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Own or Lease a Chapter Facility
By Serena Kamps, Chapter Field Rep I, EAA Lifetime 1011028
November 2021 – Whether you rent a space or have built or bought a hangar, if your chapter has a space to call its own, you know how beneficial it is. It simplifies meetings, gatherings, and events, provides space for storage and build projects, and creates a sense of chapter pride and belonging as members have a place to hang out at the airport. A chapter facility gives you the freedom and ability to do things when and how you want.
As you can see from the pictures, chapter facilities are as diverse as chapters themselves. As defined by our chapter insurance program however, a chapter facility is a space that the chapter owns, leases, or has 24/7 access to for at least 30 consecutive days. If you have such a facility, you should be purchasing insurance that includes facility insurance during renewal. When you do this, your chapter receives this recognition point.
Although obtaining your own chapter facility may seem like a lofty goal, it is definitely something each chapter should be working toward. You’ll need to have the support of the entire chapter to be successful. Having clearly established goals for what you will do with your facility once obtained is a key part of gaining this buy-in. Establishing the “why” also helps you to make a solid case when fundraising. When you have a clear understanding of your fundraising goals and a proven record of good things your chapter does for the community and communicate these well, it might surprise you the number of people willing to make generous contributions to your cause.
In case you’re still not convinced it’s worth the effort, I’ll let chapters speak for themselves on the benefits they’ve experienced as a result of having their own facility.
"Build it (lease it) and they will come! We approached the airport commission about space for our chapter… [and] provided a chronological list of chapter activities to present. Some of the commission was not aware of our work in the community. We moved into the oldest hangar on the field. We had a chapter work party weekend to clean and organize. Ordered pizzas and had a great time. Once we cleaned the space, donations started pouring in.
We set up a book case and told the membership our library was open. Find a book you like, take it with you. If you want to keep it, donate a comparable volume. Started with a few selections and magazines, two years in we had 400-plus volumes.
A nicely maintained space gets more donations. We now have a few TVs, projection system, and a Redbird sim."
-Gary Brossett – EAA 677, Chattahoochee Valley, Georgia
“Acquiring an office was, for us, a game-changer. We had a place to meet, a place to shoot the breeze, a place for Young Eagles Workshops and most importantly, a home. Our membership grew by leaps and bounds, our management teams solidified and we are a valued asset to our community.”
- William Ross – EAA 234, Traverse City, Michigan
“Four projects in process, community visibility when hangar door is open. We’re lucky to have no fences at Clow Airport. Place to grill, tool crib.”
-Josh Krecek – EAA 461, Bolingbrook, Illinois/p>
"We have seen all sorts of activities, from Tri-Motor rides to guest presentations on military and emergency medevac flights. Our chapter has an aircraft under restoration in our shop and we regularly feature guest presentations by FAA FAAST Team and AOPA Air Safety institute. EAA 44 has a home!”
- Norm Isler – EAA 44, Brockport, New York
“Just like any other organization, it makes us look more legitimate to have our own brick-and-mortar EAA 34 headquarters (office and hangar) at Arlington Municipal Airport, Texas. It also acts as the hub for all our activities and gives us a private and secure location to meet for administrative, training, and recreational purposes. In addition, we've amassed quite the tool crib and work area in our hangar. We've even created a premium membership level for $70 that allows those members to borrow tools and use them in our work area. In turn, these funds are used to purchase even more tools! We also have an industrial size shear, brake, drill press, and metal lathe there.
In addition, we run skills and builds workshops out of our hangar and office, a monthly youth training session, and summer youth aviation camps. We have a great collection of aircraft books in our library there, a restroom, kitchen sink, fridge, oven, AC and heat. This makes our office a great place to rest and stage when flying out and back on inclement weather days.”
-Jerry Ritchey, Jr – EAA 34, Arlington, Texas
“Chapter 157 in Redding, California, leases a Quonset hut from the city at Benton Airpark. Having a place to call home is important for any organization. We have a full kitchen, restrooms with showers, a patio, and a smaller Quonset hut for storage. We use it for our dinner meetings, board meetings, safety seminars, etc.”
- Jim Bremer – EAA 157, Redding, California
“Our chapter was chartered in 1998. Our meetings were held in classrooms available only during the evenings at the Gainesville, Missouri, school. In 2001, meetings were moved to Saturdays in Ron White's hangar at Willow Springs. (That hangar housed several vintage aircraft and four automobiles, aviation memorabilia, and a full kitchen.) We began to see a steady increase in our numbers. The location is ideal, adjacent to the municipal airport with both an asphalt and grass runway. In 2004, chapter members decided we needed our own hangar for conducting meetings and assembling projects. Our building at 810 Bryan Street, Willow Springs, was dedicated on October 7, 2006. Our facility is debt free and complete with a meeting room for 60, full kitchen, and a large 50'X50' shop space. Our membership covers a 10-county area.
We were fortunate to already have our 501©3 tax-exempt status in place before we began to design a space. We were donated an aircraft and sold it immediately for start-up money for construction. We had several construction vendors donate products and our multi-talented members did the construction, including building the cabinetry in the meeting room, restrooms, kitchen, and a footbridge across the creek.”
- Phyllis White – EAA 1218, Willow Springs, Missouri
There you have it! Increased membership, a place to call home, and make great memories as a chapter — the recognition point is just the icing on the cake!