The MARCH Foundation announced a gift of $75,000 to provide scholarships for students participating in Elizabeth City State University’s new “Take Flight Careers Pathways Program.”
Elizabeth City State University is a Historically Black College and University, the only four-year aviation education program in North Carolina. The Take Flight Career Pathways Program will “promote opportunities for internships and fellowship with major airlines in the industry.” Through this partnership with the MARCH Foundation, the university’s goal is to create a pipeline of opportunity for workforce readiness and preparedness for the students.
“We’re excited to support Elizabeth City State as they prepare the next generation of pilots and leaders in the aviation industry,” said Eric Leufroy, MARCH Foundation board member who spent more than 34 years at UPS. “We know how expensive education is today, and we want to help students succeed and pursue their dreams.”
Investing in the future aviation workforce is key. The gift helps to prepare a more inclusive talent pool of pilots, and to inspire the next generation of aviation professionals, Leufroy said.
Only 2.2% of airline pilots are Black, according to Zippia. The data shows that the average pilot is a 45-year-old, white male with a bachelor’s degree, earning about $102,560. In addition to pilots, Elizabeth City offers concentrations in avionics, aviation management, flight education, air traffic control and unmanned aircraft systems (e.g., drones).
With its gift to Elizabeth City State, the MARCH Foundation demonstrates its commitment to HBCUs and the growing number of students who need help with skyrocketing tuition.
ESCU Chancellor Dr. Karrie G. Dixon said ECSU received the generous gift from the MARCH Foundation on its 7th Annual Day of Giving. “This $75,000 gift will be used to support our students and the state’s only four-year aviation science degree program now and in the future.”
Philanthropic donations like this one make a tremendous impact, according to Gary Brown, Ph.D., vice chancellor of Student Affairs and interim vice chancellor of Institutional Advancement.
“As ECSU thrives as a leader in aviation science education for the citizens of North Carolina and beyond, the generous gift from the MARCH Foundation will prepare more scholars to serve as skilled pilots, educators, air traffic controllers and more. Partners like the MARCH Foundation dramatically enhance ECSU’s ability to attract and retain talent that fuels the aviation industry,” Brown said.
MARCH, which stands for Mutual Alliance Restoring Community Hope, was launched to support the education of African American youth. Kenneth B. Jarvis, a longtime community business and civic leader, founded the group more than 25 years ago.
MARCH Foundation’s board members — African American executive men, all of whom retired from United Parcel Service (UPS) — initially funded MARCH with their personal funds. The foundation distributed more than $2 million in grants and scholarships, impacting more than 2,000 students to date.
For more information or the opportunity to give to the MARCH Foundation, visit https://marchfoundation.org/donate/.
For more information on Elizabeth City State University’s aviation program, go to https://www.ecsu.edu/aviation/.