AOPA Foundation names ‘Giving Back’ grant recipients

The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) Foundation has unveiled its inaugural “Giving Back” grant recipients. The “Giving Back” program is designed to recognize good work being done through general aviation by non-profit organizations. The 10 recipients will each receive a $10,000 grant.

The 10 grant recipients were chosen from more than 80 applicants and cover a variety of aviation organizations that rely on general aviation to provide services.

The 10 recipients are:

  • Air Care Alliance, Lindrith, N.M.;
  • Challenge Air for Kids & Friends, Inc., Dallas,;
  • Duluth Aviation Institute, Duluth, Minn.;
  • Girls Inc. of Oak Ridge, Oak Ridge, Tenn.;
  • Kentucky Institute for Aerospace Education, Frankfort, Ky.;
  • LightHawk, Lander, Wyo.;
  • Pilots N Paws, Landrum, S.C.;
  • Recreational Aviation Foundation, Bozeman, Mont.;
  • Veterans Airlift Command, Minneapolis, Minn.; and
  • Young Aviators, Racine, Wis.

“This program was developed to spotlight the good work being done in the GA community,” said Stephanie Kenyon, the AOPA Foundation’s vice president of strategic philanthropy. “It’s also our way of supporting those groups that are making a difference through charitable programs that rely on general aviation.”

Some of the grants will directly support the operating needs of the organizations. Girls Inc. of Oak Ridge, for instance, was given a grant to develop an aviation program for girls. The Veterans Airlift Command is going to use the funds to support a program director position.

The Young Aviators of Racine received a grant to offset the cost of three training aircraft for a youth Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) program. The Kentucky Institute of Aerospace Education will also use grant funds to support a STEM program for students in 22 high schools. The Duluth Aviation Institute is also going to use “Giving Back” funds to “expand AeroSTEM curriculum into Duluth schools.”

Some of the funds are related to expanding or advancing a group’s operating knowledge. Pilots and Paws is going to fund two annual “fly-away outreach events.” The Recreational Aviation Foundation, which promotes back-country flying, was given a grant to conduct “scientific research into the stress-related effects of aircraft noise on wildlife.”

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