How the Nordic Mensa Fund came to be

As nominations for the first call are coming in to our advisory board, and while we wait for the first grants to be awarded, we want to look back on the process that led us here. This is the tale about how the Nordic Mensa Fund came to be.

The idea of a Nordic Mensa Fund was born at a meeting of the four Nordic Mensa Chairs in 2016. There is a long tradition of Nordic collaboration in Mensa, and in discussion of potential common projects, the idea of a fund supporting intelligence research came up. Individually, the Mensa associations of Norway, Denmark, Sweden and Finland would probably be too small to shoulder such a project. However, together we represent about 15,000 Mensa members and by pooling our resources, we have an opportunity to create something that would actually make a difference.

Within the next few years, and with support from the boards of the four national Mensas, a detailed plan for creating the Fund was elaborated, including legal aspects, statutes, how to ensure the independence required of a Fund, and so on. In 2019, the general assemblies of the four Nordic Mensas agreed to provide capital for the fund, initially for the first three years.

In January 2020, the Fund's Board was appointed, with one trustee appointed by each of the Nordic Mensas and a fifth trustee appointed by the four others. The Fund was formally registered in April, and in November it was approved by "Svensk Insamlingskontroll" (an organisation monitoring Swedish fundraising organisations). On 20 November, the first "Call for Nominations" was published for Articles of the Year, and we expect to award this first round of grants in February 2021. Other plans for the upcoming year include a fundraising campaign and one or more new calls for applications / nominations for research within the fields covered by the Fund.

Starting a new international organisation in this particular year proved to have some challenges. The board of trustees had planned a formal startup meeting in Stockholm in April, but had to cancel due to the Covid-19 situation. Not being able to meet in person also made normally simple tasks like signing formal documents quite challenging. The board have made ample use of the postal services and we all feel that we put in a lot of time for printing, signing and sending official documents between all the board members. But as collaboration by document sharing, email, text chats and video conferences has been established as the new normal, the trustees have found good ways to work together, despite the geographic distance.

We are now happy to see that all the hard work this year is paying off and that nominations for the first call are coming in. The board of trustees is getting ready for the next steps in establishing the Fund’s work in 2021, and also hope to be able to have our first in-person meeting in the coming year. And we can’t wait to publish our first awards in February 2021!

The trustees of the the Nordic Mensa Fund wish you all happy holidays and a less restricted 2021!