At the Aldrin Family Foundation, we are driven to create the next generation of space leaders, entrepreneurs and explorers … the visionaries who will eventually take humankind beyond the confines of the Earth and the Moon, but to farther destinations, including Mars. Founded in 2016, our organization continues the scientific and technical legacy of a true explorer – Apollo 11 Astronaut Dr. Buzz Aldrin – and his lifelong devotion to human space exploration.
Feeding the Workforce Pipeline
We focus our time and resources to fund STEAM-based educational tools, curriculum, scholarships and programs that help ignite passion for science, technology, engineering, arts and math across a vertical pathway – starting with the youngest of students through college to working professionals. This unique structure ensures we have the trained and talented workforce to get humans to Mars.
Our efforts fall into three priorities:
- Ignite Innovation (K-12) – ShareSpace Foundation introduces students to the planet Mars through our Giants Mars Map. Teachers receive curriculum to use with the maps that engages kids through hands-on experiments. The tool becomes a platform for sparking creativity in kids while they sit, stand, walk, play and learn together. And their eyes are opened to the amazing opportunities that lie ahead in this new world of space exploration.
- Next-Generation Leaders (university level) – We help sponsor university-level students to participate in accredited, interdisciplinary, undergraduate space studies programs. We also offer merit-based scholarships for the students pursuing graduate programs in space studies at the International Space University Center for Space Entrepreneurship (ISU-CSE) at the Florida Institute of Technology. ISU-CSE assembles students from diverse intellectual and geographical backgrounds into teams to develop innovative space concepts and businesses, supported by current industry players and investment capital.
- Continuing the Legacy (professionals) – The Aldrin Family Foundation supports the Aldrin Space Institute, which was created to advance space exploration and development toward one day having a permanent human presence on Mars (one of Dr. Buzz’s Aldrin’s greatest visions). The Institute hosts workshops, performs technical analyses, publishes research and much more toward reaching this goal. In addition, AFF is using the Apollo 50th anniversary (along with a signature gala) to honor Buzz’s space achievements during this era and to advocate for the continued development and commercialization of space exploration.
Since January 2018, we have provided more than $1 million to support education programs spanning kindergarten through university levels. The majority of these resources have gone to support underserved children in primary schools throughout the U.S. Other impacts include:
- Endowing $250,000 to the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation to create an annual $10,000 scholarship. Known as the Aldrin Family Scholar, the financial award will be bestowed upon an undergraduate student who is excelling toward a STEM degree, but is looking to complement his/her studies with additional focus in creative arts, business and/or law.
- Supporting several faculty and graduate students at the Aldrin Space Institute and at Purdue University who are working on Earth/Mars cycling trajectories, vehicle architectures and Mars sustainability.
- Enabling the creation of the International Space University Center for Space Entrepreneurship and Commerce , where we will be training the next generation of leaders in the commercial space revolution.
As we celebrate the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11 and man’s first steps on the Moon, we will soon launch several global initiatives that will use the excitement of space exploration to motivate and inspire a whole new generation of space advocates.