2014 Project Update & Year-end Appeal; Congress Extends Charitable IRA Rule

Dear friends of the USS John F. Kennedy project,

Our volunteers and staff wish you and your family a very happy holiday season and all the best for the New Year!

Our Annual Appeal comes late in the year, but it is a heartfelt appeal nonetheless.

Thanks to people like you, we made major progress in 2014 in our efforts to preserve “Big John” as a family attraction, education/job training center and memorial.  Among our many successes, we are pleased to report that we are several steps closer to meeting the conditions laid down by the Secretary of the Navy and his staff in order to berth the carrier at one of the Naval Station Newport piers.

A Project Update:

  • On May 9 we submitted tour proposal to the Navy for the use of Pier 2 in Coddington Cove at Naval Station Newport.This proposal is still under review at the highest levels of the Navy, since acceptance would result in significant changes affecting traffic, access and security at the base. Part of the delay is because of changes in command at two of the major levels of review: Commander, Navy Region Mid-Atlantic, and Commander, Naval Installation Command.
  • In August the JFK team, in conjunction with Brad Senter of the Saratoga Association, organized and managed a Saratoga Farewell for former Saratoga vets at the Newport pier. With the support of Newport Naval Station CO, CAPT Doug Mikatarian, and his staff we hosted more than 200 Saratoga shipmates and their guests.In order to reach as many members as possible for this event we sent out over 3,000 invitations to Saratoga vets on the list of the USS Saratoga Museum Foundation and that of the Saratoga Reunion Association. The invitation also included an invitation to all Saratoga veterans to receive a one year free membership in the JFK Project. [There will be a significant exhibit aboard the JFK recognizing all US Navy ships named Saratoga.] So far this invitation has resulted in more than 200 responses.
  • On Saturday evening, November 22, RI Aviation Hall of Fame (RIAHOF) hosted RI Governor Lincoln Chafee and more than 235 other guests at its annual honors ceremony. Guest of Honor was inductee Vice Admiral Walter “Ted” Carter, a Rhode Island native and Naval Aviator now serving as Superintendent of the US Naval Academy.The dinner raised more than $16,000 to support future events and the establishment of a permanent Hall of Fame aboard the USS John F. Kennedy.

Once we receive a positive signal from the Navy that our use of the pier is feasible, our capital fundraising will be able to commence in earnest.

  • On October 7 the head of our capital campaign, Bill White, hosted President Obama in his home in New York City.
    Mr. White spoke with the President about our efforts to bring ex-JFK to Narragansett Bay, and he reported back that the President was in favor of the concept and that we could count on his support. He handed the President a letter formally requesting that support.Bill White is the former president of the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum in NYC and the founder and principal fundraiser for both the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund and the nationwide Fisher Houses for wounded warriors. Since 1992 White can point to more than $600 million that he raised for the Museum and the Funds, from corporate sponsors and private donors as well as federal and state sources. He has agreed to assist with our national and international campaign to generate major corporate sponsorships and individual donor commitments.

Our challenge now is to get to the point where Bill White can take over. We are still responsible for raising the interim working capital (estimated at $250,000) to operate day-to-day as well as complete the engineering and technical analyses required by the Navy before they give their final commitments for the berth and the ship.

In order to solve this dilemma and maintain momentum, I am reaching out to people like you who believe in our mission.

Year’s End is Coming! Please Consider Making a Tax-Deductible Donation Today

Few giving opportunities afford the donor a greater or more immediate impact than putting an aircraft carrier back to work for our nation and our  state. By making a year-end donation, you will be able to proudly say, “I helped put a symbol of our Navy back to work for her country.”

While we are heartened by the progress we have made, we still need to show the Navy that we have the money and the support to pull this project off.

Please consider a tax-deductible donation of cash or merchandise (esp. office supplies, shirts, sign painting, services, anything we might otherwise need to purchase!) to show your support.

We hope you will include Rhode Island Aviation Hall of Fame’s USS John F. Kennedy project in your year-end giving plan.

Please consider a year end gift now, of either cash or appreciated securities – with the certainty that you can take advantage of the favorable laws in place through the end of the year.

•   To donate now using your Paypal account or Credit Card, please click here (Paypal account IS NOT required).


•   If you would prefer to pledge or donate by mail, please click hereto download our donation form (Adobe PDF).

Thank You!

A tax-free, charitable opportunity

One reason for waiting for the last minute to send you this email is because Congress also waited until the last minute to give us an extra holiday opportunity. On December 19th, the President signed a package that could be important to all of us who want to help the USS JFK.

Now, and until December 31, 2014, if you are age 70½ or older you can transfer up to $100,000 from your IRA to the USS JFK Project without increasing your taxable income or paying any additional income tax.

But you must act BY DECEMBER 31, 2014.  The benefit to you is that the amount you donate is excluded from income, which may be more advantageous to you than taking the IRA income and then making a donation.  It’s also a simpler, one-step process.

Please contact me personally at any time, day or night, at the phone number below if you want to make a gift of some or all of your 2014 IRA required minimum distribution.

On behalf of the Board of Directors, the staff, our volunteers and the servicemen and women who made Big John great while serving their country, I thank you in advance for your generous support.  I am honored to let you know what a difference you can make to our efforts.


Frank Lennon



Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *