Astronaut Scholarship Foundation Inc.
651 Danville Drive, Suite 101
Orlando FL 32825-0001
Contact Information
Address 651 Danville Drive, Suite 101
Orlando, FL 32825 0001
Phone (407) 362-7900
Web and Social Media
Donate with a credit card
Mission To aid the United States in retaining its world leadership in technology and innovation by supporting the very best and brightest scholars in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics while commemorating the legacy of America’s pioneering astronauts.
CEO/Executive Director Tammy Sudler
Board Chair Dan Brandenstein
Board Chair Company Affiliation Astronaut, Shuttle
IRS Ruling Year 1985
Former Names
Mercury Seven Foundation1995
Financial Summary
Revenue vs Expense Bar Graph
Projected Revenue $1,570,000.00
Projected Expenses $1,750,000.00
Mission To aid the United States in retaining its world leadership in technology and innovation by supporting the very best and brightest scholars in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics while commemorating the legacy of America’s pioneering astronauts.

In 2016, the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation achievements included:

  1.  Awarded and recognized forty Astronaut Scholars that includes the following benefits: 
    • Scholarships valued up to $10,000 each
    • C-level or astronaut mentor
    • Internship opportunity with companies that recognize their accomplishments
    • Networking opportunities
  2. The Innovative Leaders Mentor Program has forty-two active relationships; resulting in connections to private investors.
  3.  In conjunction with  fifteen partnering universities, presented education seminars to more than 6000 middle school through college age students. The education seminars focused on life skills (leadership, team work, perseverance, etc.) and how they are vital in the success of STEM.
  4. Completed a Board of Director's retreat resulting in a new 2017-2019 strategic plan. 
  5. Through the advocacy efforts of ASF supporters, astronauts and scholars, the Apollo 11 50th Anniversary Commemorative Coin was passed into law in December 2016. ASF is one of three beneficiaries of the surcharges from the coin that will go on sale in 2019. 
For 2017, ASF's goals include the following:
  1. Increasing the number of Astronaut Scholars to forty-five during the 2017-18 academic year.
  2. Develop and implement the new Professional Development program that will provide valuable coaching and training for scholars professional career paths.
  3. Hosting the inaugural Innovators Weekend & Gala featuring the Neil Armstrong Award of Excellence. This weekend will bring all the incoming Astronaut Scholars to D.C. for corporate tours, networking and award recognition. ASF will also recognize an Astronaut Scholar alum who has excelled in their professional career and had a significant impact on America.  
Independent Research has been conducted on this organization's theory of change or program effectiveness? No

As an organization, ASF has the following top five needs in no particular order of importance:

 Volunteers to serve on program and special event committees for activities locally and nationwide.

  1. Annual and restricted funding for the Scholarship Program($335,000); Mentor Program ($15,000); Innovators Gala & Weekend ($100,000)
  2. Endowment funding to ensure sustainability of the Astronaut Scholarship Program for years to come.
  3. Skilled web designers and writers to provide in-kind support to enhance ASF's web presence and online education.


Background The Astronaut Scholarship Foundation (ASF) was originally established in 1984 as the Mercury Seven Foundation. The six surviving members of the Mercury Seven astronauts: Scott Carpenter, Gordon Cooper, John Glenn, Walter Schirra, Alan Shepard, and Deke Slayton founded the organization with the goal of using their joint credibility to encourage students to pursue scientific endeavors to keep America on the leading edge of technology.


Together with Betty Grissom (widow of the seventh Mercury Astronaut, Virgil “Gus” Grissom), William Douglas, M.D. (the Project Mercury flight surgeon), and Henri Landwirth, an Orlando businessman and friend of the astronauts, the Foundation formulated scholarships for students that excelled in the area of science. In 1986, the Foundation awarded seven scholarships in honor of the Mercury 7 in the amount of $1,000 each. 

Today, the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation awards top students merit-based scholarships up to $10,000 who excel in their fields of STEM education at participating universities. ASF has awarded more than $4 million and has an active alumni that continues to pay it forward to the next generation in multiple ways.
CEO Statement

The Astronaut Scholarship Foundation (ASF) is truly unique in several regards. ASF was started by America's Heroes and continues to be led by astronauts who define innovation, exploration and entrepreneurial spirit. They instill these values and an expectation for greatness in the college students who become Astronaut Scholars.

Unlike other organizations that provide scholarships, the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation maintains a life-long engagement with the Astronaut Scholars. A 1987 scholar serves as the Vice-Chair for the Foundation while scholars from 1986 thru 2016 participate in the various programs. Additionally, philanthropy and the "give-back" mentality is instilled from the moment the scholar receives the award. Since 2009, scholars have given back more than $150,000 to help fund the next generation of Astronaut Scholars and many alumni volunteer on a local level in STEM activities.

Board Chair Statement
We look forward to new challenges as we continue to grow and expand our programs.  Over the past few years, we have increased the number of Astronaut Scholars, participating universities, and our program offerings to provide a resource and impact throughout their lifetime.  These milestones reflect multiple years of growth for ASF’s mission. Our newest “Scholars” are pursuing degrees in mathematics, optics, engineering, aerospace and many other scientific fields. In spending time with them, we know they will go on to achieve great things for our country. ASF also inspired and educated more than 6,000 elementary/high school students and members of the general public about the achievements and value of space exploration. We believe it is important to continue to inspire and guide these young Americans as they continue their journeys. 
This past year, ASF focused on the scholars and the core programming aspects. I am pleased and excited by the continue evolution of the programs that have a tremendous impact on the scholars who can and will lead the innovation for America. With much success for the mission, we worked with outside experts to train, educate, and evolve the thinking of the Directors. The goal is to ensure that ASF is always looking ahead over the next 5 -10 years in terms of impact and ensuring we have the "right" people and ideas in place to achieve what we set out to accomplish.
Serving as the Board Chair while ASF has grown and evolved has been my personal desire since becoming the Chair in 2013. I am pleased at what we have accomplished in a short time and look forward to the direction we are moving.  
NTEE Information
Primary Organization Type Education
Primary Organization SubType Scholarships & Student Financial Aid
Secondary Organization Type Science & Technology
Secondary Organiztion SubType Engineering
Tertiary Organization Type Education
Tertiary Organization SubType Undergraduate Colleges
Areas Served
Geographic Areas Served
KS - Lawrence

 ASF works with partnering universities throughout the United States. The universities must meet certain criteria for consideration which includes being highly ranked amongst top schools providing STEM undergraduate programs and offering research opportunities for undergraduates.

Additionally, through the diversity of the internet, adults and students everywhere are able to access the history told first hand of space flight through our website. Several programs and educational seminars are held throughout the year to provide a glimpse into the past space programs, the future of space and innovation, and a chance to learn from our scholars what new frontiers are being explored.

HelpWhat is the organization aiming to accomplish? This is the organization's ultimate goal for intended impact.

Since the inception of the Foundation in 1984, Astronauts have inspired America's youth to become explorers, entrepreneurs, researchers, scientists and engineers. The science and technology fields are critical to the success of America for the long-term. To date, ASF has played a role in this effort through educational events and lectures and by awarding prestigious merit-based scholars.

As ASF looks at the next 3 years, the goals are as follows:

Goal 1: Be the nation’s leading merit-based scholarship for upper level undergraduate engineering and science students who are U.S. citizens.

Goal 2: Provide development and enrichment opportunities for Astronaut Scholars to engage with industry leaders and enhance their professional careers.

Goal 3: Recognize outstanding accomplishments and achievements of Astronaut Scholar alumni.

Goal 4:

Establish relationships, provide access, and facilitate opportunities for Astronaut Scholars to present their inventions, business plans, proposed ventures, research proposals, and other ideas and initiatives to potential investors and supporters.

Goal 5: Develop metrics to measure the effectiveness of each program and return on investment.



3. Recognize outstanding achievements and accomplishments of our Astronaut Scholars.
4. Develop metrics to measure the effectiveness of the programs and return on investments.
To date, our Astronaut Scholar Alumni have more than 80 patents and published more than 850 papers.  


2. Implement and execute a fully robust Innovative Leader Mentor Program utilizing astronauts, executive leadership and scholar alumni. The focus of the program is to continue the scholar's workforce development and guidance needed for success post graduation.
3. Provide education and inspiration to the general public, with an emphasis on STEM, using the astronauts and Astronaut Scholars as advocates.
The impact we have on our scholars is shared by a 2011 recipient Zoe H.:

"I received my award in 2011 while I was an undergraduate at Miami University of Ohio where I studied Zoology & French. Currently, I am working towards my PhD. in Neuroscience at The Ohio State University where I research the role of innate stem cells in repair after spinal cord injury. On the side, I also work as a scientific consultant for a variety of biotechnology investors and start-ups in Ohio and New York. My most recent project is helping to develop a start-up company that will offer a suite of mobile applications to assist in the fine motor skill rehabilitation of stroke victims.

 It is absolutely no exaggeration to say that I would not be where I am today, and I would not have such a vision for my future, if it were not for ASF. I have received outstanding mentorship from both ASF alumni and staff, and each person with whom I’ve interacted has taught me a life lesson that has directly contributed to my success. ASF is more than just a scholarship – it is a life-changing network of individuals who help each other, in order to better help the world. "

To date, our scholar alumni have more than 40 patents created and published more than 850 papers. We look to continue to increase these numbers in the years to come and have scholars in key innovative positions across STEM fields. 
HelpWhat are the organization's strategies for its stated long-term goals?
To accomplish these goals, ASF has strategically identified benchmarks for defining success. The overarching focus for achieving these goals started with ensuring ASF has the proper staffing structure and professional staff to achieve the goals outlined. The tactical strategies to achieve success include the following:
  • Working closely with university liaisons to identify "best practice" methods
  • Increasing corporate partners providing mentors and internship opportunities
  • Developing an interactive website and educational tools
  • Developing and implementing necessary programs to facilitate lifelong support
  • Developing and implementing the new Innovators Weekend & Gala featuring the Neil Armstrong Award of Excellence 

We believe these types of strategies will serve the Astronaut Scholars well in their careers, will provide support and connections for the scholars as they continue their path and provide them with an opportunity to engage and support future Astronaut Scholars for years to come. The Astronaut Scholars are the astronauts' legacy.

HelpWhat are the organization’s capabilities for doing this? What resources, capacities, and connections support its progress towards long-term goals?

We have 35 partnering universities who are active in helping to achieve the merit-based process for scholar selections. We have expertise from academia, entrepreneurs, private investors, and industry leaders that volunteer to shape our programs, provide support and the guidance to be successful.

With the passage of the Comemorative Coin into law, ASF has the opportunity to raise $3million to match the surcharge amount of approximately $3million. These funds are restricted to the scholar programs and will help ensure that ASF is able to provide the support for Astronaut Scholars for years to come. The support of our corporate partners and individual donors is crucial to the short-term success as well. Some of our corporate partnerships include: Jacobs, 3M, Vencore, Engility, Lockheed Martin,  Wreyford Foundation, Texas Mason's/ Tranquility Lodge, Delaware North, and Kennedy Space Center Visitor's Complex. Their support and relationships help to advance the mission.

At the heart of our organization are the astronauts and the individuals involved with ASF. We employ thirteen staff that are dedicated to supporting our scholars and providing opportunities for the general public to learn, question and be inspired. We have more than 100 astronauts from every space program supporting ASF in various ways, as well as more than 200 scholar alumni who are still active in some capacity in giving back.

As we continue into the next three years, ASF will continue to garner partnerships across the country that will provide opportunities to inspire the next generation while supporting the scholars of today. 
HelpHow will the organization know if it is making progress? What are the key qualitative and quantitative indicators against which the organization assesses its progress toward its intended impact?

ASF continues to track and document each scholar's progress through the years to demonstrate the impact of the Scholarship Program. New metrics are being put in place including surveys to evaluate the programs being delivered to ensure ASF is providing education that is useful, necessary, and not a duplication. We will be tracking the number of internships offered, job placement, innovative collaborations and other networking benefits that have transpired from the various programs.

ASF will keep track of the number of students and general public that participate in lectures, educational events and online educational video postings.

HelpWhat has and hasn’t been accomplished so far?

We are increasing the number of partnering universities from 35 to 40 and increasing the number of scholarships from 40 to 45. This increase has allowed for the opportunity to grow the number of volunteers involved in our Scholar Selection Committee and provide deeper engagement opportunities.

 The Innovative Leader Mentor Program began as a "pilot" project in 2014 with 27 relationships and has grown to more than 40 today.

We are launching our Professional Development Program this year in New York with the support of RBC (Royal Bank of Canada as our partner). Scholars will have an opportunity to participate in at least six Professional Development Series during the course of the year. 

More than 40 prestigious merit-based scholarships are awarded annually across the country to the top undergraduate upperclassmen at participating universities. Each scholarship recipient receives financial support up to $10,000 to offset the cost of tuition, housing, or research conferences.

The criteria and selection process for the scholarship is extremely vigorous. ASF partners with some of the top STEM universities in the country, including UCF,  and nominees must be nominated by their faculty. The universities have an internal review board that screens at least eight nominees and provides ASF with the top two. ASF has an internal Scholar Selection Committee comprised of astronauts, academia, and scholar alumni who select the top one to award at each university. In addition to having top grades, students are reviewed on their current research in selected field, innovation, creativity, ambition, and leadership.
Working with universities, students receive their scholarship awards at their university from an astronaut during an education seminar that is open to the student body, surrounding schools, and general public. To date, ASF has awarded more than $4 million in scholarships.
Population Served US
Long Term SuccessHelpOrganizations describe the ultimate change(s) that will result from this program. This may be far into the future and represent an ideal state. The long term change will be ASF's role a in assisting the brightest individuals in science and engineering to reach a point in their careers where they are able to have significant affects on innovation and exploration. Our vision is to continue their professional development and network beyond providing the inspiration and encouragement through the Scholarship Program.
Description The Astronaut Scholarship Foundation awards the best and brightest STEM students in the nation. These great minds and vast talent could be limited if the right outlets are not found or the path-changing doors not opened. The transition from school to professional future endeavors is often a rocky one and our available mentor pool of talent overflows with successful business and industry leaders as well as the scholar alumni who have successfully launched their life’s quest into the professional realm. The insight passed from mentor to mentee will propel these scholars in the right direction to fully recognize and utilize their world-changing potential.

The structure of the Mentor Leadership initiative is based on the knowledge and wisdom shared in order to promote successful researchers, professionals and world changers. Age and experience fuel the mentor in advising and steering the up-and-coming professional with knowledge and wisdom that only time and that past experience can provide. Through this program, we offer the opportunity to build peer support, friendships, courses on professional development and guidance to help the students become successful professionals. At a minimum, the pair communicates monthly for one year that typically includes guidance for transition into workforce, networking connections and feedback offered by the “seasoned” executive, astronaut or astronaut scholar. The impact the Astronaut Scholarship has on the students starts with the monetary award and continues into their careers and beyond as contacts are made, professional pathways followed and successes are reached; this is paid forward/given back as the mentees become the new mentors.

Population Served
Description The Professional Development Program is a new initiative that is designed to continue to assist the Astronaut Scholars in advancing their career path. A minimum of four topics are offered annually to the scholars and include the topics they have identified as relevant to their success. The topics include: Soft Skills for the Workplace, What They Don't Teach You in Engineering School, Becoming a Leader, Entrepreneurship and other topics related to the workforce.
Population Served
Description In 2017, ASF will host the inaugural Innovators Weekend & Gala featuring the Neil Armstrong Award of Excellence in Washington, D.C. All incoming 2017/2018 Astronaut Scholars will be flown to the Nation's capital for three days of networking with leaders, attending corporate tours in various industries, attend Professional Development programs and receive their awards and recognition for their American Heroes. An Astronaut Scholar Alum will be recognized for his/her innovation and accomplishments in their field. The Armstrong family will present the Neil Armstrong Award of Excellence to the alum.
Population Served US
Other Named Groups
Berkeley University
Mississippi State University
University of Massachusetts
Colorado State 
Population Served
CEO Comments As ASF continues to increase the number of Astronaut Scholars, it is important to provide the scholars with experiences that may impact their future professional course in life. Through the relationship with ASF as an Astronaut Scholar, relationships with the astronauts and supporters, the door can be opened for a scholar that may help advance their work, career, or even find a private investor for their start up. The new initiatives are built with an understanding that these merit-based scholars are the legacy of the astronauts and game-changers of tomorrow. At ASF, we are here to support, inspire, and connect them along the way.
Board Chair
Board Chair Dan Brandenstein
Company Affiliation Astronaut, Shuttle
Term May 2014 to June 2017
Board Co-Chair
Board Co-Chair Lisa Schott
Company Affiliation Quietly Making Noise
Term Start May 2014 June 2017
Board Members
NameCompany AffiliationsStatusCertificate*
John Blaha Astronaut, ShuttleVoting
Larry Bradley Space Telescope Science InstituteVoting
Dan Brandenstein Astronaut, ShuttleVoting
Curt Brown SuncountryVoting
Richard Covey Astronaut, ShuttleVoting
Charlie Duke Astronaut, ApolloVoting
Chris Ferguson BoeingVoting
Richard Gordon Astronaut, ApolloVoting
Fred Gregory Astronaut, ShuttleVoting
Joseph Han Lawrence Livermore National LabVoting
Rick Hauck Astronaut, ShuttleVoting
Jeff Hoffman Massachusettes Institute of TechnologyVoting
Captain James Lovell Astronaut, Gemini & ApolloVoting
Michael Neukamm Grey RobinsonVoting
Charles Precourt Orbital ATKVoting
Lisa Schott Quietly Making NoiseVoting
Brewster Shaw Astronaut, Shuttle
Kathryn Thorton University of VirginiaVoting
Al Worden AstronautVotingNo
*This individual has been awarded a Certificate in Orientation to Board Service by the Edyth Bush Institute for Philanthropy & Nonprofit Leadership at Rollins College,
Board Term Lengths 1
Board Term Limits 0
Board Ethnicity
Asian American/Pacific Islander 1
Caucasian 17
Hispanic/Latino 0
Native American/American Indian 0
Other 0
Written Board Selection Criteria No
Written Conflict of Interest Policy Yes
Percentage of Monetary Contributions 100%
Percentage of In-Kind Contributions 100%
Constituency Includes Client Representation Yes
Standing Committees
Standing Committees
Committee Name
Advisory Board / Advisory Council
Additional Board/s Members and Affiliations
Advisory Board
NameCompany Affiliation
Rick Armstrong Astronaut Son
Ann Brown
Ed Buckbee Retired
Patty Carpenter Founder's widow
Laura Shepard Churchley Founder's Daughter
Vincent Cimino RCB
Suzi Cooper Founder's widow
Walt Cunningham Apollo Astronaut
Bill Dana
Richard Garriott
Robert "Hoot" Gibson Astronaut
Tom Hanks Actor
Seth Jonas
Jarret Lafleur Sandia Labs
Henri Landwirth Founder
James Long
Dr. James Mault Qualcomm
Lawrence McGlynn McGlynn, Clinton, and Hall Insurance
Harvey Al Miller Retired
Dirk Raemdonck Retired
General Thomas Stafford Gemini Astronaut
Carol Tyler Conrad Foundation
CEO/Executive Director
CEO/Executive Director Tammy Sudler
Term Start Oct 2013
Experience Mrs. Sudler has more than a decade of experience leading organizational growth for non-profit start-ups, developing major gift campaigns, and cultivating successful community outreach strategies. Mrs. Sudler gained her work experience with national organizations, local mid-size non-profits, and by leading a start-up organization. She utilizes her skills to continue expanding the impact on people with an interest in STEM education.
CEO Salary Range $100,001 - $125,000
Number of Full Time Staff 12
Number of Part Time Staff 0
Number of Volunteers 200
Number of Contract Staff 0
Staff Retention Rate 50%
Senior Staff
Title Finance & Operations Director
Title Program Director
Experience/Biography  Nicole Russ is the Program Director for the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation. She has been with ASF for 7 years, hiring on as a special events manager in charge of program events and fundraising efforts and then promoted to Program Director. She is responsible for all business and communications with all ASF partnering universities and is in charge of all scholar relations, as well as facilitating and overseeing the scholarship award process. Nicole is responsible for engaging in new academic partnerships, fostering current relationships, developing new education outreach programs and interfacing with other national education organizations. She is an active member of the National Space Club as well as the Orlando STEM Council Prior to working for the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation, Nicole served as a Camp Counselor for Space Camp. 
Title EVP of External Affairs
Organization has Fundraising Plan? No
Organization has Strategic Plan? Yes
Years Strategic Plan Considers 3
Date Strategic Plan Adopted Nov 2016
Management Succession Plan No
Organization Policies And Procedures No


Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex

STEM Councils and organizations
Various partnering universities 
State Registration Yes
State Charitable Solicitations Permit Yes
State Charitable Solicitations Permit Expiration Month Dec
State Charitable Solicitations Permit Expiration Year 2017
Fiscal Year
Fiscal Year Start Jan 01, 2017
Fiscal Year End Dec 31, 2017
Audit Documents
2015Audited FS
2015Audited FS
2013Audited Financials
IRS Letter of Determination
Tax Exempt
Detailed Financials
Revenue SourcesHelpThe financial analysis involves a comparison of the IRS Form 990 and the audit report (when available) and revenue sources may not sum to total based on reconciliation differences. Revenue from foundations and corporations may include individual contributions when not itemized separately.
Fiscal Year201520142013
Foundation and
Corporation Contributions
Government Contributions$0$0$0
Individual Contributions$599,198$186,604$120,372
Investment Income, Net of Losses$769,231$335,549$215,906
Membership Dues$0$0$0
Special Events$238,127$292,464$376,467
Revenue In-Kind$188,028$4,350$19,085
Expense Allocations
Fiscal Year201520142013
Program Expense$825,183$862,813$790,628
Administration Expense$145,499$186,072$212,918
Fundraising Expense$91,078$129,257$113,950
Payments to Affiliates$0$0$0
Total Revenue/Total Expenses2.060.961.37
Program Expense/Total Expenses78%73%71%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue11%27%23%
Assets and Liabilities
Fiscal Year201520142013
Total Assets$9,150,456$9,019,900$8,794,353
Current Assets$958,861$8,973,774$504,443
Long-Term Liabilities$30,685$5,986$50,856
Current Liabilities$0$39,148$0
Total Net Assets$9,119,771$8,974,766$8,743,497
Top Funding Sources
Fiscal Year201520142013
Top Funding Source & Dollar AmountInvestment $769,231Investment Income $335,549Earned Revenue $794,242
Second Highest Funding Source & Dollar AmountIndividuals, foundations and corporations $599,198Earned Revenue $311,000Special Events $376,467
Third Highest Funding Source & Dollar AmountEarned revenue $392,026Special Events $292,464Investment Income $215,906
Short Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201520142013
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities--229.23--
Long Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201520142013
Long-Term Liabilities/Total Assets0%0%1%
Capital Campaign
Currently in a Capital Campaign? No
CEO Comments The Astronaut Scholarship Foundation in the fiscal area continued to perform with consistency over the past 30 years.  Over the years, ASF has been able to produced large cash flows from limited Mercury 7 and Apollo special events and auctions.  This has allowed ASF build a reserve account to ensure sustainability for the organization.
The challenges in today's economy are real for college students and at no time has the importance to inspire and support STEM innovators been greater for the success of America. While ASF has the goal of increasing the scholarships awarded and mentors offered to help shape the future workforce, it is imperative that we maintain our fiscal discipline.  We are committed to reviewing our business strategies and making the appropriate decisions necessary to have the greatest impact.
The challenges are similar to any other organization or business, satisfying supporters, patrons, and contractual obligations while controlling the expenses. 
Foundation Comments
Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster
Notes Programs listed here are those that are only activated during a disaster. Some organizations have unified budgeting and do not budget by program. Because of this, some budget fields may be blank or represent an approximation. Organization describes previous experience during the immediate response, recovery or rebuilding phases following a disaster.
Nonprofit Astronaut Scholarship Foundation Inc.
Address 651 Danville Drive, Suite 101
Orlando, FL 328250001
Primary Phone (407) 362-7900
CEO/Executive Director Tammy Sudler
Board Chair Dan Brandenstein
Board Chair Company Affiliation Astronaut, Shuttle
Year of Incorporation 1985