~ The Dennis P. Rando Cadet Humanitarian Fund ~
Link to The RANDO Fund Endowment
A way for parents and parents’ associations to support our sons and daughters who have made the decision to accept an appointment to the US Air Force Academy Cadet and to serve their country.
The RANDO Fund was the wonderful result of the tragic circumstances surrounding the passing of several AFA cadets and their Instructor Pilots in flight training accidents at the Academy in the mid ‘90s. One of those cadets was C1C Dennis P. Rando of East Bridgewater, Massachusetts. At his funeral, when it was learned that the cadets who traveled to Massachusetts to honor their classmate and friend and to represent all cadets and cadet families did so at their own personal expense, the USAFA Cadets Parents’ Association of Eastern Massachusetts under the leadership of then president and Rando Fund founder Bob Caggiano, made a request to other cadet families and cadet parents’ associations to donate funds to help reimburse the cadets for their travel.
The response to this request was so tremendous that donations surpassed the amount needed. Bob Caggiano came up with an idea supported by the members of the Cadet Parents Association of Eastern Massachusetts to establish an ongoing fund raising initiative to continue this kind of support for all cadets. They named the Fund in Dennis’ honor as they felt that this would be a most appropriate manner to honor Dennis’ memory and sacrifice. A proposal was made to Lt. General Paul Stein, the Academy’s Superintendent at that time, who immediately recognized the value of this kind of cadet support and asked that The RANDO Fund become a national fund raising effort as the Academy's budget does not have the resources to provide for this type of travel. With his guidance, the fund became a reality in 1997 with Diane Mackey from the Cadet Parents Association of Eastern Massachusetts, serving as the Fund’s first president and principal fund raiser. In 2000, that role was transitioned to Jack Bernazzani, also a member of the Cadet Parents Association of Eastern Massachusetts.
The Air Force and the Academy fully support The RANDO Fund and have officially recognized it and its mission. In addition to providing free travel for a cadet honor guard in the event of a fellow cadet's passing, The RANDO Fund also provides need-based financial support to cadets who may not have the resources to travel home during emergencies such as a death in their family, a serious family illness or injury to a family member. Cadets with a financial need are granted all or part of the travel expenses. Those funds are a "gift" made possible by the Fund’s donors. Those donors are cadet families, cadet friends, AFA graduates, and the many cadet parent organizations from across the country. Determinations as to the necessity for a cadet to travel home as well as the assessment of a cadet’s financial need is made by the Cadet Chaplain’s Office in conjunction with the cadet’s AOC and the Commandant’s Office.
In August 2012, The RANDO Fund became an affiliate of the USAF Academy Endowment. The Endowment provides all of the administrative support to The RANDO Fund managing receipt of donations and management of the Fund’s financial resources. Because The RANDO Fund’s Advisory Board volunteers their time to this cause and because the USAF Endowment assumes all The RANDO Fund’s administrative costs, The RANDO Fund is able to dedicate 100% of every donation to fund its missions in support of the cadets. However, The RANDO Fund remains viable and can only continue to support those missions as a result of the generous donations that people like you and/or your organizations contribute. Every cadet at the Academy is a potential beneficiary of your support. Please consider making a donation to this very worth cause
The RANDO Fund is an IRS registered 501(c)(3) non-profit charitable organization