The North American Railway Foundation

The North American Railway Foundation (Foundation) was formed on October 22, 1996 as a nonprofit organization (a private operating foundation). Its purpose is to explore, nurture and support railway safety, efficiency and technology and to educate about and preserve the history of railroads in the United States and Canada. The goals of the Foundation are achieved by providing direct and active financial support to deserving institutions and projects, which exemplify the Foundation's purpose.

As a private operating foundation, the Foundation must take an active and direct role in each project it undertakes. Unlike a typical foundation, we are discouraged in providing "grants" where we would take a passive approach to our projects. In being active, the Foundation works very closely with each of its project coordinators and provides an extra resource to the end beneficiary of its support.

Although still in its youth, the Foundation has provided direct and active support to various non-profit entities or endeavors totaling over $1.3 million through September 30, 2000. It expects to provide over $600,000 in funding for the fiscal year ended September 30, 2001.

Some of the major projects which the Foundation has supported in the past include:

  • The construction of an educational center which features "hands on learning" within the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania
  • A "Crossing Safely" program that promotes public awareness of the dangers of railroad crossings in the United States and Canada
  • Restoration of railroad photographs, negatives and artifacts contained in several museum collections
  • The production of a documentary video concerning the technological advancements of high speed trains in Europe and how those advancements could soon have a beneficial effect on transit across North America
  • The promotion of high speed rail and the safety of railroaders and the public at large in the United States through its support of two high speed rail associations

The Foundation receives its financial support from organized rail labor. This support is deemed a permanently restricted endowment, meaning that it cannot be used for any purpose other than to generate income for the Foundation. The income that is generated from investing that financial support is used for charitable and operating purposes. On a fiscal year basis, the Foundation expends approximately 85% of its income on charitable purposes.

By July 2001, the Foundation expects to collect, review and make decisions on new and existing project funding for its fiscal year 2001-2002. Quality nonprofit organizations are encouraged to apply for funding within the parameters above, before July, to ensure adequate consideration of their planned projects.

Newburgh & South Shore Collection - Special Collections, Cleveland State University Library

Last updated November 9, 2001