Astronomy Foundation achieves 501(c)(3) nonprofit status

Posted by David Eicher
on Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Spreading astronomy outreach is a tough business in this world of increasing light pollution and a saturated stream of entertainment constantly running over kids, pulling them away from the reality of the world around them.

Now, after a long year of paperwork and waiting, the Astronomy Foundation (AF), the telescope manufacturer’s industry association, has achieved something that will make its efforts far easier — 501(c)(3) nonprofit status.

Founded in 2009 by then Celestron CEO Joseph A. Lupica (who is now CEO of Meade Instruments), the Astronomy Foundation consists of several officers and a board of directors from the telescope industry who look forward to a productive new era of spreading interest in astronomy throughout the general public.

Thanks to the efforts of AF Vice President Karen Jennings and the completion and submission of paperwork by Frank Dibbell and Robert Dibbell, the group now has a status that will allow it to collect grants and donations from companies that will empower it to spread the word about astronomy and play a part in revitalizing the hobby.

As the AF’s president, I’m proud to say that this is a great day, a long time coming, for the Astronomy Foundation. We look forward to talking with donors who can help the group with its important mission and also enlisting a battery of volunteers to do important astronomy outreach work throughout the community.

Specifically, the group needs volunteers to help run and maintain the website (, to solicit and coordinate contributions from corporate donors, to help with publicity and communications between astronomy groups, and to spearhead activities involving Generation X, Y, and Millennials in astronomy observing, star parties, outreach, and education.

If you are interested in getting involved with this noble cause, please contact Vice President Karen Jennings at

The officers of the AF are: David J. Eicher, president; Karen Jennings, vice president; Richard Hedrick, secretary; and Frank Dibbell, treasurer. The Board of Directors includes Eicher; Hedrick, president and CEO, PlaneWave Instruments; Scott Kardel, acting executive director, International Dark-Sky Association; Vic Maris, president, Stellarvue; Mike Reynolds, dean of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Florida State College; and Craig Weatherwax, CEO, Oceanside Photo & Telescope.

For more information on the AF, please see

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