SPSSI Secretary-Treasurer's Report
A lot has happened since the last newsletter column that I wrote. Council and the Executive Committee have been busy over the last six months devoting a great deal of time and effort to our strategic planning initiative, and from the perspective of the Secretary Treasurer it is going very well. The membership has participated in a data gathering survey, Council devoted most of the Winter meeting to coming up with “bold” ideas for SPSSI, and a SPSSI planning committee participated in a follow-up meeting to further articulate a new bold agenda. I am excited about the new steps ahead for our organization. Of course, the strategic planning needs to proceed from an understanding of our current financial situation, which remains strong. As of June 1, 2017 the market value of SPSSI assets totaled $3,962,394 which included $3,638,462 held in a Managed Account and $323,932 in cash and equivalents. During the 2017 year, we sold our old Central Office property for $1,050,000 and purchased the new Central Office property for $1,832,105.30. We transferred $900,000 out of our invested reserves to complete the purchase of the new building. SPSSI’s investment portfolio as of December 1, 2017 was equal to $3,140,865. At the end of December, our portfolio equaled $3,157,823, a gain of $16,958 for the first month in which Raffa Wealth Management, LLC took over as our financial manager following council’s vote to move our investment funds in June 2017. The current strength of our financial holdings will allow us to move forward with confidence with the agenda that emerges from the strategic planning process.
At the Winter Meeting, all council members visited our new Central Office, which is a spacious and open environment in an ideal location close to some exciting commercial areas in Washington D.C. The office is close to a Metro stop making it convenient for travel and it is not far at all from Capitol Hill. Our new Executive Director, Anila Balkissoon and our dedicated Central Office staff have created a comfortable environment at Central office about which all SPSSI members can be proud.
Finally, I want to comment on the progress of the SPSSI Local Policy Initiative, which is now in its third year of operation, enacted after I presented a proposal to establish the project at the 2015 Summer Council Meeting. The project funds up to three local to state level, policy groups to review existing research, conduct additional research as needed and offer the findings to local and state level, policy makers to assist them in data driven decision-making. To be eligible for a $2000 award, a group needs to show that it consisted of a minimum of five social scientists who live in the same jurisdiction and were working on the same issue broadly defined. The proposal needs to demonstrate compellingly to the review committee that the members were interested in the policy applications of psychological science and other social science research. The review committee gives special consideration to groups that involved new PhDs embarking on careers in policy research. The review committees have received 22 proposals and have funded nine with three more under review. At the last two SPSSI conferences, we have had symposia in which the recipients of the proposals discussed their empirical findings and the way in which they used their results to influence local and state level policy. I am delighted that this project has grown in the last several years and I look forward to watching it develop in the next several years.
Speaking of the next several years, at its Winter Meeting, Council voted to offer me a second term as SPPSI secretary/treasurer, which I was honored to accept. I look forward to continuing to serve the membership and help guide our organization as it begins to enact our new strategic plan. There are exciting times ahead for SPSSI!