AOPA Foundation Raises 3.6 Million for its You Can Fly Program

The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) Foundation announced it raised more than 3.6 million dollars for its You Can Fly Program to get people flying and keep them flying.

The generosity of more than 3,800 donors produced contributions exceeding $1.8 million, topping the $1.4 million goal set by the Ray Foundation, which was established by the late pilot and philanthropist James C. Ray. The Ray Foundation announced it would increase its match to the full $1.8 million bringing the total to $3.6 million.

“AOPA Foundation donors are the fuel that powers AOPA programs supporting and growing the pilot community—and they were inspired to rise to a challenge,” said AOPA President and CEO Mark Baker. “The future of general aviation just got brighter.”

The bottom line is that thanks to the generosity of all Challenge contributors, general aviation just got stronger, because You Can Fly will be able to direct more resources to its four initiatives: High School Curriculum, Flight Training, Flying Clubs, and Rusty Pilots.

“We’re excited that so many pilots and aviation enthusiasts believe You Can Fly is worthy of their support and we’ll use this funding to continue the success of the program,” said Katie Pribyl, Senior Vice President of Aviation Strategy and Programs.

James C. Ray (1923-2017) was a noted aviation philanthropist and entrepreneur with an eye for emerging technologies, a World War II veteran, and dedicated AOPA Foundation donor.

Preferring anonymity for his charitable work, he was a tireless champion of aviation whose startup support was crucial when AOPA launched the You Can Fly program in 2014.

Ray always felt that aviation exerted positive influences on him in his later life, both personally and in business.

The Ray Foundation continues to make an indelible mark on the education of young people—especially aspiring aviators—and following the successful completion of the You Can Fly Challenge, even more of the people who will assure aviation’s future stand to benefit from his wisdom and vision.