HAM Radio 101

Ham Radio History: ARRL Foundation

September 21, 2023, marked 50 years since the ARRL Foundation was formed. While partnered with the ARRL (American Radio Relay League), the ARRL Foundation stewards philanthropic support for amateur radio through scholarships, club grants, and other programs to ensure a healthy future for our beloved hobby and service.

The ARRL established the ARRL Foundation in 1973 as a separate and independent not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization. Per the ARRL, art, science, and service to society are the main factors considered by the ARRL Foundation when awarding financial grants and scholarships to individuals and organizations in support of their charitable, scientific, and educational pursuits.

Individuals, groups, or clubs wishing to establish an ARRL Foundation scholarship should go to the Sample Terms of Reference from the ARRL website. The ARRL reported that more than 100 scholarships—from $500 to $25,000—will be awarded in 2024.

Amateur radio operators and like-minded people fully fund the ARRL Foundation. The foundation uses these funds to administer programs such as the amateur radio award scholarships for higher education, award grants for amateur radio projects and special awards, and amateur radio grants for the Victor C. Clark Youth Incentive Program and the Jesse A. Bieberman Meritorious Membership Program.

Nine volunteer members make up the ARRL Foundation Board of Directors—a group devoted to providing valuable programs and services to the amateur radio community. Foundation board members are nominated and elected by the ARRL Board of Directors. The Foundation board includes five members who also serve on the ARRL Board of Directors. ARRL Foundation officers (president, vice president, treasurer, and secretary) are elected by the ARRL Foundation board. Upon the expiration of the term of each Foundation director, the directors of the ARRL elect a successor for a term of three years.

How to Make a Contribution

Contributions of all sizes to the ARRL Foundation are welcome. The Foundation notes that donations may be designated to a specific program or to the ARRL Foundation General Fund. All contributions are acknowledged with a tax receipt letter and are deductible to the full extent of the law.

After completing the ARRL Foundation Donation Form, mail your contribution payable to The ARRL Foundation. The ARRL asks that you include your name (or group name), complete contact information, and the name of the program you would like to support. If you are making a special contribution to honor an Elmer, friend, or relative, or if the gift is marking a special anniversary or intended as a memorial gift, that information should be included as well. The completed Donation Form and your contribution should be mailed to:

            ARRL Foundation

            225 Main Street

            Newington, CT 06111-1494

How to Make a Memorial Contribution

After completing the Donation Form, mail it with your contribution noting the name and call sign of the Silent Key you wish to honor. The ARRL asks that you include the full name and address of the Silent Key’s family or representative so they can be notified. Memorial contributions may be designated for one of the existing ARRL Foundation Funds.

How to Establish a Scholarship

Per the ARRL, new scholarships are created by agreement on Terms of Reference as to the selection criteria and funding of a scholarship award of $1,000 or more annually. The Terms of Reference must be approved by vote of the ARRL Foundation Board of Directors. Individuals or groups wishing to make a scholarship contribution as a single memorial gift may support one of the existing scholarships or the ARRL Foundation General Scholarship Fund after contacting the Foundation secretary.

Scholarships may be funded with an annual contribution by December 31 of the year preceding the first award, or endowed with a lump sum contribution of $25,000 or more to fund a $1,000 scholarship award each year from earnings on a lump sum endowment gift.

The ARRL asks that you contact a Foundation director or the Foundation secretary by phone at 860-594-0291 or by email at foundation@arrl.org to discuss the process of establishing Terms of Reference for a scholarship, funding options, selection criteria, and a timetable.  

How to Make a Bequest

If amateur radio has played an important role in your life, the ARRL Foundation encourages you to consider leaving a legacy by making a bequest to the Foundation through a will or other estate plan. Further, gifts of stock or other securities may be used to contribute to any of the Foundation’s programs. Contact a Foundation director or the Foundation secretary for more information.

Questions? Share them in the comments below or email me at KE8FMJ@gmail.com.

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