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Executive Director's Annual Message
by H. Paul Shuch, Ph.D.

Dear SETI Supporters,

Although it always pleases me to address you about SETI science and technology, in recent years my annual messages have concentrated more on financial news. I am afraid this year is no exception, although I am glad to have good news to share with you this time around.

Good news, however, is a double-edged sword. I am pleased to be able to report that, for the first time in four years, The SETI League has concluded Calendar Year 2003 in the black. But I must honestly tell you that the only thing saving us from the prevailing deficit of the past several years is the uncommon generosity of a single individual. During 2003, with financial insolvency looming large, our most generous supporter dug deep, and increased his already substantial annual pledge of support by a whopping $50,000. Thus, we live to carry on our search for another year.

It's been a good year, as far as our educational, scientific, and technological efforts are concerned, as you will read in the pages of our upcoming Annual Report. I am very proud of what you, our members and supporters, have accomplished on but a single strand of a shoestring. But as your reputed Chief Scientist, I continue to be frustrated by what has become the reality of the new century: an ever-increasing portion of my time and attention is being diverted away from SETI science, and toward financial crisis management.

Yes, we have managed to contain costs significantly, through expanded use of electronic media, and decreasing reliance upon printing and post to distribute SETI materials around the world. And yes, we continue to be the world's preeminent grassroots scientific endeavor. But the roots seem to be withering. During 2003, fully 86 percent of The SETI League's revenues came from the pockets of just three incredibly generous donors.

Not that I am ungrateful to these giants of SETI privatization. But if we, as a global organization, are to fulfill our mission, we are going to need the modest contributions of several thousand more supporters. Our membership is lagging alarmingly. Show me that our interest is not. Together, we will yet achieve Contact.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in editorials are those of the individual authors, and do not necessarily reflect the position of The SETI League, Inc., its Trustees, officers, Advisory Board, members, donors, or commercial sponsors.

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