Milestones: an Endowment history

Building on a foundation of success

The United States Air Force Academy Endowment was formally established in 2007, but it was built upon a legacy of more than 50 years of successful, private philanthropy. Three months after the Air Force Academy was established on April 1, 1954, The Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs Foundation, Inc. was created to “assist and contribute to the establishment, maintenance, growth and development of the United States Air Force Academy...”

The Air Force Academy Foundation set the standard for principled fundraising practices and faithful stewardship of funds contributed to the Academy.

Many of the iconic features that define the Academy today were created through a combination of private and public funds, including the Eisenhower Golf Course, the Farish Memorial Recreation Area, Falcon Stadium, the Barry Goldwater Air Force Academy Visitor Center, and the Academy Cemetery’s Memorial Pavilion. As the Academy grew, so did its private support base.

Private businesses and organizations like the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics quickly recognized the significance of the Academy’s stellar academic programs and military mission and provided support for Academy projects and programs. Corporations like Martin-Marietta, IBM, ITT, American Airlines, Pratt & Whitney, and The Boeing Company added to a growing list of private contributors to the Academy.

In 2007, the USAFA Endowment was tasked with carrying the vision of private philanthropy into the future. Its mission? To provide efficient and perpetual stewardship of donated gifts to the United States Air Force Academy so as to ensure their permanency and efficacy in accordance with the donors’ intent.

In its first decade, the Endowment has raised more than $120 million in private funds to support projects prioritized by the Academy superintendent. Private funding needs on the horizon could easily top $300 million — and the Endowment is gearing up to meet the challenge.

“The Long Blue Line of 48,713 Academy graduates has grown considerably over the years,” said Jennifer Bateman, vice president of development. “From the beginning, private philanthropy has added support for the transformative cadet experience, increasing the margin of excellence of the Academy’s military, academic, athletic and character-building training. The Endowment has been privileged to work side-by-side with Academy graduates, friends and family over the last 10 years, and we look forward to being a conduit of support for the Academy for many years to come.”

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