Dear Foundation Members and Friends:
In some respects it seems like yesterday that I assumed this position from Lt Gen Mike Nelson. Our bylaws rightly call for term limits on serving on our Board of Directors. I have now reached that time limit and must step aside.
Not to wax nostalgic, but I believe that we benefit from an examination of where we've been in order to have context, not only for where we find ourselves in today's environment, but where we need to go in the future to remain relevant to our air power community.
The economic environment of eight years ago, and the simultaneous loss of the Air Force contract to purchase 3,800 copies of Air Power History, dealt us a serious financial blow. The Foundation immediately went into a cost-cutting mode; while successful, it was not enough to stem the tide. Little by little, we began to erode our available funds. By 2014 we began to look at the possibility of shutting the Foundation down, developing a plan called "2017 or Bust." In perspective, this was the same dire situation that our Foundation found itself in the early 70s and late 80s and 90s. As in previous times, our membership came to the rescue. In particular, one of our long-time, lifetime members bequeathed to us a large sum, which we subsequently invested into a portfolio to sustain us for the foreseeable future.
Despite this changing environment, we pressed on with our mission of educating the public of the contributions of air power to our Nation's defense. We strengthened our awards program by establishing the Doolittle Award, which ties an existing U.S. Air Force unit with its own history and that of the greater air power community. This year we will name our sixth recipient. We addressed stewardship issues to promote better governance. Recognizing the need to shorten the learning curve for new board members and make them immediately effective, we produced a board member handbook. This handbook proved to be a...