President Reagan invited 45 members of the nation's corporate aristocracy to the White House yesterday for a bite of chicken chasseur and a fund-raising pep talk for the James S. Brady Presidential Foundation.

The nonpartisan group of men and women are the foundation's trustees and will spearhead fund-raising efforts. The foundation was established last November in honor of Brady, who was gravely injured when a bullet pierced his brain during the March 30, 1981, attempt on Reagan's life. Brady was not at yesterday's luncheon.

While some of the money will go to help Brady in his recovery, the foundation is designed to provide assistance to any individuals wounded or killed in assassination attempts on national figures.

"Now these good things don't just happen," the president told his luncheon guests. "They depend on the active support of fine people like yourselves, who have worked hard, and on the leadership of the foundation's board of directors."

The president also announced that First Lady Nancy Reagan will serve as honorary chairman of the foundation.

Among those seated around the bright orange-covered tables were Robert Anderson, chairman, Atlantic Richfield Co.; Frank Borman, chairman, Eastern Airlines; Katharine Graham, chairman, The Washington Post Co.; Ronald Lauder, executive vice president, Estee Lauder Inc., Donald Rumsfeld, president, G.D. Searle & Co.; and Bob Strauss, senior partner of Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld.

But the most heartwarming dollars of the day were not contributed by corporate America. The president announced the receipt of $37 from 9-year-old John Terrell of Alexandria. His mother wrote:

"On Sunday April 18, 1982, young John Terrell enjoyed selling lemonade and fruit punch to the many thirsty bicyclers on the bike trail. His goal was to help Mr. Brady financially. His efforts collected the enclosed $37 and he did this by 10 cents a cup plus a few tips.

"Please accept John's love gift for Jim Brady." The president did.