Delegates at IFAJ Congress in the Netherlands voted unanimously in favour of a proposal to establish the IFAJ Foundation, a charitable organisation that will support the development of agricultural journalism worldwide.
Three years in development, the plans put forward by the Presidium and the Executive Committee will eventually see an application made to the Charity Commission to register the IFAJ Foundation in the United Kingdom.
Side-by-side with the Foundation will be the incorporation of IFAJ into a formal, legal entity, which will also be registered in the UK.
The UK was selected as the best country for both, thanks to its robust charity regulations and ability to register overseas residents as trustees and company directors.
IFAJ treasurer Adrian Bell and Secretary General Steve Werblow were closely involved in drafting and developing the proposals.
“A considerable amount of work has been needed to reach this point, and there’s more still required, but the establishment of the Foundation marks the next stage in the development of IFAJ as a force for good in global agricultural journalism,” says Adrian.
“Both the Foundation and the incorporation of IFAJ into a formal, legal entity will allow us to put an ambitious new partnership and funding plan into action.
“It will provide the basis for a sustainable, long-term approach to IFAJ’s activities, allowing us to do more of what we do best, more effectively.
“By putting these new structures in place, IFAJ can become more professional in its approach to funding, how it manages its activities, how it’s perceived by our partners and sponsors and what it can offer to its members, both existing and new.”
The Foundation will continue IFAJ’s primary objective – improving the flow and quality of agricultural information to the world’s farmers – and will benefit from charitable status.
This will bring access to new funding sources and new partnerships, building on past successes such as the Alltech Young Leaders and Corteva Master Class programmes, and developing ambitious new initiatives.
It will be run by 11 trustees, elected by and reporting to the IFAJ Delegate Assembly, three of whom will be drawn from outside IFAJ membership.
IFAJ Ltd, meanwhile, will continue to handle organisational matters such as press cards, membership services and administration.
Securing a legal entity for the organisation will allow it to access proper banking and credit facilities, event and liability insurance, and raise its credibility and status in the minds of potential sponsors and partners.
The Presidium will now complete the drafting of bylaws and appoint an adviser to handle legal matters, before the final steps are taken at IFAJ’s Executive Committee meeting in Ireland, in November.