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Did you know that more than 40 million Americans are considered low-income or living in poverty? Such people are 206% more likely to be the victims of a violent crime than those with higher incomes. And what’s worse, 30% of the population – or 95 million – live close to poverty. Since the year 2000, we have seen an increase of 384% in the number of people living in extreme poverty in Chicago neighborhoods. Understandably, the levels of frustration and despair among disadvantaged and minority populations are tremendous.


But, there is hope – The success of just one person can effect change and inspire faith in a community. When the cycle of economic hardship is broken once, the results multiply as that one “success story” gives back to his or her neighborhood, family, and friends. This results in the creation of new opportunities for others. A recent study estimates that the addition of just 50 new jobs, held by non-college-educated males in one neighborhood, would reduce the crime rate by 4.4 per 1,000 people. What an opportunity to create lasting change! What’s more – A summer youth jobs program in Chicago resulted in a decrease in violence by 43 percent over 16 months – that’s four fewer violent crimes per person.


Just last month, CNBC reported that “the aviation industry now faces a global shortage of pilots.” A recent Boeing Pilot and Technical Market Outlook forecasts over 637,000 new commercial airline pilots will be needed over the next 20 years. That’s one every 15 minutes! In that time, airlines will purchase 41,000 new planes and need 637,000 new pilots to fly them, according to a forecast from Boeing. This is a window of opportunity. Building on the legacy of the Tuskegee Airmen, Tuskegee NEXT is seizing the moment to enable at-risk youth to pursue careers in the airline industry—and we do it, in part, by teaching them how to fly! We introduce participants to the airline industry through formal flight training, life skills and mentorship collaborations, and educational initiatives.

Here’s Tuskegee NEXT We target young people ages of 16-20 years old, showing them the value of aviation. Participants in the program are part of a summer residential program where they earn their private pilot’s license. Opportunities like these are life changing for the at-risk youth we reach. We offer this at no charge to those who are admitted to the program. Activities include:

FLIGHT TRAINING: Program participants (“Tuskegee Cadets”) receive introductions to flying and the aviation industry, culminating in the Tuskegee Next flight training school.

LIFE SKILLS PROGRAM: Cadets are mentored by successful professionals, exposed to career opportunities, and immersed in community service.

EDUCATIONAL INITIATIVES: Cadets receive help to excel academically.

Goal: cadets complete the program, gaining their pilot’s license and an understanding of opportunities in the airline industry.

Goal: cadets see hope for their futures and develop a desire to serve their neighborhoods and communities.

Goal: cadets are prepared for career success.

Cadet Spotlight

Tyler Thomas

2018 Cadets

Jonathan Dixon

Mya Coley

Faith Little

Jesus Cano


100% Soloed James Simmons

Phar-i Merchant

Channing Gray

Graduation Rate Earned Private Pilot’s Licenses Attending or On Track to Attend College

Seth Walters

Trent Williams

Farilyn Hurt

 Private pilot Tyler Thomas is a 2016 Tuskegee NEXT alumni. Since graduating from our program, Tyler has continued to pursue an aviation career. He just finished a four-month paid internship with B. Coleman Aviation at Gary Airport! During his internship, Tyler learned how to marshal airplanes, studied airplane mechanics, and he mastered the task of parking airplanes. He also had the incredible opportunity to fly a Diamond Airplane. One of his favorite experiences was flying from Sylvania Airiport in Wisconsin to Gary Airport in Illinois.We are very proud of Tyler’s accomplishments and are excited to see what the future has in store.

Our Year In Review Open House

Red Tail Ball

This year’s open house event expanded to two dates because of an increased opportunity to reach more groups of interested youth. We were able to reach over 100 young people and share the value of aviation. Our open houses are a unique experience that allows our cadets in training to give back to the community and teach young people about what they are learning at Tuskegee NEXT. 

We are grateful that the generosity of our annual Red Tail Ball guests, sponsors, volunteers and local businesses made this event a major success. We hosted a sold out crowd of 450 people gathered to support the next generation of pilots. The Red Tail Ball allows us to come together for an evening of generous giving and connecting to those we serve as well as those we want to serve.


We completed our fourth year of programming and graduated more pilots than ever before! Ten candidates entered our program and ten pilots graduated. We added the Red Tail Project to our list of programming, allowing us to reach 6th Grade students in the Chicago public school system with exploratory aviation training during an afterschool programming format.


Our 2018 graduation featured our largest group of graduates yet! It was a great day to celebrate Tuskegee NEXT and the ten graduates. It took place during the Chicago Air and Water Show as the U.S. Air Force’s Thunderbirds flew overhead. What a privilege it is to watch young people enter our program and accomplish something that only 1% of the population has achieved. It is truly life changing for the graduates.

FROM THE CHAIRMAN and Executive Director As we wrap up four years of programming, we are overwhelmed with gratitude for how much Tuskegee NEXT has literally taken off!


Five years ago, a small group came together with a vision of honoring the legacy of the Tuskegee Airmen while helping at-risk youth prepare for aviation careers. At that time, we established a goal of launching 100 pilots over 10 years. Today, we have 32 aviation cadets, 31 solo pilots, and 27 licensed pilots! Additionally, we touch the lives of hundreds of young people yearly through our annual aviation workshops, young eagles rallies, afterschool programs, open houses, and ground schools. Not only are we training young people to be pilots, they are being developed into community leaders who understand the legacy of the Tuskegee Airmen and the responsibility that comes with being a Tuskegee NEXT graduate! The Tuskegee Airmen were the first black military aviators in the United States Army Air Corps, a precursor of the U.S. Air Force. It was an experiment that was expected to fail. However, these distinguished aviators flew more than 15,000 individual sorties in Europe and North Africa during World War II. The bravery and actions of these pioneers opened doors that led to opportunities for generations to come. The graduates of Tuskegee NEXT are not just becoming new pilots, they are the living, breathing embodiment of the Tuskegee Airmen legacy.

Sanura Young Executive Director

What an awesome opportunity we all have in supporting the next generation of pilots trained through Tuskegee NEXT. We have the incredible opportunity to empower talented, driven students who would not otherwise have access to the resources needed to become pilots.

2018 FINANCIALS Foundation: $113,275

Gross Profit: $424,196

Corporation: $72,580

Total Expenses: $451,655 $500,000

And, what excites us the most is that we are just getting started! $375,000


Individual: $238,341 DONATIONS BY DONOR TYPE



Strategic Partners

Financial Partners

We are profoundly grateful to these organizations for partnering with us in our enterprise.

Tuskegee Airmen Chicago “DODO” Chapter


Illinois Aviation Academy

William and Mary Davis Foundation The Domanada Foundation American Airlines CABAA (Chicago Area Business Aviation Association) Fona International Wheaton Bank & Trust Company Beverly Bank & Trust Company

Mendel Ariel Investments Planemasters Elegant Presentations Alpha Graphics Christopher Sveen Popovich Family Trust

Ozinga Walgreens Luke and Megan Slawek Joe and Mary Slawek City Lights Meade Inland Ch2m IAA (Illinois Aviation Academy) Meyers & Flowers Diamond Carpet Services, Inc. BDF (Balasa Dinverno Foltz llc) Infrastructure Engineering JWI (J.A. Watts, Inc) TC Wealth Partners Trust Company of Illinois Kimbark Beverage Shoppe Centurion Investigations and Security Agency

Phil Luetkehans Federico d’Escoto Jacqueline Cambata Heather Bowers Zeb McLaurin Sheri Bradshaw Marqui Jamison Charles Jamison Rod Young Aerostar PMI Energy Solutions Lester Harris George Williams Kapple Jensen

Board of Directors

Will You Join Us? This is where a partnership between you and Tuskegee NEXT comes in!

Stephen Davis (Chairman)

Guido Visconti

Duane Hayden

Johnny Jackson

Founder & President The Will Group, Inc.

COO/Interim Airport Manager Gary Airport

David Larson

Executive Vice President Wintrust Financial Corporation

Luke Slawek

President & Chief Operating Officer FONA International

Montel Gayles

Owner & President Gayles Consulting, P.C.

Rona Fourte

Director, Supplier Diversity Walgreens

Director of Aviation & Chief Pilot Allstate Insurance Company Aviation Engineer Project Manager CH2M HILL Tammera Holmes Founder Aerostar

Bob Wererich

President Illinois Aviation Company

George Williams

CEO PMI Energy Solutions, LLC

With your partnership, the lives of at-risk urban youth can be transformed. Will you join us in working to create this lasting change... and fill the skies with new cadets? This cannot happen without the support of people like you and other visionary entrepreneurs.

Together, let’s build hope into the future.

Honoring the legacy of the Tuskegee Airmen, Tuskegee NEXT transforms the lives of at-risk youth through aviation education and career path opportunities, so they can transform their communities and the future of the skies.

Tuskegee Next P.O. Box 1061 Wheaton, IL. 60187 Visit us at Follow us @TuskegeeNext on Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

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2018 Annual Report | Tuskegee NEXT  

Read our annual report and discover how Tuskegee NEXT transformed the future of flight in 2018. Learn more about our flight training, life...

2018 Annual Report | Tuskegee NEXT  

Read our annual report and discover how Tuskegee NEXT transformed the future of flight in 2018. Learn more about our flight training, life...