On a beautiful evening April 7, with the cherry blossoms in bloom, 30 new members were inducted into the AOPA Foundation’s Legacy Society in a hybrid live/virtual ceremony from the Legacy Court at AOPA’s headquarters in Frederick, Maryland.
Giving back to the passion for flying was on full display, celebrating those who have made a commitment to keep aviation in their giving and estate plans. New inductees joined the more than 300 Legacy Society members during the event. “When we think about how lucky we have been to enjoy this freedom to fly, it’s very important for us to pay it forward and establish a way to keep this passion moving forward,” AOPA President Mark Baker said.
AOPA’s You Can Fly initiatives provide high school aviation curriculum to thousands of students nationwide. Hundreds of flight schools and flight instructors have received valuable support, more than 170 flying clubs have been launched, and more than 9,500 formerly rusty pilots have returned to flying since the program’s inception in 2014.
In just the past year, Air Safety Institute safety courses, videos, and reports were accessed 12 million times by pilots seeking to improve their skills and safety. Both the You Can Fly and Air Safety Institute programs are funded by donations to the AOPA Foundation.
“It’s important to have a smart estate plan and financial strategy regardless of what stage of life you are in,” AOPA Foundation Executive Director Melissa Rudinger explained. “Joining the Legacy Society not only advances general aviation, but allows you to protect yourself, your family, and your legacy. We are honored to welcome those who have taken this step into the AOPA Foundation Legacy Society to recognize their commitment.”
Recently appointed Legacy Society Chair, longtime aviator, and AOPA columnist Barry Schiff appeared virtually during the event and explained why the society and giving to the AOPA Foundation are important to him.
“Freedom is a priority for us in many ways, and we need to do everything we can to make sure this freedom is available to pilots of the future,” said Schiff.
Legacy Society members can make a commitment to future giving in a number of ways: Provide a specific dollar amount or an asset, such as an aircraft, in their will or trust; give a percentage amount from their estate; or name the AOPA Foundation as a beneficiary of their life insurance, IRA, 401(k), or other account, to name a few. Most legacy gifts are nonbinding and adjustable as circumstances in life change.