A new aviation scholarship program, honoring one of the first FedEx pilots and his spouse, launched Tuesday with an initial endowment of $500,000.
More than 80 FedEx Express retired pilots, executives and other guests gathered Tuesday at the company’s hub in Memphis for an event announcing the new Paul B. and Frances M. Crow Aviation Scholarship Foundation.
Paul B. Crow was one of the original pilots when FedEx was founded in 1972. A World War II veteran and Navy aviator, he retired from FedEx in 1995 and died in 2003. His wife, Frances M. Crow, died in 2009. Their daughter, Pat, created the foundation to honor them.
“I couldn’t bear the thought of my parents’ memory being lost to the ages,” Pat Crow told those attending the announcement event. “I wondered what would be their legacy and the idea of a scholarship foundation seemed like the right thing to do.”
A former 20-year FedEx Express employee, Pat Crow said she discussed the foundation with her financial planner Terry Morris, of Raymond James, and through other contacts with retired FedEx pilots the scholarship concept evolved. Crow said FedEx stock investments she made through her two decades with the company represent the initial funding.
The Foundation, expected to be finalized in several months following approval by the IRS as a nonprofit, will provide financial assistance to students wishing to pursue a professional career as a commercial pilot. Scholarship guidelines and eligibility requirements will be completed at that time.
“We are eternally grateful for this special gift from Pat Crow, in memory of her parents,” said David J. Bronczek, FedEx Express president and CEO.
“This is a generous contribution from and in honor of people who were part of the FedEx family; that makes it very special.”
The scholarship comes at a time when the aviation industry is bracing for an expected pilot shortage.