Foundation vs Corporate America

The 2010 scholarship recipient has just been selected, making this recipient the 12th person to receive a scholarship.  There were many great applicants and as in previous years, it was hard to pick just one.  We had hoped to be able to award more than one scholarship this year and although our individual donors continue to support The Foundation, the cost of flight training and fuel just keeps rising.   We have approached corporations who grant funds to non profit organizations but we so far our grant requests have been declined.

Most frustrating to me is the aerospace industry.    For example, Boeing and Lockheed Martin are both located in New Jersey, and corporations usually want to support organizations where they are located. Many corporations also allocate funds to programs which fund national programs which focus on education.  Yet neither of these billion dollar companies are interested in supporting The Foundation.  Both of these companies design and build aircraft; LeRoy flew aircraft built by both companies.  Northrop Grumman is another American aerospace and defense technology company with a net worth of over 33 billion dollars.   We have approached Northrop Grumman for funding.  Instead they have chosen to name an aircraft carrier, “the USS Somerset” naming an aircraft carrier to memorialize the flight crew and passengers of Flight #93.  In the words of Secretary of the Navy, Gordon England, “The courage and heroism of the people aboard the flight will never be forgotten.  Which is great of course, but I have become cynical in that many of the gestures over the years seem to be good PR for these companies.

All told, if these three companies alone, with total revenue of over 138 billion dollars had each donated $5000.00 to our organization, an organization recognized by the IRS as a non profit organization, they would have received tax benefits, and we would have been able to award another scholarship.

So although I get frustrated, I try to focus on the positive.  We have done more in 8 years with less money than many other organizations.  (Where did that $4 million dollars from the Todd Beamer Foundation end up anyway?)  I believe in what we do, and will continue to do it as long as I can.

Melodie Homer


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