The Ray Foundation was founded by James C. and Joan L. Ray. James’ dedication to aviation began shortly after the December 7, 1941, attack on Pearl Harbor, when he enlisted in the Army Air Corps. He was involved in the D-Day invasion as a command B-17 pilot with the 8th Air Force. Post war, he served in the Air National Guard, and was very involved in general aviation following his service years.
James was the recipient of EAA’s 1992 Freedom of Flight Award, and in 2009 had a thoroughfare on the AirVenture grounds named in his honor. His support for numerous EAA initiatives is part of his legacy, as he made possible both facilities and programs that extended EAA’s ability to grow participation in aviation. The most visible of those gifts is the Air Academy Lodge. Since 1998, this facility has hosted hundreds of young people each summer at the EAA Air Academy, which gives those ages 12-18 the opportunity to discover more about flight. The Ray Aviation Scholarship Fund is sure to deliver an equally impactful experience for youths who are passionate about aviation.
James firmly believed in the life skills, discipline, character, and confidence taught throughout the flight training journey. In keeping with his spirit, the Ray Foundation seeks to encourage the development of human potential through supporting programs that develop life skills such as self-discipline, self-confidence, and self-reliance on the part of the grant recipients. The Foundation has focused a great deal of interest in aviation and the development of strategies and programs that address the involvement and education of young adults in aviation and aerospace.