In 2018, Asia Anchrum was living the dream of many college graduates – she held a degree in business administration and worked a successful managerial job at a leather works company. But Anchrum’s dream was bigger. She wanted to fly airplanes. So in August of that year, she decided to go back to school and fulfill her passion.
Anchrum enrolled in Auburn University’s aviation program and declared a minor in the College of Human Sciences Philanthropy and Nonprofit Studies program. To combine her love of aviation and philanthropy practicum, Anchrum became the project manager for the Double Victory Flight Program, hosted by the Legacy Flight Academy in July at Moton Field Airport.
The Legacy Flight Academy is a nonprofit organization that offers youth programs upholding the legacy of the Tuskegee Airmen, the U.S. Air Force’s first African-American aviators.
“The Academy does aviation camps and different programs with youth encouraging them to get involved with aviation and STEM careers,” Anchrum said. “This summer, the students of the Double Victory Flight Program will have access to mentors, learn about virtues and start developing to a point where they know how to be sustainable and productive.”
The philanthropy practicum is a result of her involvement with the Organization of Black Aerospace Professionals, or OBAP. At the OBAP Annual Conference last year, Anchrum connected with Legacy Flight Academy president Kenny Thomas and founder Kenyatta Ruffin.
“They immediately saw that my minor was philanthropy and nonprofit studies and they asked me if I would be interested in working with them. And I immediately said yes, I’d love to,” Anchrum said. “So after doing more research and talking with them about the organization, I fell in love with what they were doing.”
Thomas and Ruffin weren’t the only ones impressed by Anchrum.
Last summer, Auburn alumnus and United Airlines pilot Jason Mohrman proposed the idea of starting an Auburn OBAP chapter to Anchrum. She, along with about a dozen other interested students, established the chapter in the fall and Anchrum took the lead as president.
“There aren’t many African-Americans in the Aviation program, so it was very empowering for someone to ask me to start this chapter. It’s an honor to be president and be a leader and motivator for the other members,” Anchrum said. “And collectively, as a group, everyone is amazing. They’re very passionate about the organization’s work.”
On campus, OBAP offers professional development resources such as resume clinics and interview workshops. In the community, the OBAP Auburn chapter has aided local organizations including Advancing Adolescents, Our House and the Auburn United Methodist Church’s Lunches of Love project in their outreach efforts.
Anchrum is also a member of the War Eagle chapter of Women in Aviation International, a member of the Eta Mu Sigma National Honor Society and an ambassador for Auburn’s Striped Wings Aviation. She said she was drawn to out-of-the-classroom nonprofit and volunteer work because the spirit of giving affected her greatly and she wanted to learn how to give back herself.
“I was very fortunate to be awarded scholarships my first undergrad and that was something I was always thankful for,” Anchrum said. “And because I was so blessed in that nature, I just felt the need to give back to others. At some point, I would love to have a scholarship and build a legacy through that, and encourage others who have a passion for aviation.”
Anchrum said the introduction to philanthropy and nonprofit studies through the College of Human Sciences taught her life lessons on finance, time management and charitable giving. And now, in the advanced philanthropy courses, she said she’s gaining the perspective to apply those lessons.
“One of the questions we had to answer was: What will be your legacy? And that’s something that not most people think about,” Anchrum said. “With my legacy, I want to encourage others to give back your time, talent, treasure and trust into something you’re passionate about. Find your passion and don’t accept anything other than that. Make sure your career is your passion.”
For more information about the Philanthropy and Nonprofit Studies program, visit http://humsci.auburn.edu/cads/philanthropy.php.