AOPA Foundation Hosts Donor Events At EAA AirVenture Oshkosh

by Dave Weiman
Published in Midwest Flyer Magazine October/November 2022 Digital Issue

In appreciation of those AOPA members who support the AOPA Foundation, AOPA hosted an evening reception and breakfast during EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2022. Most impressive at the breakfast on July 28 were the young people the foundation has helped to pursue careers in aviation, and not just airline careers. There were two young ladies who are working on their ratings to become “bush” pilots. When I listened to their presentation, it reminded me of a friend from New Zealand, who works for an outfitter in Canada, flying an assortment of aircraft, from a Beaver on fixed floats, to Caravans and Ag Cats on wheels, and she is making a good living and having the time of her life!

The AOPA Foundation is the philanthropic arm of AOPA. Your contributions fund programs that membership dues don’t cover, including the AOPA Air Safety Institute and You Can Fly program. Their goal is to fund opportunities of growth for every AOPA member and the entire general aviation community.

The mission of the foundation’s “You Can Fly Program” is to get people flying and keep them flying. There is no one solution to increasing the active pilot population. Rather, there are four initiatives to accomplish this mission:

• A four-year high school STEM based curriculum is available to high schools free of charge! It is designed to introduce students to careers in aviation and aerospace. There are 9th and 10th grade curriculums. Schools can implement the full program or select individual courses. AOPA awards $100,000 in high school scholarships and has doubled the 9th grade student enrollment in the program. AOPA also has a computer program app that will build and track an individual’s progress during flight training. Instructors can now review a student’s individual performance and know what tasks need work. If an instructor change is needed, the new instructor can pick up where the last instructor left off without doing time-consuming, redundant, and expensive reviews.

• The Flight Training initiative helps flight schools and instructors improve the training experience so more people will complete their training. In the past, a large percentage of students dropped out of training before obtaining their pilot certificate. AOPA has recognized flight schools and flight instructors for providing excellent services. Flight schools have shared information on what works and what doesn’t work.

• The Flying Club initiative is designed to reduce the cost of flying. AOPA provides information on how to start a flying club, suggests documents to form a club, guidance in buying airplanes, and membership-to-plane ratio suggestions. Dozens of new flying clubs have been started with the help of AOPA.

• The Rusty Pilots initiative helps lapsed pilots become active again. Rusty Pilot seminars have been hosted around the country. Thirty-eight percent of the lapsed pilots who attended Rusty Pilot seminars completed a biennial flight review and returned to active flying status.

The You Can Fly Academy has opened a 19,000 square foot facility next to AOPA headquarters in Frederick, Maryland, which contains a 73-seat auditorium, three large classrooms, and a full-motion flight simulator. The facility is used to hold pilot safety seminars, teacher training workshops, flight instructor refresher training, and there’s space for practical training in merchandising and customer service, and other large events.
So why should you be a donor to the AOPA Foundation? Well, if you have enjoyed general aviation, maybe it is time to give back by providing financial help to make sure every effort is made to keep general aviation viable. Selfishly, increasing the number of active pilots should spread the fixed costs of airports, FBOs, aircraft manufacturers, and aviation vendors over more pilots, thereby reducing, or at least stopping, the rising costs to each pilot and aircraft owner.

For more than 60 years, the AOPA Air Safety Institute (ASI) has been producing free programs to help pilots fly safer. From groundbreaking online courses and videos to popular live seminars, ASI is the leader in aviation safety education.

The scholarship program helps student pilots to succeed, eases the financial burden of flight training, and ultimately adds to the pilot population.

There are many ways to support the AOPA Foundation, and every contribution counts. Whether it’s a one-time or annual gift, there is a level to suit every philanthropic preference.

Annual Giving

AOPA members who donate to the AOPA Foundation’s annual giving campaign are the cornerstone of its efforts to provide funding for life-changing, life-saving programs.
While any donation is appreciated, to join the “Hat in the Ring Society,” you need to donate $1,000 or more a year.

Monthly Sustainers

Donors at this level help to build and strengthen the general aviation community through monthly contributions.

Donor-Advised Funds

Giving through a donor-advised fund allows you to support general aviation in an easy, tax-efficient manner. It’s an opportunity to put your charitable dollars to work – where the need is great – but on your own terms.

Wire and Stock Gifts

The AOPA Foundation is able to accept wired gifts including gifts of stock. Donating appreciated stock may help you avoid capital gains tax. See your tax advisor for more details.

IRA Rollover Gifts

If you are 70 ½ or older, you can use your qualified Individual Retirement Account (IRA) to donate up to $100,000 each year directly to a charity such as the AOPA Foundation. The amount transferred is not taxed as income and may satisfy all or part of your required minimum distribution.


Creating an endowment to provide an ongoing source of funding for the AOPA Foundation’s work is an exceptional way to honor a loved one, demonstrate your passion for aviation, and ensure that efforts to improve air safety, protect community airports, and grow the pilot population continue long into the future.

Honorary/Memorial Donation

A gift to the AOPA Foundation is a unique way to honor a pilot, aviation enthusiast, or loved one. Each gift makes a lasting impact on the future of general aviation.

Aircraft Donation

By donating your aircraft to the AOPA Foundation, your contribution will have a lasting impact on the future of general aviation.

For more information on leaving your legacy through a gift to the AOPA Foundation, complete the Contact Us form at, or contact AOPA’s Legacy Giving office at 301.695.2320.

AOPA President & CEO Mark Baker says it best:
“Together we are making a difference. We are providing options to make flying more affordable and resources to make flying safer. And we are focusing on strengthening the community of pilots today and for future generations.”

Mark R. Baker
Legacy Society Member

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