Changing Lives Through the IAAPA Foundation
Interest in the global attractions industry among young adults is burgeoning, while the need for qualified workers and leaders has never been greater. The IAAPA Foundation is dedicated to creating a pipeline of qualified and motivated leaders into the attractions industry by lending a hand to students.
Formed in 2010, the IAAPA Foundation exists to inspire life-changing careers in the industry by cultivating tomorrow’s leaders. By providing scholarships to students at select institutions, the foundation encourages students and educational institutions to focus on career pathways into the attractions industry. In addition to its academic scholarships, the IAAPA Foundation supports student participation at IAAPA Expos through experiential scholarships, allowing recipients to broaden their scope of the industry while developing valuable connections with industry leadership.
In 2016, the estate of renowned industry executive Al Weber Jr. coordinated with the IAAPA Foundation to create a scholarship fund to support students who are focused on a career in the attractions industry.
“Al was devoted to both serving our industry and fostering educational opportunities for students,” Bonnie Sherman Weber, industry executive and wife of Al Weber, explains. “The IAAPA Foundation allows others who share Al’s passions to join with his estate to support students who are striving to become our industry’s future leaders.”
Jim Seay, president of Premier Rides, chairs the IAAPA Foundation. “The foundation operates 100% on donations from companies and individuals within our industry,” Seay says. “Every dollar donated goes to help students with their attractions-focused education. The foundation has made it easy for donations to be made through our website at IAAPAFoundation.org.”
Other board members include Andreas Andersen, Liseberg; Jane Cooper, Business Consultant; Deborah Eicher, Consultant; Hal McEvoy, IAAPA; Tom Mehrmann, Universal Parks and Resorts; Jeroen Nijpels, JNELC; Tim O’Brien, Casa Flamingo Literary Arts; Bonnie Sherman Weber; Michael Turner, The Producers Group; Bobbie Wages; and Ken Whiting, Whiting’s Foods.
Tom Wages, who volunteers as the IAAPA Foundation’s executive director, believes in the important relationship between the association and the foundation. “Our foundation board is constantly seeking connections and resources to stimulate student interest in our industry. We are fortunate to have generous donors and the assistance of the IAAPA team to develop future leaders for our industry,” Wages emphasizes. “While sharing our passion, Reno Deschaine, IAAPA’s vice president of global professional development, coordinates vital administrative support for the foundation while overseeing IAAPA’s array of educational programs to continue a student’s development once they are working within the industry.”
The IAAPA Foundation is incorporated in the United States as a 501(c)(3) charitable foundation and accepts contributions from individuals, corporations, trusts, and grant-presenting organizations around the world.
- This is the first story in a series about the IAAPA Foundation. Stay tuned for the next installment in Funworld’s September/October issue. Learn more at IAAPAFoundation.org.
- All donations to the IAAPA Foundation support its mission to inspire future attractions industry leaders. U.S. residents can donate to the foundation online at IAAPAFoundation.org or through Amazon Smile, which donates 0.5% of Amazon eligible purchases to the IAAPA Foundation. Visit smile.amazon.com and find the foundation through the name IAAPA Foundation or EIN number 26-4186862. A direct link is available at smile.amazon.com/ch/26-4186862.