We need your help to keep the legacy of the National Championship Air Races alive.
After the heartache of canceling the 2020 National Championship Air Races due to COVID-19 we are determined to bring the world’s fastest motorsport back to the high desert of Northern Nevada in 2021, but it won’t be possible without additional support.
For more than 56 years, the National Championship Air Races has carried on a proud legacy. Now, that legacy is in jeopardy due to financial hardship from the COVID-19 pandemic.
We are asking for help by launching a fundraising campaign to “Save The Races” with the goal of raising $500,000 by the end of this year. UPDATE: As of November 20 we’ve raised over $125,000, 25% of our goal! Thank you to all that have donated so far, we still need help! Please share with friends and family and help us reach our goal!
The Hard Reality
Canceling was not a decision that was made lightly, and the repercussions have been significant both fiscally and emotionally. We greatly missed our September Family but safety and following Nevada’s restrictions on gathering size unquestionably had to be our priority as we sought to preserve the long-term viability of the Reno Air Races. Because of the cancellation there is a large gap between where we are and where we need to be financially.
Going into 2020, we already had challenges as cost increases outpaced income. While the 2019 event was successful with great racing, performers and increased non-local attendance our organization still experienced a significant financial loss, largely due to an unexpected increase in insurance premiums of $160,000. While the team budgeted accordingly for 2020, any opportunity to recover was completely cut off by COVID-19 and instead the issue was compounded.
No event meant no income. Without ticket sales, only expenses were left. We were fortunate to receive some federal aid which was used to retain staff and cover operating costs during the shutdown in May and June when hosting an event in 2020 was still anticipated.
After evaluating the 2020 numbers and gearing up for planning next year’s event, we are still facing a significant shortfall. With revenue down 80%, we are hard at work trying to close the gap. Multiple decisions and changes have been made in order to stay afloat thus far.
In early July we made the difficult decision to reduce staff by 75% leaving us with what is now a skeleton crew of two employees. During what would have been race weekend on September 19 and 20 we hosted a digital event airing past races via Facebook live. This event included sponsorship opportunities which kept us moving forward into October.
In late October we were able to sell a small hangar to continue our path forward. These changes along with the support of our dedicated board and more than a thousand volunteers who selflessly donate their time has carried us this far, but there’s not enough to get us through the end of this year and into the early planning stages for the 2021 Air Races.
Though we need to come up with more than $1 million to be on sound footing for the longer term and keep moving toward a 2021 event we will need to raise $500,000 by the end of the year. Without it the reality is the 57th National Championship Air Races are in jeopardy.
The initial funds raised will go towards hiring critical staff and to begin paying for the ongoing costs necessary to produce the large-scale event whose mission is to celebrate and preserve air racing’s rich history while honoring military and inspiring youth.
How You Can Help
As we continue to do everything in our power to make up for the shortfall we are humbly reaching out to you – our fans and supporters – to help save the Reno Air Races.
As a charitable 501(c)3 non-profit, all donations to the Reno Air Racing Association are 100% tax deductible.
We are not sitting idly and are trying to find various ways to continue to help close the gap. A series of auctions are on the horizon and sponsorship opportunities continue to be available while we also look to work with our business partners on potential savings.
As you know, the event is about more than just the races. It’s an opportunity to bring fans together, to honor our military members and provide STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education that inspires today’s youth to pursue careers in aviation and aerospace engineering. Without your help, all of this is at risk. Together, we can preserve the National Championship Air Races for generations to come.
We know these are tough times for all, but any amount you can give will make a huge impact in helping continue this time-honored tradition.
Donations can be made online by clicking “Donate Now” below or by check written and mailed to: Reno Air Racing Association at 14501 Mt. Anderson St. Reno, NV 89506.