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Please help Organizer pay for urgent living costs
2,700 raised
135% of €2k goal
40 contributors
3 Years running

Hello, I'm Amara Graps, the Chair of the Local Organizing Committee of the 2017 European Planetary Science Congress, which will be in Riga, Latvia in September and I need help to get through a pickle.

I invited the large planetary conference to this region because I believe that such exposure to the world's best planetary and space mission results will jumpstart the Space activities in the Baltic region and help the workers enter the Space Industry. Moreover, it will help the countries transition fully where there is still friction from post-Soviet confusions. We have the great space facilities, we have enthusiastic kids, we have smart young people who simply need more inspiration to go into STEM subjects. We have more political support for space work than before and we have deep cultural links to the movement of the Sun and Moon in our ancient oral literature.

What else does one need for our Baltic Planetary Event? Funds. The conference came with no funds for the Local Organizers.

Space workers in Central and Eastern Europe are largely soft-money scientists, paid by project only. After a year of following through various government funding mechanisms and presenting this meeting to multiple government entities, I successfully found funding for the Latvian exhibits and Baltic Space Facilities booklet.

It is not just a science Conference, though. There are public speakers (who also need travel funds), there are Solar System exhibits for kids, there are exhibits to link to the culture's cosmos view, there is the Midweek Social event with Singing and Dancing to give a view on the Singing Revolution, there is the Communication with the four countries (Baltic) journalists. I and my 25 member Local Organizing Committee (FI, EE, LV, LT) have mostly addressed the Conference links to the Baltic community and these parts are moving successfully in their own way too. However, those successes left me not enough time to find sponsors to fund my so far unfunded organizational effort and finish the last Conference parts.

That's my pickle. Just when I suceessfully gained my first small 2K contract specifically to start to fund my organization activities, I learned that the new 2K contract funds won't be available until the Conference is completed in the Fall. The rest of my organization time will need to be funded by sponsors. Sponsorship funding required my time and funds for creating a legal nonprofit entity and then training (by trial and error) for marketing and salesmanship skills. With my previous Conference sponsorship requests resulting in 'no' and my new sponsorship requests still in process, I'm faced with not enough funds to meet my near term basic utilities and food costs. It's scary as hell, as I'm the sole provider for my daughter, this child seen in this photo.

So would you be able to help? I want to build a good space Future for the Latvians and Baltic people. We are very far along in the planning of this awesome planetary space event. See the full scope of what we and I have done here, in this Overview document:  

To finish the task, I'm confident sponsors will eventually emerge, but the success of that part could be still a month away. I was still learning in too many areas in this large conference process to quickly build the financial support for me.


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