Own Words: Eric Mosley on Philanthropy as a Family Value

Guest Contributor

The following article was written by Eric Mosley, a local philanthropist and Denver Foundation donor, whose parents established John W. and Edna Wilson Mosley Scholarship. 

I was blessed to be raised in a home where the core value was caring for and supporting the community.

My father, Lieutenant Colonel John W. Mosley, was a Tuskegee Airman who served his country and came home to serve his community. He and my mother, Edna Mosley, were motivated by the same passions. Both were deeply involved in the civil rights struggle and served in official and volunteer capacities that uplifted the underrepresented. Mom and a group of like-minded pioneering women pooled their resources, their talents, and their visions to found one of the first banks that focused on providing services that previously were denied to women. She also proudly served three terms as the first African American city councilwoman in Aurora.

To me, philanthropy goes beyond the simple though important act of contributing money. Philanthropy, in the lifelong example of my parents, is about giving significantly of oneself. It’s about sacrificing something of great personal importance. Along with my siblings, I’ve modestly tried to follow the path made by my parents. 

“I can’t say enough about the influences of our parents," says my sister, Edna Futrell. "They have affected us children, as well as all of the grandchildren, in giving back to the community.  

Our parents were committed to education and always believed it was exceptional and to be pursued.”

For the last 20 years, fellow aviation industry professionals and I have invested considerable time to provide opportunities and mentoring for youth in the Metro Denver area. One way I do this is through the Mile High Flight Program, a nonprofit that inspires the next generation of aviators through the legacy of the Tuskegee Airmen. Though the focus of the program (which is sponsored by the Denver chapter of the Tuskegee Airmen Inc.) is aviation/aerospace, our desire is to help motivate each student to boldly reach for their full potential.

Through the Mile High Flight Program and the John W. and Edna Wilson Mosley Scholarship, which is managed by The Denver Foundation, I hope to model and promote the six core principles of the Tuskegee Airmen: (1) Aim high. (2) Believe in yourself.(3) Use your brain. (4) Be ready to go.(5) Never quit. (6) Expect to win.

When they decided to establish an educational scholarship fund, Mom and Dad thought long and hard about who to partner with. After much research and discussion with trusted friends and community leaders, they decided on The Denver Foundation. The Denver Foundation’s far-reaching network, strong administration, and professional staff allow us to focus each year on selecting wonderfully talented and promising students to receive the John W. and Edna Wilson Mosley Scholarship.

Eric Mosley is a captain with United Airlines and, like his father, served in the United States Air Force.

To learn how you can establish or support a scholarship at The Denver Foundation, please call the Philanthropic Service Group at 303.300.1790.

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