MATCHING-FUNDS EFFORT FOR HARRISON FORD EAA
SCHOLARSHIP GETS UNDER WAY Endowment will match
up to $100,000 for youth aviation education EAA
AVIATION CENTER, OSHKOSH, Wis. -- (Oct. 8, 2009)
-- By all accounts, Sept. 29 was a huge day for
the EAA Young Eagles Program: Actor, pilot, and
EAA member Harrison Ford stepped down after
serving five years as the program's chairman,
and announced at Santa Monica, Calif., that
famed US Airways pilots Sully Sullenberger and
Jeff Skiles would step into the role. At a
special dinner presentation that night, EAA
members, the aviation community, and even
California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger paid
tribute to Harrison Ford for his service and
welcomed the new program co-chairs. But one
brief segment of the evening's activities --
perhaps easily missed amid the big announcements
and high-profile appearances -- may leave the
most enduring legacy. Jim and Angela Thompson,
longtime EAA members and supporters, spoke from
the dais for a matter of only minutes, but their
pledge that night will touch the lives of young
people for years.
They announced their establishment of an
endowment to EAA to help fund scholarships in
Harrison Ford's name for young people on the
path to becoming a pilot. They explained that
the endowment amount would match contributions
from other donors up to $100,000, creating a
scholarship fund of as much as $200,000. "As EAA
Young Eagles chairman for five years, Harrison
Ford invested a big commitment of his time. He
made a wonderful contribution to the general
aviation community," said Jim Thompson, a pilot
for 27 years. "Angela and I would like to say
'thank you' to Harrison for what he has done.
This endowment is a way to put a marker down to
remember it by."
Beginning next year, EAA will begin applying the
dividends from the donations and the Thompsons'
matching contribution. These funds could be
utilized toward the cost of the FAA written
pilot's exam, flight training, attendance at
EAA's Air Academy, and other pursuits including
college attendance - the purpose is to help
youth achieve their dreams of flight at whatever
level the need exists. Qualifying youth will
have completed an EAA Young Eagles flight
experience and the follow-up companion program
provided by Sporty's Pilot Shop, the free online
Sporty's Complete Pilot Training Course.
"Some of the youth inspired by their EAA Young
Eagles experience will want to take their
interest in aviation all the way.
The Harrison Ford scholarships will help them
continue to participate beyond the Sporty's
training, with underwriting of training toward a
sport pilot or private pilot's license," said
Elissa Lines, EAA vice president of development.
"EAA's approach is to create a recipe for
success by providing not only financial aid in
the form of scholarships but also encouragement,
mentoring, and guidance through the
participation of active EAA members at more than
1,000 EAA local chapters worldwide," Lines
added. Several parties have expressed an
interest in donating toward the endowment fund,
according to Lines. Her hope is that the
Thompsons' gift will inspire numerous donors.
"EAA Young Eagles is such a grassroots program,
it would make sense for us to raise the $100,000
that the Thompsons will match by securing $1,000
donations from a hundred givers -- or some
smaller donations from more aviation enthusiasts
who believe in the value of the Young Eagles
experience for our young people," Lines said.
Assuming a five percent annual dividend on a
$200,000 endowment fund, the Harrison Ford EAA
Scholarship will provide $10,000 each year for
the aforementioned purposes. EAA also manages
similar scholarship funds in the names of Ford's
predecessor Young Eagles Program chairs -- actor
and pilot Cliff Robertson and aviation legend
Chuck Yeager -- and other donors.
Those interested in learning more or supporting
the Harrison Ford scholarships can contact
or call 1-800-236-1025.
To learn more about EAA scholarships and how to
All recipients of EAA scholarships must be EAA members
or receive a recommendation from an EAA member.