The Christian Airmen Educational Foundation -
Its History and Its Vision
It was back in 1977 when a small group of men and women gathered together to purchase the Akron airport, which had been operating privately since 1940. Moving forward on much faith and little money, their dream was to transform the airport into something that would not only glorify God, but would also be a place where people could experience the joy of flight at an affordable cost.
The founders’ original goal was to organize the Akron Airport as a not-for-profit corporation, thereby being able to accept tax-deductible donations and to make it even more affordable for those who wanted to fly. New York State and the federal government ruled otherwise and required that the airport be operated as a for-profit company and to pay sales and income taxes accordingly.
More than thirty-five years have transpired since those founding days. During the ensuing years, the Akron Airport grew steadily into one of the finest general aviation facilities in Western New York. With state and federal grant support plus a whole lot of very hard work from its members and friends, the Akron airport eventually fulfilled many of its original goals.
In 2006 several members of the Christian Airmen, Inc. Board of Directors put together a plan to create a separate not-for-profit, tax-exempt foundation to achieve that one goal that was not possible through the Akron Airport’s for-profit status. This foundation, called the Christian Airmen Educational Foundation, Inc. (CAEF) is now in place. CAEF is one of only a handful of foundations in the world established exclusively to serve aviation.
The Foundation wants to encourage young people to enter the field of aviation. We have supported high school based aviation programs and made scholarships available to young people pursuing post-secondary education in pilot training, aviation technician programs, air traffic control, or airport management.
The Foundation has supported humanitarian aviation needs by providing direct financial support to such groups as JAARS, Mission Aviation Fellowship, Missionary Air Group, Civil Air Patrol and our own Mercy Flight of Western New York.
The Foundation supports local efforts to improve flight safety and programs to make aviation more affordable for all who want to fly.
Providing scholarships, encouraging new pilots, supporting missionary aviation, and enhancing flight safety are the major reasons for CAEF’s existence.