Created in 2004, the Duncan Family Trust changed its name in early 2022 to the Duncan Aviation Family Trust (DuncanFamilyTrust.org). Because grant awards come from Duncan Aviation profits, the new name more accurately reflects the source of the Trust’s financial support. The Trust’s purpose didn’t change, though. Its mission is to enhance the quality of education, create positive community change in the areas where Duncan Aviation operates, and to increase awareness and interest in the aviation industry.
Each year, the Trust makes grants to nonprofits in the communities in which our team members live to give back to the localities that have helped Duncan Aviation become the largest family owned business aircraft facility in the world. Applications for financial support must meet one of the Trust’s three areas of focus: Education, Human Services/Community, and Aviation/STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics).
The Trust is governed by its directors, Robert and Karen Duncan and Todd and Connie Duncan. Gifting decisions are made by a Philanthropy Committee. Members of the committee are its newly elected President Katie Duncan, Trust officers Connie Duncan, Cindy Morris, Jamie Harder, and Maira Sherman, and leadership members from the Battle Creek and Provo locations. Other team members rotate on the committee for limited appointments.
The Duncan Aviation Philanthropy Committee meets quarterly and reviews grant applications, disbursing money from the Trust.
“Each year, we give away more than $500,000,” says Connie. “Through these donations we’re able to support various community centers, after-school programs, United Way programs, scholarships, schools, and organizations in our communities. Support for the community from Duncan family members does not stop with the support given by the Trust. As an example, Karen and Robert’s passion for artwork has fueled their love of giving toward the Clarinda Carnegie Art Museum, whose mission is to enrich the region through education programming and world-class art exhibitions.”
Each year, the amount of giving to each focus area will vary based on the total number of requests and where the Philanthropy Committee feels the funds will be most useful.
The pie chart with this article does not include a $3.3 million donation to Lincoln Public Schools to expand facilities for its Aviation and Technical Education Focus Program. After identifying a long-term shortage in Airframe & Powerplant Mechanics, Duncan Aviation decided to reinvest in its future and tackle the issue head-on. The Aviation and Technical Education Focus Program at Lincoln North Star High School started in 2018 to see if there was an interest in aviation with students. The focus program began offering aviation courses using the STEM curriculum from the AOPA (Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association) Foundation in 2019. Today, it is the largest focus program in the Lincoln Public Schools system with more than 200 students. The donation from Duncan Aviation will help fund facility and equipment expansion to provide more realistic lab and hands-on opportunities in the classrooms.
This is the single largest donation in the Trust’s history and it strengthens the education and awareness of aviation in the Lincoln community.