A Quote from Jack J. Pelton & EAA Positive Impacts

A Quote from Jack J. Pelton & EAA Positive Impacts


James was one of the most prolific aviation philanthropists of our time – with much done anonymously. He regularly supported the Experimental Aircraft Association, the University of North Dakota’s Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences, AOPA, and the Central Florida Aerospace Academy. For EAA, he was most noted for constructing the Air Academy Lodge and propelling the vision for the Air Academy program. Now in its thirty-fifth year, the Air Academy has been bringing youth ages 12 to 18 faithfully to the EAA campus each summer for camps. Over that time more, than 6,500 kids and 200 adult counselors have made memories, created life-long friendships, and some have found careers. Today, the Air Academy is the longest running residential aviation camp in the United States and has been named a top 10 summer camp by MSN.

Mr. Ray’s generous support of so many worthwhile aviation causes helps assure that aspiring young aviators will have the same opportunity to learn self-discipline and self-confidence for themselves for years to come. The success of the people and institutions he supported was a great source of pride for him.

EAA KidVenture Grant Gift Highlight | Ray Foundation, Inc.
EAA Air Academy Lodge Interior | Ray Foundation, Inc.
EAA KidVenture Grant Gift Highlight | Ray Foundation, Inc.
EAA Air Academy Lodge Exterior | Ray Foundation, Inc.
James Ray had a complete dedication to aviation and a passion for it. He thoroughly believed that aviation taught and developed the life skills, discipline, character and confidence needed to be a successful person. We are honored that James saw EAA’s programs as a way to encourage young people to pursue aviation, and the Ray Foundation continues that important work in his honor today.
Jack J. Pelton, EAA CEO & Chairman of the Board
EAA Positive Impacts

Ray Foundation Gift Highlights

  • Wings on Dreams Capital Campaign (EAA Headquarters) $ 60,000 1982
  • AirVenture Theatre $200,000 1986
  • Eagle Hangar addition $300,000 1987
  • AirVenture Feature Film $150,000 1991
  • Facilities Maintenance Program $125,000 1991
  • Facilities Maintenance Program $125,000 1992
  • Facilities Maintenance Program $125,000 1993
  • Pioneer Work Experience Endowment $150,000 1993
  • Facilities Maintenance Program $125,000 1994
  • Annual Fund for Excellence $125,000 1995
  • Compass Hill $ 25,000 1995
  • Wittman Hangar $ 10,000 1995
  • Facilities Maintenance Program $125,000 1996
  • Air Academy Lodge $1,000,000 1996
  • Purchase of Glastar Aircrafts for Air Academy $ 85,000 1996
  • Facilities Maintenance Fund $125,000 1997
  • Facilities Maintenance Fund $125,000 1998
  • Facilities Maintenance Fund $125,000 1999
  • Vision of Eagles Endowment $200,000 1999
  • EAA Staff Housing Lodge $310,000 1999
  • Flight Simulator Laboratory $ 8,000 2002
  • Completion of lower level of Air Academy Lodge $ 60,000 2002
  • KidVenture $170,000 2009-2017
  • Ray Scholars Program $1,000,000 2018
Mallory Rhodes, Ray Aviation Scholar Recipient | Ray Foundation, Inc.


Mallory Rhodes | Ray Scholars Program

When I was little I had talked about being a flight attendant because I loved traveling and I loved flying. After being part of the aerospace engineering class and the Eagles Nest project build I realized the dream of being a pilot was much more achievable than I always believed! I was really driven into aviation due to all the encouragement and guidance I have received from the mentors and my flight instructor! Everyone has been so positive and uplifting throughout my journey so far so when it came time for my solo I felt confident.


Mallory Rhodes, EAA 1302779, has come a long way in a short period of time. Mallory was awarded a Ray Aviation Scholarship through EAA Chapter 302 on May 10. Her total flight experience at that time was her one Young Eagles flight. Mallory says her scholarship has been a blessing and she is grateful for all her mentors.

“She is a hard charging young lady and is on track to meet her goal of completing her private pilot certificate prior to this year’s AirVenture,” said Chapter 302 President Joe Waltz.

Mallory soloed in a Piper PA-28-180 Cherokee on the 75th anniversary of D-Day and isn’t letting the grass grow under her feet, as she has already completed her first cross-country trip. She plans on flying to AirVenture in the RV-12 that she and her classmates at Montgomery High School built this year under the auspices of the Eagles Nest Program. Mallory’s long-term goals are to continue her aviation journey and eventually become a commercial pilot.


Learn more about Mallory’s aviation journey by following her personal blog on Facebook, Aviation Journey with Mallory Rhodes, or read her full solo milestone on EAA’s Hangar Flying.

Click here to learn more about the Experimental Aircraft Association