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Nonprofit Vision and Mission History

Vision, Mission, Values and Strategic Plans

The nonprofit’s founding paperwork set forth several objectives. Thereafter, the board of directors developed and adjusted specific vision, mission, and values statements to guide the organization’s activities and efforts. The board also from time to time created strategic plans setting forth specific goals and action plans.

The articles of incorporation filed on December 19, 2003, by Friends of the Aviation Museum and Conference Center (AMCC) at the National Flight Interpretive Center (NFIC), described the organization’s purpose as follows:

to “philanthropically support the operation” of the Aviation Museum and Conference Center component of the National Flight Interpretive Center that Snohomish County was developing. Specifically, such support would apply to “the encouragement, enhancement, endowment and support of annual AMCC operations, programs, exhibits and construction at the NFIC through receipt, investment, administration, grant or otherwise of philanthropic and volunteer contributions to the charitable, scientific and or educational purposes of the AMCC at the NFIC.

The articles contemplated the nonprofit would take ownership of “artifacts” as well as receive monetary contributions.

In its September 2004 application to the Internal Revenue Service for tax-exempt status, the organization described its planned activities, including the following:

1)To house, maintain, display, restore, reconstruct and interpret the impact on our culture of historic, contemporary and future aircraft, their replica, hardware, manuals, periodicals, music, tapes, pictures, photographs, films, tools, plans, engineering drawings, models, memorabilia and related items. The Foundation will focus its activities primarily at the site of the National Flight Interpretive Center in Snohomish County in Washington State.

2)To educate the public, young and old, in the heritage and science, mathematics, art and technological implications of unique, historic, contemporary and future aircraft by focusing on their history, hardware, construction, capabilities and memorabilia. This will be accomplished through displays, demonstrations, tours, seminars, visual and performing arts, which illustrate the history, construction, restoration and reconstruction of aircraft.

3)To select throughout each year aircraft projects and programs for public engagement, display, demonstration and/or interpretation, as well as appropriate qualified personnel, including but not limited to docents, to facilitate these activities. By promoting public access to these activities the Foundation will receive favorable publicity and will be able to share through aircraft exhibits and interpretation, a heritage which will educate more members of the public on the impact of aviation in our culture.

These two early statements of the organization’s purposes still contained the history element that was central to the Museum of Flight’s original concept for the Paine Field facility. But the 2004 statement also listed education of the public about “contemporary and future aircraft,” which was consistent with the future-focused mission embraced by the project partners in December 2004 when they adopted the facility’s new official name: Future of Flight Aviation Center & Boeing Tour.

On November 1, 2013 the Foundation filed articles of amendment and restated articles of incorporation that highlight the organization’s public education mission. Article III - Purposes and Powers was revised. Section 1 describes the county’s ownership of the Future of Flight Aviation Center & Boeing Tour and the Foundation’s role as “operator.” Section 2 - Purposes now reads:

The Corporation is organized to philanthropically support the operations of the Future of Flight Aviation Center & Boeing Tour, as well as provide the public with aviation-related exhibits and educational programs. Such support is to be for one or more of the qualified purposes at Future of Flight Foundation as specified in Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, including without limitation: the encouragement, enhancement, endowment and support of annual Future of Flight operations, programs, exhibits and construction through receipt, investment, administration, grant or otherwise of philanthropic and volunteer contributions to the charitable, scientific and or educational purpose of Future of Flight Foundation.

The nonprofit’s education emphasis was crystalized in a mission statement adopted in 2006:

  • Evoke inspirational aviation experiences,
  • Expose unique windows on aviation through the only tour of airliner assembly in North America,
  • Create a nexus for the appreciation of aviation’s global impact on our personal lives, and
  • Generate community pride in Washington State’s contribution to expanding aviation.

At its March 2, 2006 meeting, the board of directors refined the mission statement to emphasize fostering innovation:

The Future of Flight educates, entertains and engages our global community to inspire innovation.

A revision by the board at its February 15, 2007 meeting clarified the aspiration of imparting the marvels of commercial aviation progress:

Future of Flight – the world’s premier venue for connecting people’s lives to innovations of commercial aviation.

In its 2007 annual report, the foundation more fully laid out its vision of itself and its broad objectives, again giving center stage to innovation.


The Future of Flight Foundation gives wings to innovative thinking.


The Future of Flight Foundation highlights aviation and creates experiences that engage and immerse participants to:

Cultivate curiosity

Stimulate imagination

Encourage creativity and experimentation

Generate collaboration

Explore solutions


Welcoming: We provide a friendly and inviting atmosphere.

Inclusive: We honor all perspectives, disciplines, cultures, and thinking.

Spontaneous: We are open to change and to ideas emerging through fun.

Optimistic: We believe in the human potential to create a better tomorrow.

The foundation’s 2012 annual report modified the mission and vision statements, the latter specifically setting forth an emphasis on the STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) topics around which the organization had started to build its student education programs.


To be the leading center of learning and innovation for science, technology and aviation.


We inspire lifelong learning and innovation in science, technology, engineering and math through engaging exhibits and programs.

At its February 1, 2013, meeting, the board reaffirmed the existing vision and mission statements, and adopted a revised statement of values.


Partnerships – We work collaboratively toward common goals.

Respect – We value all perspectives, disciplines, cultures and ideas.

Integrity – We keep our promises and operate with the highest ethical standards.

Dedication – Vision and mission drive our work.

Excellence – We hold ourselves accountable to the highest level of performance.

These vision, mission and values statements continued to guide the organization through 2015.

In 2008 the board of directors formalized the following strategic objectives:

Enhance the Visitor Experience –

  • Gallery: create an event plan (also for the Strato Deck); incorporate the Vision into a gallery master plan, rewrite interpretation of current exhibits, create and enhance guided gallery tours, develop two prototype exhibits.
  • Education: add skilled members to the Education Committee, complete Phase II of the Education program, create a document for K-12 self-guided classes, research hosting an educational event in the gallery.
  • Catering: identify preferred caterers, install new café operator, up-sell event capabilities (audio visual, décor, etc.), expand event client base (e.g., weddings, social clubs), improve ability to host aircraft delivery events.

Grow Revenue –

  • Earned: sell “Go Seattle” and “Paine Field Passes” for local attractions (gaining a sales commission), increase “shoulder period” paid attendance, work with The Boeing Company to expand peak period tour capacity, implement “Foundation Day” to educate the public about the Foundation (proceeds to go to the Foundation).
  • Granted: apply for a variety of grants.
  • Contributed: identify specific goals and potential donation sources.

Refine Governance –

  • Grow capacity of leadership and advisory resources.
  • Update operator agreement with the County.

On January 14, 2009 the Future of Flight Foundation’s board adopted a formal 2009--2013 strategic plan. It was designed “as a road map to guide the Board and Staff in ensuring the Foundation is successful in achieving its vision and mission.” The board devised the plan’s goals, and the Foundation’s staff determined the specific objectives and tactics for achieving those goals. Among the plan’s components were the following:

  • Strategic Goal: Establish partnerships to increase public awareness, provide opportunities for funding, increase collaboration and promote innovative thinking.

Outcome: Increase number and quality of partnerships.

Desired partners included transportation industry companies (not limited to aviation firms), the Federal Aviation Administration, the International Air Transport Association, the University of Washington, Purdue University, and other engineering schools.

  • Strategic Goal: Create a footprint and access to facilities that support expansion of programs.

Outcome: Footprint and facility will make the center for innovation a reality.

Specific objectives included promoting access via public transportation, making facility improvements, creating outdoor exhibit and demonstration spaces, refreshing and updating gallery exhibits, creating a “virtual presence” (e.g., a website with an online tour of the facility and distance learning capability), and creating a “center for innovation” by working with a nearby university branch campus, with other higher learning institutions and with corporate research centers.

  • Strategic Goal: Provide inspiring, innovative education programs.

Outcome: Successful middle school education program that includes classroom, Future of Flight on-site and virtual experiences, as well as development of an adult program.

Specific objectives included a new “Flights of Innovation” middle school program starting in 2009, an adult education program starting in 2013, and facilitating international student programs focused on innovative thinking on aviation issues.

  • Strategic Goal: Provide innovative, interactive, state of the art exhibits that give wings to innovative thinking.

Outcome: A visit to FoF Gallery will inspire innovative thinking to visitors of all ages.

Specific objectives included development of short- and long-range exhibit plans, obtaining new exhibits, continual refinement and updating of a “total gallery experience” focusing on the message each exhibit provides to visitors, and development of a tool to measure success in obtaining these objectives.

The plan also included goals and objectives concerning effective Foundation governance, generating sustainable income streams, being an outstanding facility operator for the county and The Boeing Company, and being a “fair and desirable employer.”

On September 18, 2014 the board approved a 2014-2017 strategic plan, which set forth four priorities:

  1. Expanding the capacity to provide financial assistance to students, schools and nonprofits for participation in the organization’s STEAM educational programs.
  2. Adopting new board governance policies, especially to support the new fundraising objectives; enhancing the Emeritus Advisory Board’s ability to support the organization’s objectives.
  3. Expanding fundraising capacity and increasing revenues.
  4. Strengthening the visibility and “brand identity” of the organization, including adopting a new name.

Each priority is supported by specific action plans, and their results will be tracked and measured.

The directors also reaffirmed a commitment to continuous updating of the Gallery’s exhibits and activities as well as working with The Boeing Company to expand and enhance its Tour experience.