FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Frequently Asked Questions
What is Freedom Alliance and it's mission?
Freedom Alliance is an educational and charitable organization which sponsors numerous programmatic activities aimed at supporting and honoring our service members and their families. Freedom Alliance is recognized by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) as a public charity organized under Section 501(c)(3) of the IRS Code.
Our mission is to advance the American heritage of freedom by honoring and encouraging military service, defending the sovereignty of the United States and promoting a strong national defense.
Who started the organization and when?
Freedom Alliance was founded in 1990 by LtCol Oliver L. North, USMC (Ret.), who now serves as the organization’s Honorary Chairman, and the late LtGen Edward J. Bronars who served as the first Chairman of Freedom Alliance. Thomas Kilgannon is the President of Freedom Alliance and has been with the organization since 1998.
How is Freedom Alliance funded?
Freedom Alliance is funded by private, voluntary contributions. The organization accepts no government grants of support. Donations to Freedom Alliance are deductible to the extent allowed by law. Each year, Freedom Alliance files a Federal Form 990 (financial statement) with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and submits to an annual, voluntary audit by a Certified Public Accounting (CPA) firm. The organization is governed by an independent Board of Directors.
Does Freedom Alliance support candidates running for public office?
No, Freedom Alliance is a 501(c)(3) educational and charitable organization that is non-partisan. We do not support or oppose candidates.
What are some of Freedom Alliance’s major programs or projects?
Freedom Alliance sponsors educational and charitable initiatives, under four main program areas: the Support Our Troops program, the Military Leadership Academy, the Scholarship Fund, and the Center for Sovereignty & Security.
Freedom Alliance Scholarship Fund
What is the Freedom Alliance Scholarship Fund?
As one of the four major educational and charitable programs offered by our organization, the Freedom Alliance Scholarship Fund provides college scholarships to the sons and daughters of American heroes – the dependents of U.S. military personnel who have been killed or permanently disabled in an operational mission or training accident. We provide these scholarships for two reasons: first, to help deserving students with the rising cost of college education; and second, to remind those students that their parents’ sacrifices will never be forgotten by a grateful nation. We have awarded millions of dollars in scholarships through this program and helped the children of heroes achieve their dream of a college education.
Please click here for more information on the Scholarship Fund.
How many scholarships have been awarded?
Freedom Alliance has awarded hundreds of scholarships totaling more than $7 million to college students who are the dependents of Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Guardsmen, or Marines who have been killed or permanently disabled in an operational mission or training accident. We awarded 167 individual student scholarships for the 2008 academic year; 201 individual student scholarships for the 2009 academic year; 225 individual student scholarships for the 2010 academic year; 240 individual student scholarships for the 2011 academic year; and 268 for the 2012 academic year.
Who is eligible for a Freedom Alliance scholarship?
Students are eligible if they are the dependent child of an active duty service member who was killed or permanently disabled (100% VA rating) in an operational mission or training accident, or who is currently certified as POW or MIA. The applicant must also be a senior in high school, a high school graduate, or enrolled in an institution of higher learning, including colleges, universities, or vocational or technical schools.
Please visit our website for more information on eligibility and to complete the scholarship application.
What is the size of the scholarships granted to students from the Scholarship Fund?
We analyze the specific needs of each applicant in granting scholarships and consider many factors including whether the student is receiving other financial aid and what needs the student has demonstrated. Our scholarships are renewable for four years of undergraduate study, if the recipient maintains a 2.0 grade point average. The scholarships typically run up to $6,000 per year. Therefore, some students cumulatively receive as much as $24,000 toward their college experience. We are fortunate to assist these students who could not otherwise afford college.
Can you tell us about some of the students who have received a scholarship from Freedom Alliance?
Kyle Pelz of Seven Fields, Pennsylvania, is a Freedom Alliance scholarship recipient. He studied Aeronautical Science at Embry Riddle-Aeronautical University in Daytona, Florida. Kyle’s father, Lieutenant Commander Gerald Pelz, served in the U.S. Navy and was killed in action when his helicopter crashed during a training mission over the North Arabian Sea. Kyle told us:
“My father died when I was only three years old, while flying a helicopter in the U.S. Navy. He’s always been a part of my life. Every time that I go for an aviation rating, I rub his pilot’s license and then put it in my pocket…Since then, I have dreamed of a career in aviation, but the cost of learning to fly was always a big concern. This scholarship will give me an opportunity to fulfill my dream and help me with the vast expenses that my family and I face. Thank you sincerely from the bottom of my heart.”
Please visit our most recent Scholarship Fund Report to learn more about other scholarship recipients.
Doesn’t the federal government already pay for the college education of heroes’ children?
Effective August 1, 2010, the federal government began funding college scholarships for children of service members who are killed in the line of duty. Specifically, the Post 9-11 GI Bill contains a provision for the Marine Gunnery Sergeant John David Fry Scholarship, which benefits the children of service members who died in the line of duty after September 10, 2001. Eligible children attending school may receive up to the highest public, in-state undergraduate tuition and fees, plus a monthly living stipend and book allowance. Students may receive up to 36 months of benefits.
Does the Fry Scholarship impact Freedom Alliance’s efforts?
We applaud the government’s effort to honor those who make the ultimate sacrifice for our nation. However, while the benefits provided through the Fry Scholarship are generous to those who qualify, they are limited in scope.
For example, the Fry Scholarship provides funds only for children of service members who died on or after September 11, 2001. It does not provide for the children of military personnel who served and sacrificed prior to September 11, 2001, nor does it assist qualified students who choose to study at vocational, technical or trade schools. It also does not fully cover private or out-of-state tuition.
Furthermore, the Fry Scholarship is not available to students with a parent that is permanently disabled (100% VA Rating) in an operational mission or training accident.
Thus, the Freedom Alliance Scholarship Fund would supplement the benefits provided by the Fry Scholarship and provide benefits in some areas where the Fry Scholarship does not.
How will Freedom Alliance help those not eligible for the Fry Scholarship?
Through our Scholarship Fund, Freedom Alliance will continue to provide college scholarships to those who are not covered by the federal government. For example, Freedom Alliance will continue to provide scholarships to:
- Children who had a parent killed in military service prior to September 11, 2001.
- Children of military personnel who are permanently disabled (100% VA Rating) in an operational mission or training accident (before or after September 11, 2001.)
- Qualified students who choose to study at vocational, technical or trade schools.
- Qualified students who choose to study at private institutions or schools outside their home state.
- Freedom Alliance will provide benefits to qualified students whose education costs may exceed the maximum allowed by the Fry Scholarship, or who may not be able to complete their college education in 36 months, as required by the Fry Scholarship.
How is the Freedom Alliance Scholarship Fund financed?
The Scholarship Fund is financed with private, voluntary donations from generous Americans across the United States. No government grants are received by Freedom Alliance. Donations to Freedom Alliance are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law and may, if you wish, be designated only for the Scholarship Fund. We do not use any funds donated to or received by the Scholarship Fund for overhead or administrative costs.
Does the Scholarship Fund have overhead or administrative costs? If so, how are they paid?
Donations to the Scholarship Fund are placed in a separate account from other donations given to help the organization with other programs or administrative expenses. The costs associated with administering the Scholarship Fund are paid with unrestricted funds and are not deducted from the Scholarship Fund donations.
What happens to Scholarship Fund donations that are not immediately paid out in scholarships?
Donations to the Scholarship Fund that are not immediately used for scholarship payments are placed in the permanent Scholarship Trust Fund. The Trust Fund was established, because most dependents of Iraq and Afghanistan casualties, who will qualify to receive a Freedom Alliance scholarship in the future, are quite young and are years away from attending college. The sad fact is that roughly 75 percent of the casualties in Afghanistan and Iraq are under the age of 30. These heroes leave behind thousands of young children who will not be of college age for decades. We are proud that we have reserved more than $15 million in our permanent Trust Fund for scholarships for these young children for when they are of age. It is our goal to maintain this permanent Trust Fund so that we may continue to confer scholarships on these children years from now.
Why is scholarship money sent directly to the school and not to the recipient?
When we provide scholarships to our students, we make those payments directly to the college or university to which the students are attending.
This is the safest and most effective method for ensuring that the money is used for the purpose for which it was intended. It is also the best way for Freedom Alliance to fulfill our dual obligations to both our generous supporters and to the students we are here to help.
Additionally, while we are ready to help, it may be the case that not every student who qualifies for a Freedom Alliance scholarship will ultimately make the choice to go to college.
Is the Scholarship Fund the only program that Freedom Alliance sponsors?
No, Freedom Alliance sponsors educational and charitable initiatives, under four main program areas. They are the Support Our Troops program, the Military Leadership Academy, the Scholarship Fund, and the Center for Sovereignty & Security.
What are the Freedom Concerts?
The Freedom Concert tour is a dynamic, patriotic celebration of America and her heroes. Hosted by radio and television personality Sean Hannity, the concerts feature some of America’s greatest country music performers and pay tribute to the men and women of our Armed Forces, their families, and the principles they fight to defend.
Since 2003, the Freedom Concerts have helped Freedom Alliance to raise more than $10 million for the Freedom Alliance Scholarship Fund.
The first Freedom Concert, starring the Charlie Daniels Band, was held on July 11, 2003, at Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson, New Jersey. Over the years, some of the best talent in country music has performed at the Freedom Concerts including Lee Greenwood, Martina McBride, Charlie Daniels, Montgomery Gentry, Hank Williams Jr., LeAnn Rimes, Darryl Worley, and many, many more.
Tell me more about what happens at a Freedom Concert?
The events are an opportunity to introduce some of our men and women in uniform – ordinary people who have done extraordinary things – to the grateful nation they protect. During many concerts, we’ve been joined, via satellite, by service members deployed in the Middle East who are reunited with family members standing on the Freedom Concert stage with Sean Hannity and Oliver North.
After one such Freedom Concert reunion, Mrs. Melissa Russo wrote to express her appreciation.
“I just wanted to thank you for having me at the concert and for all of the special treatment. Once in a lifetime experiences such as that are rare and it is an evening that I will never forget. The best part, of course, was seeing my husband on the Jumbotron after Colonel North’s moving introduction. Wow. Thank you again so very much.”
The Freedom Concerts also feature students who have received scholarships from Freedom Alliance so guests have the opportunity to meet these sons and daughters of American heroes. Danielle Gonzalez, whose father was killed in a 2001 helicopter crash, joined us at a Freedom Concert and afterward, told us what the evening meant to her:
“I can not thank Freedom Alliance enough for their support for my college education. Without your generous assistance, attending my dream school of Seattle University would not be possible. Seattle was the last place my family was stationed before my father’s mission to Vietnam [to recover the remains of Americans missing in action.] I remember climbing the Olympic Mountains with him and his encouragement to keep putting one foot in front of the other to reach the peaks. Everyday, Seattle is a constant reminder of my father’s perseverance to continue forward in life’s journey no matter the obstacles. Freedom Alliance has provided me motivation to continue my education and becoming a business leader who is dedicated to promoting a just and humane world.”
Also joining us at the Freedom Concerts are active duty or wounded service members, veterans, and members of Gold Star Families – family members of military personnel who have been killed in the line of duty.”
What is Sean Hannity's involvement with Freedom Alliance?
Sean Hannity is a great friend to Freedom Alliance. Sean has helped Freedom Alliance to raise millions of dollars for the Freedom Alliance Scholarship Fund. He has introduced our work and our organization to millions of Americans and we are grateful for his support and his tireless efforts on behalf of our men and women in uniform.
Does Oliver North or Sean Hannity get paid by Freedom Alliance for their work on behalf of the organization?
Neither Oliver North nor Sean Hannity draw a salary or stipend from Freedom Alliance, nor do they receive remunerations from Freedom Alliance as a result of their involvement in the Freedom Concerts. Over the years, both have donated their time, talent, and personal resources to Freedom Alliance and encouraged others to do the same. We are grateful for all they do.
How do the Freedom Concerts benefit Freedom Alliance?
The Freedom Concerts help Freedom Alliance in many ways. Through the concerts and related fundraising efforts, Freedom Alliance has raised millions of dollars for our Scholarship Fund and program activities. The concerts have helped Freedom Alliance to raise more than $10 million for the Scholarship Fund since 2003. The concerts also provide us with the opportunity to showcase our charitable and educational work for tens of thousands of people who attend the events each year. Through his promotion of the Freedom Concerts, on his radio and television broadcasts, Sean Hannity has also publicized Freedom Alliance’s work to millions of his listeners and viewers, many of whom choose to support our charitable and educational work.
Does Freedom Alliance have to pay expenses associated with the Freedom Concerts?
The Freedom Concerts are organized and operated by an entity other than Freedom Alliance, with net proceeds benefiting the Freedom Alliance Scholarship Fund. Thus, Freedom Alliance is the grateful benefactor of the Freedom Concerts, but not the organizer or operator of the concerts. Although Freedom Alliance incurs some costs relating to the programs it runs in connection with the concerts (including hosting and transporting of service members and their families), those costs come out of Freedom Alliance’s program budget.
How does Freedom Alliance put all those major events together?
Freedom Alliance does not host the Freedom Concerts. The concerts are organized and operated by an entity other than Freedom Alliance. Freedom Alliance does coordinate some program activities for service members and their families attending the concerts, but such events are paid for out of Freedom Alliance’s program budget.
How much money has Freedom Alliance raised through the concerts?
The concerts have helped Freedom Alliance to raise more than $10 million for the Scholarship Fund since 2003.