What does TSS's nonprofit status mean for Texas caving?

The TSS Mission and Organization

The primary mission of the TSS is the compilation and management of Texas cave and karst data in support of research, exploration, education, and conservation. It is a 501(c)(3) non-profit entity which can accept donations. The TSS is governed by a flexibly sized, all-volunteer board of directors and officers who are actively involved in cave data management and/or publication.

The majority of the TSS’s efforts over the years have been in archival preservation (including digital archives) and in publishing. Except for The Texas Caver, the flagship journal of the Texas Speleological Association, TSS publications have been the principal source of information on the caves of Texas. From 1961-2013, the TSS has published 45 county reports, bulletins, monographs, and other special publications on the cave resources of Texas (see the Publications Link). These have been widely used by cavers and researchers for many years, and the TSS is careful to keep important documents in print. Much of the information on Texas caves, caving, and karst resources that is now considered common knowledge was first provided and made widely accessible through the dissemination of TSS reports.

The TSS produced relatively few publications between 1979 and 1993 -- the years when Central Texas' urban areas were being rapidly developed. Much information about Texas caves was revealed during this period of rapid urban growth, and the collection of data on caves and karst resources became the TSS’s primary concern. Much of that information was threatened to become essentially unavailable, however, disappearing into the files of government agencies and private developers. The TSS spent this era collecting data and developing information systems to aide in making such material generally accessible, and to preserve it in its library and database. Since then, the TSS has accelerated its publication program, following the model of its earlier decades.

Support the TSS Mission

The TSS does not have a membership to support its activities. Publication sales and fees paid by entities for data reports from our holdings are the principal source of the organization’s revenue. Printing a publication requires initial expenditures that are recouped over months and sometimes years of sales (which is why we have established a Publication Endowment). Requests for data reports vary in direct proportion to the activity level of development and conservation efforts in the state. For these reasons, donations are welcomed in order to help sustain the TSS's mission.

Any donations to the General Fund of the organization will be used to defray the considerable office expenses involved in acquiring new data, and in maintaining and organizing existing and incoming information. All donations are tax deductible and are an important means of preserving the future of the Texas cave database and the TSS holdings.

The easiest way to donate is to write a check to "TSS" and send it to:

Pickle Research Campus 176 / R4000
The University of Texas at Austin
Austin, TX 78712-1100


Please be sure to indicate whether your donation is intended for either the General Fund (for office and archival expenses) or for the Publications Endowment Fund. Contact the TSS Office manager if you need additional information or have questions regarding TSS donations.