There is no indication, other than the IRS application for non-profit status, that the Association founders foresaw the probability of the Association engaging in charitable activities. The first suggestion for such activities apparently was a proposal presented to the Executive Committee Meeting at the September 1981 Convention by member Coy E. Sharpe., 7th Association President, of the Oklahoma State Chapter, for establishment of a Scholarship Fund and a Scholarship Achievement Awards Program. The proposal was subsequently approved by both the Executive Committee and a vote of the membership. Responsibility for developing and administering the program was delegated to Sharpe. IRS approval of this tax-deductible activity was reportedly acquired in February 1983.
Concurrently, a Memorial Fund was authorized to which contributions by members could be made in memory or honor of an individual. The donations are deposited into the Scholarship Fund, unless the contributors specifically designated a specific use of these donations, and the Executive committee agreed.
Complementing these actions was the establishment of a Charities Selection Committee to make recommendations to the Executive Committee as to the specific amount(s) to be contributed and the organization(s) or project(s) worthy of Association support. A general membership vote in the Spring of 1982 authorized the expenditure of a sum not to exceed $1,000 annually as a charitable contribution. The November 1989 edition of the By-Laws changed the annual contribution to a sum not less than $1,000.
There were some misunderstandings apparent among the National Officers in the first several years of the Scholarship/Memorial Fund with respect to whether these were Association funds or separate and apart because the monies originated as tax exempt contributions. The differing opinions were initially rationalized by designating the Program Administrator, Sharpe, an Assistant Treasurer and directing him to maintain the monies in an account separate from the Association’s general funds. In October 1984, all parties reached agreement that the funds would come under the control of the Association Treasurer, but be maintained separately from the General Account and be used exclusively to administer and fund the Scholarship Achievement Awards.
Although the Scholarship/Memorial Fund got off to a rocky start with the membership seemingly reluctant to initially contribute, as evidenced by messages in multiple issues of the AFOSISA Newsletter by the Program Administrator and the Association President, it has been a long-term success story for the Association. Since the first three scholarships were granted in 1984, the Association has continued to assist young men and women who are related to Association members. Presently, approximately 12-14 scholarships are awarded each year totaling approximately $14,000.
In carrying out the membership’s direction, the Board of Directors has authorized charitable contributions to be made. Some of those include:
- Air Force Assistance Fund for the AF Enlisted Widows Home
- Air Force Aid Society “Memorial Honor Roll” to Memorialize Deceased Former Members of AFOSI
- Air Force Aid Society to Establish an Open End Scholarship Fund Account in the Name of the Association
- American Liver Foundation Transplant Fund in the Name of a Daughter of an Association Member
- Association Scholarship Fund
- Korean Orphanage Supported by [former] AFOSI District 45
- Korean War Memorial
- Fisher House
- Wounded Warrior Foundation
Each of these contributions was responsive to the Association’s objectives as stated in the By-Laws Preamble.