Giving Back to Our Communities in 2023
January 9, 2024
In 2023, we were honored to partner with several organizations that focused on investing in aviation, education and the youth, families and local communities surrounding our national campuses.
“A leader, whether an individual or a company, serves by example,” said Zean Nielsen, Chief Executive Officer of Cirrus Aircraft. “Supporting community organizations is important to us and helps lay the foundation for a strong aviation community for years ahead.”
Highlighted below are a few of the many incredible organizations we had the privilege to support in 2023.
The National Aviation Hall of Fame
Cirrus Aircraft supports the National Aviation Hall of Fame and its regional chapters such as the Minnesota Aviation Hall of Fame (MAHOF). MAHOF honors Minnesotans involved in aviation by preserving and telling their member’s stories to provide inspiration to others.
A key member of MAHOF is our very own Dale E. Klapmeier, who co-founded Cirrus Aircraft in 1984. Dale was inducted into MAHOF in 2022 and was featured in a mini-documentary published this year to honor his achievements and contributions to the personal aviation industry:
In the documentary, Dale shared one of his key life philosophies: “Follow your dream, whatever it is,” said Dale. “Go at it as hard as you can and see where it takes you.”
This philosophy ultimately led Dale to develop and continuously innovative the SR Series, the world’s best-selling, high-performance, single-engine piston aircraft now recognized for over two decades in a row.
Women in Aviation International and Girls in Aviation Day
We continue to support the Women in Aviation International (WAI) and Girls in Aviation (GIA) Day whose mission is to increase the number of women involved in all aspects of aviation and aerospace. They achieve this mission by providing service and support to their members throughout their aviation journey.
Supporting WAI/GIA is a special passion to Cirrus Aircraft.
Laura Henry, our Executive Director, HR Business Partner of Cirrus Aircraft said, “We wish to make women more aware of the many opportunities they have in aviation and aerospace. It is an expansive field where they can follow their passion.”
Each year, we exhibit at the Women in Aviation National Conference, which features inspiring keynote speakers, professional development seminars, education sessions, an exhibit hall and much more. In 2023, we sent over 20 leaders across three of our U.S. locations to represent Cirrus Aircraft (banner image).
Cirrus representatives lead a panel at the Women in Aviation National Conference 2023
These team members also helped support Girls in Aviation Day, a yearly event where WAI chapters host GIA members at different locations to raise awareness of opportunities available in the field. In 2023, we supported regional chapters in Minnesota and Texas. Additionally, for the Texas chapter, we funded an education and training scholarship which was awarded to a WAI member pursuing a career in the aviation and aerospace field.
Cirrus Aircraft at Girls in Aviation Day
“Women in Aviation and Girls in Aviation allows us to support, invest and grant opportunities to women in the aviation and aerospace field. Our vision and passion are to continue to grow that support in the years to come,” said Henry.
Second Harvest and Toys for Tots
The Veterans at Cirrus Aircraft CAPS (Cirrus Aircraft Prior Service), continue to lead the support of two invaluable charities: Second Harvest and Toys for Tots.
Second Harvest Food Bank of East Tennessee’s mission is to serve over 230,000 East Tennesseans facing hunger across 18 counties in East Tennessee. Second Harvest works with over 600 partners including pantries, community centers, churches and schools to achieve this mission.
Toys for Tot’s mission is to collect new unwrapped toys and distribute those toys to less fortunate children at Christmas. Through this, the charity seeks to bring the joy of Christmas to families.
Barrels filled with food for Second Harvest readied for pick up
Robert Boone, an Administrative Specialist at Cirrus Aircraft and CAPS member who oversees the drives, explained that during the holiday season collection centers were placed at locations across the Knoxville campus. The response was generous with multiple barrels of food gathered and multiple boxes filled with toys.
“The response of our employees to support and contribute to our Toys for Tots and Second Harvest Food drives continues to amaze,” noted Boone. “We were able to significantly increase our donation amounts this year from last due to impressive employee contribution.”
Boxes of toys collected by Cirrus Aircraft are transferred to Toys for Tots
The Boys and Girls Club of the Northland
A yearly initiative at our headquarters in Duluth, Minnesota has been to support the Boys and Girls Club of the Northland – an organization whose mission is “to empower and inspire all young people, especially those who need us the most.” They do this in a variety of ways including mentoring programs, activities and education scholarships.
Bobbie Nielsen, Executive Director, Supply Chain – Materials & Planning of Cirrus Aircraft oversees the effort to support the Boys and Girls Club of the Northland.
“The Boys and Girls Club of the Northland helps young people to obtain their full potential,” said Nielsen. “They work tirelessly to reach every young person that enters their doors.”
Nielsen explained that a key fundraiser of the club is an annual gala of which Cirrus Aircraft is a sponsor. Guests of the gala hear stories from Northland youth of how the Boys and Girls Club was instrumental in changing their lives.
The 2023 gala (Image: Boys and Girls Club of the Northland)
The Boys and Girls Club also served as important pipeline to find candidates for another vital initiative that Nielsen oversees – an adopt a family program that provided gifts to less fortunate families in the local community for Christmas.
The Christmas tree posters with ornaments containing gift requests
Posters of Christmas trees were placed in Cirrus Aircraft’s break rooms and written on the ornaments of the trees were gift requests submitted by local community families. Cirrus Aircraft employees participated by selecting an ornament and donating a gift. Every request ended up being fulfilled.
Any unwrapped gifts were wrapped at a Cirrus Aircraft led wrap party
“The overwhelming response of our team reminded me of the incredible things that can be accomplished when people come together for a common cause,” reflected Nielsen.
There is joy that comes by serving others – whether it be providing a meal to someone hungry, awarding an educational opportunity, helping support an aviation career path or simply granting a child their Christmas gift wish. By working together and partnering with amazing organizations we were able to serve those needs and make a difference in our world.
Cirrus Aircraft proudly supported the following organizations in 2023: