $100 or more. We’ve got many in here who donate $1,000 or more. They do it because they care about the organization. They do it because they want to see us be able to expedite benefits and services, to get more people into the organization. This is really our chance to thank them. We try to do that in writing during the year but that’s not as personal. We want to make sure they know they’re appreciated and are making a difference for the Society.”

The gathering included many longtime members who see The Wildlife Society as having been instrumental in their career.

“I joined because I believe in this organization,” said Wini Kessler, recipient of this year’s Aldo Leopold Memorial Award. “I think it’s important particularly for the leadership of the organization to step up and set an example.”

“It’s a great financial vehicle to get the leaders of the profession to provide funds to further the work we do at the conference and throughout the year,” said TWS past President Gary Potts. “I think the membership appreciates that the leaders are looking to expand the breadth of what we do.”

Since the program began, more than 350 TWS members have joined The 1,000, contributing more than $244,000.

“From the beginning, when I first became a student, The Wildlife Society was instrumental to my professional development,” said Chad Bishop. “I got asked to give and I didn’t hesitate too much because of that long association with TWS. I felt it’s been integral to my professional development.”

TWS Council Representative Art Rodgers said he felt fortunate to be financially able to give. “You should support TWS any way you can,” he said, “to allow us to continue to build on the organization we have in place.”

“It’s important to The Wildlife Society,” said past President Paul Krausman, “and it allows it to do things it couldn’t do otherwise.”

While The 1,000 helps TWS, Thompson said, it also has a return for those who join.

“It’s a way to become a part of a really amazing group of people,” he said, folks they can network with, who are likeminded and have a deep passion for the Society.”

On Monday evening, they gathered for food and drinks in the Spanish-style atrium of the restored hotel, the fourth built by New Mexico native Conrad Hilton.

“The Wildlife Society does important work,” said TWS Council Representative Bob Lanka. “This give me a chance beyond my membership dues to contribute to an organization I really believe in.”

David Frey is an editor at The Wildlife Society. Contact him at dfrey@wildlife.org with any questions or comments about his article. Read more of David's articles here.

You can follow him on Twitter at @davidmfrey.