About the Campaign

Time is running out! The FINAL deadline to save a piece of the Willow Run Bomber Plant is May 1st, 2014.

(For the whole story, read this article from ABC News.)

The purpose of the Save The Willow Run Bomber Plant Campaign is to mobilize the resources needed to “separate” (which means to acquire, enclose, secure and power up) roughly 175,000 square feet of the 5 million square foot former Willow Run Bomber Plant, which will eventually become the new home of the Yankee Air Museum.

Although this area is large enough to house the Yankee Air Museum, its exhibits, collections, and aircraft, it is less than 5% of the colossal, one-mile-long Willow Run Plant, which was the largest factory under one roof when it was built, and still among the largest factories in the word today.

The purchase cost of the building is generously low, but the cost involved in making “our” part of the building viable, by closing it off and recreating utilities once the rest of the building is gone, is unavoidably high. Yankee must demonstrate that it can raise the funds to make this dream a reality before we can be granted permission to purchase this portion of the plant.

With Your Help, We Can Do It!

At the start of this effort, “separation costs” for the portion of the building Yankee Air Museum wants to save were estimated at $8 million, and $3 million in project savings and past giving was already available to help meet those costs. As the campaign kicked off in mid-May, 2013, and this website went online, that left us with a need to raise $5 million in additional funding before August October November May 1, 2014. This is the FINAL deadline, since demolition of parts of the plant is already underway, “Our” portion of the plant has been so far left untouched to leave us time to raise the funds we need. As the final deadline approaches, we have raised $6.75 million and received incredible media coverage and nationwide support! This latest deadline extension will be the final one, since development of the property cannot be delayed further. You can follow the progress of this campaign by looking at the “Total Raised to Date” and “Total to Reach Goal” figures appearing beneath the “Donate Now” button on the right.

Willow Run: a Storied Past, and a Bright Future

In September, 2013, Willow Run’s owners announced that most of Willow Run has been sold to a buyer who will redevelop the property as a testing facility for futuristic connected vehicles (cars that talk to each other, and pretty much drive themselves.) The portion of the Plant that Yankee Air Museum wants to save was held back in order to give us more time to raise the funds necessary. Everyone involved in the future of the property supports our effort, and is giving us every chance to succeed.

A research and testing center for the next generation of smart vehicles, alongside a museum honoring the site’s historic past, would create an exciting and fitting new chapter for Willow Run. This would not only honor, but continue Willow Run’s legacy of breakthrough manufacturing innovation, with the past and the future of manufacturing technology showcased side-by-side, to revitalize and inspire the present.

Is our goal impossible? Not at all! Support for the cause has been overwhelmingly positive, and donations stream in daily. It’s precisely this kind of support, and the resulting publicity, that encourages wealthy and corporate donors to contribute 6 and 7 figure donations to any cause, as the clock winds down. Plus… if only 30,000 people gave $50 each, or only 7,500 gave $200 each, we’d reach our goal!

So help save as many square feet of this historic treasure as you can, and be a part of what is becoming a nationwide effort to Save Rosie’s Plant!

Eight million dollars is a big number… we’ve already raised six and a half million…
together, we can do it!

Do your part. Click on the big, red “Donate” button, and give generously…. and please tweet, post and share to spread the word!

How Does My Gift Help?

Every $50 preserves 1 square foot of the Bomber Plant, so…

  • $50 preserves 1 sq. ft.
  • $100 preserves 2 sq. ft.
  • $250 preserves 5 sq. ft.
  • $500 preserves 10 sq. ft.
  • $1,000 preserves 20 sq. ft.
  • $2,500 preserves 50 sq. ft.
  • $5,000 preserves 100 sq. ft.

Frequently Asked Questions About the Campaign

What happens if we don’t raise enough money by May?

In the event that we are unable to raise sufficient funds to preserve a portion of the Bomber Plant to become the new home of the entire Yankee Air Museum, all gifts to this campaign will be allocated to the construction of a hangar for the flyable historic aircraft at the Museum’s current home on the east side of the airfield.

If that happens, an important piece of our history may be lost but a much stronger, more exciting, more educational Yankee Air Museum will still be created. We hope that donors to this effort are comfortable with that as our “fallback’ strategy and so will make gifts at this time irrespective of the final site of the Yankee Air Museum.

What if I only want to give if the Museum will be moving to the Bomber Plant?

If you are interested in supporting the creation of the new museum only if it will be in the former Willow Run Bomber Plant, it would be more appropriate for you to make a pledge to this effort rather than an outright gift at this time.

Yours would be a “contingent pledge,” the payment of which would depend on the Museum committing to go to the Bomber Plant as its new home. If that did not happen, you would be under no obligation pay off your pledge. If you are interested in pledging rather than giving, please contact the SaveTheBomberPlant.org team for information on pledging using the online contact form (this is really the quickest way to get hold of us) or telephone (734) 483 – 4030, extension 222.

Who’s Behind The Campaign?

The Campaign has been organized by the Michigan Aerospace Foundation, the facilities fundraising sister organization to the Yankee Air Museum, to raise the funds needed to accomplish this. The Campaign itself is led by volunteers, but it is the Foundation’s leadership that provides day-to-day management of this Campaign.

What happens after the SaveTheBomberPlant.org campaign?

To paraphrase Churchill, a successful SaveTheBomberPlant.org campaign would be the end of our beginning.

“Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.” — Winston Churchill, 1942

If we meet our immediate fundraising goal, we will have preserved a portion of the Bomber Plant to someday become the new home of the Yankee Air Museum. What that boils down to this – we will own a big historic box inside of which to create the new museum.

At that point, we would still need to raise a great deal of money before we have a fully-functional Museum inside the former Bomber Plant. To turn this 70-rear old former factory into a museum, a significant amount of both interior and exterior construction, as well as the design and construction of additional exhibits, will be required.

But, just as the Willow Run workers helped win World War II…
together, we can do it!

Do your part. Click on the big, red “Donate” button, and give generously…. and please tweet, post and share to spread the word!

Thank you!
The Michigan Aerospace Foundation
The Yankee Air Museum
Campaign Co-chairmen Astronaut Jack Lousma and former GM Executive Bob Lutz