PeopleFund Blog

Client of the Month – Phoenix Arising

Article by: Miku Sakamoto

This month we’d like to highlight Phoenix Arising, an Austin nonprofit that’s shaking up traditional education through aviation-oriented programs.

Founder and Executive Director, Zay Collier, came to believe that knowledge is not something a learner passively absorbs, but something a learner actively creates. Learning was not a spectator sport, but a participatory one. He also realized that aviation was the perfect playing field for motivating students because of its innate ability to expose them to so many disciplines. Phoenix Arising was founded with the belief that aviation coupled with a dynamic, active learning environment, could ignite a passion for science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

As an educational nonprofit, their core mission is to serve the underserved – specifically, economically disadvantaged students in East Austin Title I Schools. They offer hands-on aviation programs for youth students where math and science are brought to life in after-school programs, summer camps, and weekend workshops. Youth students get to build and fly model aircrafts, explore physics demonstrations, plan their own flights, and learn to fly on flight simulators.

Phoenix Arising also offers adults programs ranging from introductory to advanced, making their programs a good fit for everyone.  With customizable packages, people can experience professional flight training for the first time or active pilots can gain proficiency in an FAA certified full-motion flight simulator with certified flight instructors.

Phoenix Arising is using Peoplefund’s loan to reach sustainability and to expand their reach within the community. So far, Peoplefund’s loan has allowed them to invest in growing their revenue generating programs so that they are able to provide their youth programs to more economically disadvantaged students in Austin.  We love what they’re doing for the community and couldn’t be happier to help out!

If you’re interested in finding out more about Phoenix Arising, overviews of all their programs are available at, or you can reach them at (512)588-2FLY (512-588-2359) or [email protected]. They encourage anyone interested in their youth and adult programs to schedule a visit to their facility or contact them directly.


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