The AIR FOUNDATION was a nonprofit organization that specialized in grants and scholarships for space- and aviation-related purposes. The foundation was incorporated in 1945 by FREDERICK C. CRAWFORD (of Thompson Products), Alvin C. Ernst (Ernst & Ernst), W. Trevor Holliday (Standard Oil), and Albert J. Weatherhead (the Weatherhead Co.). Its original purpose was "to promote, encourage, finance, and conduct . . . scientific investigation and research relating to the science or art of aerial transportation and navigation, and the design of materials for, and processes which may be used for, the construction and manufacture of all types of aircraft and parts." Less specifically, it hoped to make Cleveland the aviation center of America. Crawford was president, and Benjamin T. Franklin was the general manager throughout the foundation's existence. The founders raised $250,000 as seed money for the foundation's programs, which included the National Aircraft Show, held in Cleveland in 1946, and a National Model Plane & Space Show, which it helped sponsor annually for over 20 years. The foundation also sponsored and underwrote Cleveland NATIONAL AIR RACES, Inc., which directed the affairs of the races from 1946-60, when they were discontinued. From 1964-66, the foundation cosponsored the CLEVELAND AIR SHOW. During the 1960s, it withheld support from shows that featured air races to prevent future tragic accidents. In 1964 the foundation received the Meritorious Service Award from the Air Force for its leadership in the National Air Races and National Aircraft Show. By 1968 the Air Foundation had contributed $40,000 in scholarships to Case Institute of Technology and $150,000 to the U.S. Services Relief Societies Fund. The foundation was dissolved 8 June 1970, and all assets, approx. $200,000, and records were donated to the WESTERN RESERVE HISTORICAL SOCIETY.


Black, white and red text reading Western Reserve Historical Society

Finding aid for the Air Foundation Records. WRHS.

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