HISTORY OF THE AWCF
Since 1970, during the Viet Nam War, the Red River Valley Fighter Pilots Association (RRVA) has provided scholarship assistance to the surviving dependents of U.S. military personnel killed-in-action, missing-in-action, prisoner-of-war or killed while performing aircrew duties in a non-combat aircraft accident; and, more recently, families of association members. Nevertheless, it became clear that other philanthropic, civic and patriotic programs were necessary.
Therefore, in 1998, the Air Warrior Courage Foundation (AWCF) was formed by members of the RRVA. This action was taken in recognition of problems being increasingly faced by active, retired and/former members of the U.S. military, their families and our nation at large.
On December 1st, 1998, the California Secretary of State and the Franchise Tax Board recognized the Air Warrior Courage Foundation (AWCF) as a non-profit foundation. Shortly thereafter, on April 9th, 1999, the Internal Revenue Service granted the AWCF its 501(3) non-profit status. The Board adopted the name of “Air Warrior Courage Foundation” to preserve the “who” of its intended constituency – military aviators and their families – and the “what” of those it expects to serve – those “air warriors” with the courage to fight the financial ravages of illness or injury, those whose air combat actions deserve recognition of their “courage,” and the youth of our country striving to become military aviators. We trust you feel the same.
The primary purposes and objectives of the Air Warrior Courage Foundation are:
To assist disabled and/or needy war veterans and members of the U.S. Armed Services and their dependents, and widows and orphans of deceased veterans;
To provide financial and/or other services and support to RRVA members facing medical-incident related expenses beyond their ability to reasonably meet;
To carry on programs to perpetuate the memory of deceased veterans and members of the U.S. Armed Services, to comfort their survivors and/or sponsor and/or participate in activities of a patriotic nature;
To provide scholarship assistance, funding and/or programs for educational purposes, particularly those leading to careers in military service and/or aviation;
To promote the social welfare of the community by providing support for such other philanthropic activities as may later be determined necessary by the Board of Directors;
To provide assistance in the education of persons in the fields related to aviation and space;
To provide recognition for excellence in aviation and space disciplines and exploration; and
To encourage programs supportive of developing in American youth those attributes that are basic characteristics of RRVA principles.
These guiding principles were purposely written to provide the Foundation with broad discretionary authority to address whatever worthwhile problems and activities are brought to its attention. The Board developed an operating structure based on the “K.I.S.S.” (Keep It Simple, Stupid) principle, one with only two committees – the Executive Committee (composed of five directors and General Counsel) and the Operations Committee (composed of 4 directors and the Treasurer).
The Operations Committee has five members (directors/officers) with broad authority to deal with projects covered by the AWCF’s Principles and Objectives and specific financial guidelines based on the project or activity they are asked to address. Acting within its budget, authority and guidelines, the committee has complete autonomy to do what is necessary to get the job done for any project approved by the Board and/or by the Committee, if less than $10,000 en toto. The committee is therefore prepared to take prompt action without having to consult with other Foundation directors – again, K.I.S.S. Importantly, whenever an issue of “financial need” is present, the action of the Committee is kept strictly confidential. Why? To assure those in need can confidently deal with the AWCF in the knowledge that their names and/or “need” will not be publicized without their permission. If a project requires a greater financial commitment or time-line to be completed than the Committee is authorized to deal with, that project is brought immediately to the attention of the Executive Committee for guidance and necessary financial support.
For oversight purposes, the Operations Committee reports to the Executive Committee on a quarterly basis. The report covers the specifics of what it has done, as well as to the rest of the Board to ensure everyone is fully informed. The Executive Committee meets (electronically) as necessary and is empowered to conduct all business matters except those few issues that legally require action by the entire Board of Directors. An annual operations report is provided to the full Board in time for its annual face-to-face meeting each fall.
When asked “What can one do to help the Foundation,” Al Bache, AWCF Executive Director, stated “Frankly, while we have the organization and procedures in place, the success of the Air Warriors Courage Foundation depends on River Rat members, their families, similarly minded military veterans and the general public! They are the key to success of the Foundation.” He emphasized that “Their support is necessary to identify those people or projects in need of attention and assistance – It may be a member, a close friend who is in need or some other educational or charitable project or memorial recognizing outstanding military service in defense of our country. As long as the issue is covered by our mandate, we are here to help.”
The Combined Federal Campaign has designated the AWCF as Best of the CFC. You can see that and our CFC video here.
AWCF has been awarded the Four Star rating by Charity Navigator (charitynavigtor.org) and named number #1 of “10 Charities to Watch” under $2 million in FY 2012.
We hope that you have confidence in the AWCF to deal confidently, efficiently and confidentially with whatever “need” or project you bring to us. Call us, fax or E-mail us but, please, bring your concern to the table and let us determine if it is something we are authorized to deal with. With your cooperation, we’re ready to “Stroke the burner” and demonstrate “Where Camaraderie And Caring Continue.”