Getting Miles Out of Your Contributions: A Letter from the SABA President

By Peter Killeen

You know the society for the advancement of Behavior Analysis (SABA) because every year the ABAI annual convention opens with the SABA award ceremony, where we honor distinguished members who have been major contributors to behavior science. Let me invite you to attend our second virtual annual convention opening event and join me from the comfort of your home to honor our 2021 award recipients:

  • M. Jackson (Jack) Marr for Distinguished Service to Behavior Analysis
  • Carl Hart for Effective Presentation of Behavior Analysis in the Mass Media
  • Allen Neuringer for Scientific Translation
  • Carmen Luciano for International Dissemination of Behavior Analysis
  • The Center for Autism and Related Disorders (CARD) for Enduring Programmatic Contributions in Behavior Analysis; CARD founder Doreen Granpeesheh will receive the award on behalf of her organization.

Individuals and organizations such as these, and each of you in your own ways, are what make behavior analysis an effective and important contributor to the well-being of our society. Not only do you work as behavior analysts for the well-being of those around you, many of you contribute generously to SABA so that it may foster behavior analysis. Thank you for that; let me share how SABA is fulfilling that mission. SABA was created to provide financial support for the advancement of behavior analysis. Its funds were established by the contributions of many ABAI members and significant donors from our discipline. SABA has supported 182 research, development, and dissemination projects through grants, and has helped 713 students grow their careers by remitting their registration fees for ABAI events.

When you decide to donate to SABA, your contributions will be dedicated to the purpose you specify. You can donate either to a long- or short-term fund, to help students advance their careers in behavior analysis or to help more established researchers and practitioners innovate, making new discoveries and applications in the field.

Long-Term Funds
Long-term funds will be kept in perpetuity. By managing the principal of the funds, SABA disburses the interest on them as grants to support research and advancement of behavior analysis. Some of the largest funds have been made by significant individual donors.

Sidney W. and Janet R. Bijou Endowment Fund
This fund was created through the generous donations of the Bijous in 1996. The fund now has more than $614,000 and has supported 33 doctoral students doing research in child development from a behavior analytic perspective. The 2020 grant recipients were the following:

  • Crystal Fernandez of the University of North Texas for her work in bidirectional naming.
  • Rebekah Lee of Endicott College for a project using tact training and intraverbal bidirectional naming.

Doreen Granpesheh Fund
We are most grateful to Doreen Granpeesheh for her generous donation of $100,000 to establish a fund in her name. The Doreen Granpeesheh Fund will be dedicated to introducing our community to other disciplines to develop and collaborate on more comprehensive interventions for the understanding and treatment of autism. Initially, the fund will sponsor presenters from related fields at the ABAI annual convention; we look forward to developing other ways to encourage the use of collaborative experiments and interventions issuing from those interactions.

Other long-term funds have been created with the cumulative donations of many members, including through a capital campaign. We are grateful to be able to continue supporting behavior science and to expand the discipline’s reach through these funds.

Innovative Student Research Fund
This fund was created to support master’s and doctoral students’ basic and applied research. The fund has supported 68 students to date. The 2020 grant recipients follow:

  • Rebecca Caughron Chalmé of West Virginia University to support her master’s thesis research in evaluating the interoceptive discrimination-stimulus properties of cannabidiol oil.
  • Carolyn Ritchey of Auburn University, for her master’s thesis research into the role of response effort in resurgence.
  • Sydney Batchelder of the University of North Carolina Wilmington to support her doctoral dissertation research to assess the effectiveness of nicotine replacement therapy and contingency management for smoking cessation in Black populations.
  • Will Fleming of the University of Nevada, Reno for his doctoral dissertation research on understanding cultural change through turn-based matching-to-sample procedures.

We are especially thankful to the ABAI Science Board, who provided the first round of reviews of Bijou, thesis, and dissertation applications.

International Development Fund
This fund provides assistance to individuals and organizations pursuing the development of behavior analysis internationally. To date, SABA has funded 73 research projects in 40 countries around the world. This year’s grant recipients follow:

  • Guy Bruce of Appealing Solutions, LLC to support completion of his web application ProgressCharter, which helps schools apply behavior analysis concepts to manage their organizational performance.
  • Alexandra Herman of Eötvös Loránd University to support her work in disseminating the science of behavior analysis in Hungary and to support Hungarian BCBAs.
  • Ashley Knochel of The Chicago School of Professional Psychology to assist in the formation of the Pan-African Association for Behavior Analysis.
  • Flora Moura Lorenzo of Universidade de Brasília to support the development of the Nurturing Brightness Network, an online community for disseminating behavior analytic tools for classroom management based in the literature of nurturing.
  • Luiz Henrique Santana of Universidade de São Paulo to assist in the development of the International Online Museum on Behavioral Psychology and Neuroscience to inform the public of the history of experimental behavior analysis using a gaming approach.

Public Awareness Of Behavior Science Fund
Grants from this fund are awarded to projects that disseminate the science and practice of behavior analysis to the general public. Thus far the fund has awarded eight grants. The 2020 recipients were the following:

  • Frank Cicero of Seton Hall University to support his work to design a training program in behavior analysis for general education teachers.
  • Jill Harper of Melmark New England, who is developing a training program to equip first responders with the knowledge they need to effectively interact with people with autism during crisis situations.
  • Kristine Jolivette of the University of Alabama to support her project Embedding Applied Behavior Analysis Principles Into Residential and Juvenile Correctional Facilities.
  • Anna Young and Cheryl Young-Pelton of Montana State University, Billings for their work to educate legislators, educators, caregivers, and parent support groups in rural areas about ABA services.

Short-Term Funds
These funds are used for a targeted purpose without attempting to maintain the principal over time. By lifting the precondition to keep the principal in perpetuity, these funds can be used opportunistically in response to emerging developments.

Richard W. Malott Fund
During the summer we received a generous donation of just over $91,000 from Dr. Richard Malott to continue funding a faculty position at Western Michigan University to manage the Behavior Analysis Training System program for the next academic year, given anticipated budget cuts.

Senior Student Presenter Fund
This fund is used to support the convention registration of senior student presenters. The fund has supported 518 students thanks to the contributions of ABAI members. Grant recipients and their donors are matched, meaning each learns the names and affiliations of the others so they can recognize each other.

ABAI Student Member Registration Campaign Fund
This year, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, members of the behavioral community stepped up to help ABAI Student members by covering 75% of their convention registration fee; SABA matched these donations. Ninety-one donors contributed to the fund, which has thus far aided 163 students in attending the 2020 Annual Convention and 32 students in attending the Culturo-Behavior Science for a Better World Conference in October.

With your donation to SABA, your gift will continue “earning you miles” by way of strengthening and expanding the science and practice of behavior analysis. As you consider your options for charitable giving this year, please remember SABA. On behalf of the SABA Board, I would like to express my sincere appreciation to all the donors to SABA from September 1, 2019, to November 1, 2020.

If you have not yet made a donation, I encourage you to do so by December 31; donations made in the US are tax deductible. Also, I encourage you to consider SABA in your estate planning as a way to contribute to the long-term development of behavior science and its application.

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