Astronaut Scholarship Foundation Inc.

Orlando, FL   |  www.astronautscholarship.org

Mission

To aid the United States in retaining its world leadership in technology and innovation by supporting the very best and brightest scholars in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics while commemorating the legacy of America’s pioneering astronauts.

Ruling year info

1985

Principal Officer

Caroline Schumacher

Main address

651 Danville Drive, Suite 101

Orlando, FL 32825 USA

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Formerly known as

Mercury Seven Foundation

EIN

59-2448775

NTEE code info

Scholarships, Student Financial Aid, Awards (B82)

Engineering (U42)

Undergraduate College (4-year) (B42)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

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Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Scholarship Program

More than 50 prestigious merit-based scholarships are awarded annually across the country to the top undergraduate upperclassmen at participating universities. Each scholarship recipient receives financial support up to $15,000 to offset the cost of tuition, books (or class materials), housing, and research conferences. The criteria and selection process for the scholarship is extremely rigorous. ASF partners with select top STEM universities in the country, including the University of Central Florida (UCF), and candidates must be nominated by their faculty. The universities have an internal review board that screens at least eight nominees and provides ASF with their top two finalists. ASF has an internal Scholar Selection Committee comprised of astronauts, academia, and scholar alumni who select the top student to award at each university. In addition to having stellar grades, students are reviewed on their current research in a selected field, innovation, creativity, ambition, and leadership. Astronaut Scholars are awarded their scholarships by an Astronaut at their respective university during a STEM education seminar open to the student body, surrounding schools, and general public. To date, ASF has awarded more than $6 million in scholarships.

Population(s) Served
Adults

The Astronaut Scholarship Foundation awards the best and brightest STEM students in the nation. These great minds and vast talents could be limited if the right outlets are not found or the path-changing doors are not opened. The transition from school to professional future endeavors is often a challenge, and our available mentor pool of talent overflows with successful business and industry leaders, as well as the scholar alumni who have successfully launched their life's quest into the professional realm. The insight passed from mentor to mentee will help propel these scholars in a positive direction to fully recognize and utilize their world-changing potential. The structure of the Mentorship Program is based on the knowledge and wisdom shared to promote successful researchers, professionals, and world-changers. Age and experience arm the mentor to successfully advise and steer the up-and-coming professional using knowledge and wisdom that only past experience can provide. Through this program, we offer the opportunity to build peer support and friendships, courses on personal and professional development, as well as guidance to help the students become successful professionals. Each pair communicates, at a minimum, monthly for one year and information shared with students includes guidance for transition into the workforce, networking connections, and feedback offered by the "seasoned" executive, astronaut, or astronaut scholar alumni. The impact the Astronaut Scholarship has on the students starts with the monetary award and continues into their careers and beyond as contacts are made, professional pathways followed, and successes are achieved; this is paid forward/given back as many of the mentees eventually become the new mentors.

Population(s) Served
Adults

The Michael Collins Family Professional Development Program is a newer initiative that is designed to continue to assist the Astronaut Scholars in advancing their career path. This initiative instructs scholars in specific topics and provides experiences that will supply them with the tools they need to develop into strong professional leaders, as well as self-assured adults. The program consists of the ASF Scholar Technical Conference, online leadership courses, Scholar Meet-Up events, corporate tours, professional networking events, and in-person discussions and presentations on various professional topics. This program stresses a strong communication initiative in order to arm the students with necessary skills to remain competitive in today’s market.

Population(s) Served
Adults

ASF hosts the Innovators Weekend & Gala featuring the Neil Armstrong™ Award of Excellence in Orlando, FL. All incoming Astronaut Scholars are flown to the Nation's capital for three days of networking with leaders, attending corporate tours in various industries, attending The Michael Collins Family Professional Development programs, receiving their awards and recognition for their American Heroes. An Astronaut Scholar Alum is recognized for his/her innovation and accomplishments in their field. The Armstrong family presents the Neil Armstrong Award of Excellence to the alum.

Population(s) Served
Adults

Where we work

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Number of academic scholarships awarded

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Young adults, Students

Related Program

Scholarship Program

Type of Metric

Other - describing something else

Direction of Success

Increasing

Number of grants received

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Young adults, Students

Type of Metric

Other - describing something else

Direction of Success

Increasing

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

Since the inception of the Foundation in 1984, Astronauts have inspired America's youth to become explorers, entrepreneurs, researchers, scientists and engineers. The science and technology fields are critical to the success of America for the long-term. To date, ASF has played a role in this effort through educational events and lectures and by awarding prestigious merit-based scholars. As ASF looks at the next 3 years, the goals are as follows: Goal 1: Be the nation's leading merit-based scholarship for upper level undergraduate engineering and science students who are U.S. citizens. Goal 2: Provide development and enrichment opportunities for Astronaut Scholars to engage with industry leaders and enhance their professional careers. Goal 3: Recognize outstanding accomplishments and achievements of Astronaut Scholar alumni. Goal 4: Establish relationships, provide access, and facilitate opportunities for Astronaut Scholars to present their inventions, business plans, proposed ventures, research proposals, and other ideas and initiatives to potential investors and supporters. Goal 5: Develop metrics to measure the effectiveness of each program and return on investment.

To accomplish these goals, ASF has strategically identified benchmarks for defining success. The overarching focus for achieving these goals started with ensuring ASF has the proper staffing structure and professional staff to achieve the goals outlined. The tactical strategies to achieve success include the following: working closely with university liaisons to identify "best practice" methods, increasing corporate partners providing mentors and internship opportunities, developing an interactive website and educational tools, developing and implementing necessary programs to facilitate lifelong support, developing and implementing the new Innovators Weekend & Gala featuring the Neil Armstrong Award of Excellence. We believe these types of strategies will serve the Astronaut Scholars well in their careers, will provide support and connections for the scholars as they continue their path and provide them with an opportunity to engage and support future Astronaut Scholars for years to come. The Astronaut Scholars are the astronauts' legacy.

We have 41 partnering universities who are active in helping to achieve the merit-based process for scholar selections. We have expertise from academia, entrepreneurs, private investors, and industry leaders that volunteer to shape our programs, provide support and the guidance to be successful. The support of our corporate partners and individual donors is crucial to the short-term success as well. Some of our corporate partnerships include Jacobs, SAIC, Lockheed Martin, Wreyford Foundation, Texas Mason's/ Tranquility Lodge, Delaware North, and Kennedy Space Center Visitor's Complex. Their support and relationships help to advance the mission. At the heart of our organization are the astronauts and the individuals involved with ASF. We employ ten staff that are dedicated to supporting our scholars and providing opportunities for the general public to learn, question and be inspired. We have more than 100 astronauts from every space program supporting ASF in various ways, as well as more than 250 Astronaut Scholar alumni who are still active in some capacity in giving back.

ASF provides significant financial support to the best and brightest STEM scholars while maintaining status and prestige as the largest privately funded, merit-based STEM scholarship in the United States. To do this we are increasing the number of partnering universities from 41 to 44 and increasing the number of scholarships from 52 to 56. This increase has allowed for the opportunity to grow the number of volunteers involved in our Scholar Selection Committee and provide deeper engagement opportunities. We have also recently increased our total scholarship funds granted annually from the current maximum award amount of $10,000 to $15,000 starting with the 2021 academic year. This increase will allow more funding for the scholars which are in need to focus on their educational endeavors and take the financial burden from their shoulders.

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • Who are the people you serve with your mission?

    -Astronaut Scholars are undergraduate juniors and seniors majoring in areas of STEM.

  • How is your organization collecting feedback from the people you serve?

    Electronic surveys (by email, tablet, etc.),

  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve, To understand people's needs and how we can help them achieve their goals,

  • With whom is the organization sharing feedback?

    Our staff, Our board,

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

    We collect feedback from the people we serve at least annually, We aim to collect feedback from as many people we serve as possible, We take steps to ensure people feel comfortable being honest with us, We look for patterns in feedback based on demographics (e.g., race, age, gender, etc.), We engage the people who provide feedback in looking for ways we can improve in response, We act on the feedback we receive,

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    It is difficult to get the people we serve to respond to requests for feedback,

Financials

Astronaut Scholarship Foundation Inc.
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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lock

Connect with nonprofit leaders

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  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights? Learn More about GuideStar Pro.

Astronaut Scholarship Foundation Inc.

Board of directors
as of 11/07/2022
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board co-chair

Curt Brown

Astronaut, Shuttle

Term: 2017 - 2024


Board co-chair

Lisa Schott

Quietly Making Noise

Term: 2014 - 2024

Lisa Schott

Quietly Making Noise

Michael Neukamm

Gray Robinson

Richard Covey

NASA Astronaut, Retired

Larry Bradley

Space Telescope Science Institute

Brewster Shaw

NASA Astronaut, Retired

Kathryn Thornton

NASA Astronaut (Retired), University of Virginia

Dan Brandenstein

NASA Astronaut, Retired

Charles Precourt

NASA Astronaut, Retired

Curt Brown

NASA Astronaut, Retired

Chris Ferguson

NASA Astronaut (Retired), Boeing

Patrick Biltgen

Booz Allen Hamilton

Kevin Chilton

NASA Astronaut, Retired

Scott Altman

NASA Astronaut (Retired), ASRC Federal

Caroline Schumacher

Eric Moleski

GEN Financial Management

Jessica Blomberg

Quality CMC Consulting

Bernard Harris

NASA Astronaut (Retired), NMSI, The Harris Institute

Rick Armstrong

Astronaut family member

Janet Kavandi

NASA Astronaut (Retired), Sierra Nevada Corporation

Adero Paige

National Reconnaissance Office

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? No
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? No

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 3/23/2022

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Female
Sexual orientation
Decline to state
Disability status
Decline to state

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

 

Sexual orientation

No data

Disability

No data

Equity strategies

Last updated: 03/28/2022

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

Data
  • We have long-term strategic plans and measurable goals for creating a culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.
Policies and processes
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We have community representation at the board level, either on the board itself or through a community advisory board.