Telluride Foundation: Armstrong Scholarship Kick-Off

Telluride Foundation: Armstrong Scholarship Kick-Off

Neil Armstrong, from

Neil Armstrong, from

Telluride Foundation to host “Race for Our Kids” event to kick off Neil Armstrong Scholarship Fund: Regional communities invited to an evening of fun & adventure, featuring “Men in Black 3”

What do regional school districts, science education, Neil Armstrong, and Men in Black 3 have in common?  The Telluride Foundation is inviting families, kids and regional communities to an evening of entertainment, bringing these threads together and launching the “Race for our Kids.”

The goal of the “race” is to kick off a fundraising campaign for the Neil Armstrong Fund and to get students excited about science. The inaugural  event will be held Saturday, September 21, 6:30 p.m. at the Palm Theater in Telluride. The event will feature “Men in Black 3.” The film is  followed by a discussion and question and answer forum with director Barry Sonnenfeld and former NASA Astronaut Dave Scott. Just before the screening, the Pinhead Institute, a local nonprofit that promotes science education, will facilitate a rocket launch activity and program for kids and adults alike, from 5p.m. to 5:45 p.m.

 “The purpose of the Race for our Kids event is to promote STEM education (science, technology, engineering, and math) in all our regional schools and to launch a community fundraising effort for the Neil Armstrong Scholarship Fund,” said Paul Major, President of the Telluride Foundation. “Neil Armstrong was involved in our nation’s ‘Race to the Moon’, so we hope our regional communities will want become involved in another race in his honor, this one to promote and build science, math, and technology education in our schools.”  

The family and friends of Neil Armstrong and the Telluride Foundation created the Neil Armstrong Scholarship to honor the achievements and character of the late American hero and astronaut who died August 25, 2012. The fund consists of a permanent endowment, which will generate funds for scholarships for regional high school graduates pursuing a STEM college degree and will help build the capacity of STEM education in the schools.

The Foundation is seeking to raise $1 million over the next year from individual donors to help grow the endowment. Approximately $800,000 has been spent to date, but additional funds are requested from the community. An anonymous donor has pledged $25,000 as a match for every dollar raised from the community during the MIB3 event.

Barry Sonnenfeld, director of the successful “Men in Black” series will MC the event and introduce the movie, which features the historic Apollo 11 launch and a scene depicting Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins, and Buzz Aldren in their famous flight to the moon. Sonnenfeld, a self-described Neil Armstrong and space fan, has generously arranged for the movie to be shown free of charge. He will also introduce former NASA Astronaut Dave Scott, who made his first flight into space as a pilot of the Gemini 8 mission – along with Neil Armstrong, in March 1966.  Scott was also a pilot aboard Apollo 9, and his third and final flight into space was as commander of the Apollo 15 mission,on which he became the seventh person to walk on the Moon.

“While we are targeting middle school and high school students and families to attend this event,” explained Major, “ but we certainly welcome anyone supportive of the scholarship fund and STEM education. We want to engage our regional communities in a nationwide effort to increase and improve science education. We hope the Telluride region region can be a model for the country.”  

According to the U.S. Department of Education, only 16 percent of American high school seniors are proficient in mathematics and interested in a STEM career. Even among those who do go on to pursue a college major in the STEM fields, only about half choose to work in a related field. The United States is falling behind internationally, ranking 25th in mathematics and 17th in science among industrialized nations.

The Neil Armstrong Fund awarded its first scholarship to a graduating senior this spring. Telluride High School graduate, Slater Aplin, attending Cal Poly and studying electrical engineering, was awarded a $20,000, four-year scholarship in a competitive selection process based on essay, merit, and need. Scholarships will be awarded yearly to a graduating senior pursing a B.S. in STEM.  Eligible students must be from one of the following school districts: Telluride (Telluride and Mountain Schools); Norwood; West End (Naturita, Nucla, and Paradox schools); Ridgway; or Ouray.

Anyone interested in learning more about the Neil Armstrong Scholarship Fund or donating can contact the Telluride Foundation at 970- 728-8717 or go to, and click on the “Funds & Initiatives, Neil Armstrong Fund.”

About the Telluride Foundation:

The Telluride Foundation exists to create a stronger Telluride community through the promotion and support of philanthropy. It is a nonprofit, apolitical community foundation that provides year-round support for local organizations involved in arts, education, athletics, charitable causes, land conservation and other community-based efforts through technical assistance, education and grant making. As a grant maker, the Foundation awards grants to qualified applicants that serve the people living and working in the Telluride area for the purpose of enhancing the quality of life within the region. For more information on the Telluride Foundation, visit


No Comments

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.