Amelia Earhart Foundation
On December 23, 1937, the nonprofit Amelia Earhart Foundation was founded "to conduct an expedition to clear up the mystery surrounding the disappearance of Amelia Earhart the lost aviatrix, and Frederick J. Noonan, her navigator, and to establish beyond a doubt whether they are still alive." The board of directors was made up of AE's friends and business associates. The National Sponsors Committee boasted Eleanor Roosevelt as honorary chairman and included Mrs. Juan Trippe, Louis Thaden, and a virtual who's who of New York society.
Enough money was eventually raised to send Captain Irving Johnson and his yacht Yankee on a cruise through the Gilberts in the late spring of 1940. Johnson found the islands to be densely populated but nobody had any information about Amelia - except one report that a plane had been heard to fly high over the island of Tabituea back in 1937. On his way to the Gilberts, Johnson also took a swing through the Phoenix Group but, because he didn't have British permission, he avoided the three islands that had recently been settled - Sydney, Hull, and Gardner. That's a pity. He seems to have been in the Phoenix at about the same time that the skull was initially found on Gardner.