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New EAA Scholarship Fund Allows Young People to Take to the Sky

Nearly completed “Harrison Ford Challenge” will create $200,000 in scholarship money

Scholarship Donors
Jim and Angela Thompson with former EAA Young Eagles Chairman Harrison Ford, picture in September 2009 when the Thompsons announced an endowment to EAA to help fund scholarships in Harrison Ford’s name for young people on the path to becoming a pilot.

May 6, 2010 —Fund raising efforts to meet the $100,000 challenge set by EAA members Jim and Angela Thompson have nearly reached the goal! The Harrison Ford Challenge was launched last fall by the Thompsons during the reception honoring outgoing EAA Young Eagles program chairman Harrison Ford.  During that reception in the Los Angeles area, Ford and EAA chairman/president Tom Poberezny introduced the incoming Young Eagles co-chairmen – Sully Sullenberger and Jeff Skiles, pilots of the famed US Airways 1549 “Miracle on the Hudson” landing in January 2009.

"This was a marvelous challenge offered by the Thompsons and gave the entire aviation community an opportunity to unite to help expand possibilities for young people,” said Elissa Lines, EAA vice president of business and donor relations. “We are proud to say that more than 20 individuals and businesses have already stepped forward to make sure these scholarship funds are available. We’re almost there! We urge others to join us to make sure the future of flight is made possible by young people supported through this fund.”

Commitments to the Harrison Ford Challenge came from such entities as Garmin, which supplied a key pledge to help complete the challenge, and Macy’s, which made a donation to honor a retiring executive who had a longtime interest in aviation and affiliation with EAA.

“Scholarship funding is critical to help young people turn their dreams of flight into reality,” Lines said. “It is exciting to see leaders in industry see EAA programming as a conduit to not only advancing interest in aviation, but to promote achievement and proficiency in math and science.”

To date, EAA members, friends and supporters have answered the challenge posted by the Thompsons, raising $91,000. We’re almost there! Consider adding your support to this effort with a gift any amount to the Harrison Ford Scholarship Fund.  For more information or to make a donation or pledge, contact the EAA Development Office at development@eaa.org or 800-236-1025. 

EAA will post scholarship application guidelines on its website on May 15 (International Learn To Fly Day) and begin accepting applications from young people seeking support to pursue their aviation dreams.  Selection criteria will be detailed as part of those guidelines, as will the number of awards to be made. The purpose of the Harrison Ford Scholarship Fund is to help youth achieve their dreams of flight at whatever level a need exists, with scholarship awards supporting EAA Air Academy attendance, FAA written exam fees, flight training, and academic tuition support. Qualifying youth will have completed an EAA Young Eagles flight experience. Young people who have completed the follow-up companion program provided by Sporty’s Pilot Shop through the free online Sporty’s Complete Pilot Training Course are also encouraged to apply.

“Some of the youth inspired by their EAA Young Eagles experience will want to take their interest in aviation all the way into the cockpit. 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,” Lines said.

“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.”

For more information about this and other EAA scholarship programs, visit  http://www.eaa.org/support/scholarships.asp.

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