Harrison Ford EAA Scholarship Launched
Endowment will match up to $100,000 for youth aviation education
September 29 was a huge day for the EAA Young Eagles program: Harrison Ford stepped down after serving five years as the program’s chairman and
then announced his successors, famed US Airways pilots
Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger and Jeff Skiles. At a special
dinner presentation later that evening, EAA members,
the aviation community, and 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, appeared on the dais for only a few minutes, but their pledge that night will touch the lives of
young people for years. 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. 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 Chairman of EAA Young Eagles for five years, Harrison Ford made a wonderful contribution to the general
aviation community,” said Jim Thompson, a 27-year pilot. “By funding this endowment, Angela and I are creating what we hope will be an enduring legacy of Harrison’s
contribution to youth and general aviation. We hope that
other supporters will join with us in making the Harrison
Ford EAA Scholarship a powerful force in aviation scholarship for our young people.”
Beginning next year, EAA will start applying the dividends from the donations and the Thompsons’ matching
contribution. These funds could be used toward the cost
of the FAA written pilot’s exam, flight training, attendance
at EAA’s Air Academy, and other pursuits including college
costs. The purpose is to help youth achieve their dreams
of flight at whatever level the need exists. To be eligible,
youths will need to complete 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.
Assuming a 5 percent annual dividend on a $200,000
endowment fund, the Harrison Ford EAA Scholarship will
provide $10,000 of scholarship funds each year. EAA also
manages similar funds in the names of Ford’s predecessors, Cliff Robertson and Chuck Yeager, and other donors.
Those interested in learning more or supporting the
Harrison Ford scholarships should e-mail elines@EAA.
org, call 800-236-1025, or visit the web at www.EAA.org/
To watch the live presenations of Harrison Ford and
Sully and Skiles visit www.EAA.org/video.
Jim and Angela Thompson with former EAA Young Eagles Chairman Harrison Ford.