“Many nonprofit organizations struggle to compete with the private sector for access to timely transportation, especially when responding to humanitarian emergencies.” – Steven J. Smith, Airlink President, and CEO
FEBRUARY 2, 2022 (WASHINGTON, DC) – Airlink has been awarded a grant in the amount of $1million USD from the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation. Airlink provides free airlift and logistical support to more than 100 non-governmental organizations (NGOs) responding to natural disasters and other humanitarian crises. Last year, Airlink helped 7.8 million people with humanitarian aid in response to 27 distinctive natural and man-made disasters across the globe.
Transportation is often the most volatile and costly component of the supply chain. Research conducted by the Kuehne Logistics University, HELP Logistics, and a number of NGOs analyzed data from humanitarian operations between 2005 and 2015 and found supply chain expenditure averaged 69% of total humanitarian relief expenses. These activities are frequently undervalued in programmatic planning or underfunded despite being vital to getting expertise and supplies to communities experiencing emergencies. Airlink helps to remove the cost of air transportation as a barrier for NGOs responding to disasters and other humanitarian crises.
The $1million USD grant will be used during 2022 and 2023 to support community-driven disaster preparedness, response, and recovery in the priority regions of Latin America and the Caribbean, Sub-Saharan Africa, and Asia-Pacific. These regions have been identified by Airlink as those most acutely impacted by weather-related disasters resulting from climate change.
A feature of recent supply chain issues that have impacted most economies around the world is the increase in transportation costs for nonprofit organizations trying to move aid. Pre-pandemic, half of all air cargo that traveled around the world was flown in the bellies of passenger aircraft.
“Today, between 20-30% of the passenger planes in the world are still not flying due to a lack of demand for seats”, said Cindy Rocha, Airlink’s Associate Director of Humanitarian Programs. “This has driven up competition for airfreight space and rates. On high-traffic routes, the costs have increased as much as five times the pre-pandemic norms.”
The network of NGOs Airlink supports represents a wide variety of response specializations, including water, sanitation and hygiene, search and rescue, health care, infrastructure repair, shelter, and disease prevention.
“The Conrad N. Hilton Foundation’s support for Airlink comes at a particularly critical time for our organization and the NGO partners we serve,” said Airlink President and CEO Steven J. Smith. “Many nonprofit organizations struggle to compete with the private sector for access to timely transportation, especially when responding to humanitarian emergencies. This grant will help Airlink mitigate those pressures and ultimately result in increased resourcing of communities experiencing crises around the globe.“
The grant from the Hilton Foundation was awarded in honor of the Foundation’s former chair Barron Hilton, who passed away in 2019, and celebrates his legacy as a philanthropist and aviator.
About The Conrad N. Hilton Foundation:
International hotelier Conrad N. Hilton established the grantmaking foundation that bears his name in 1944 to help people living in poverty and experiencing disadvantage worldwide. Today, the work continues, concentrating on efforts to improve early childhood development outcomes, support older youth as they transition from foster care, ensure opportunity youth can access career pathways, prevent homelessness, identify solutions to safe-water access, help integrate refugees into society and lift the work of Catholic sisters. Additionally, following selection by an independent, international jury, the Foundation annually awards the $2.5 million Conrad N. Hilton Humanitarian Prize to an organization doing extraordinary work to reduce human suffering. The Foundation is one of the world’s largest, with assets recently growing to approximately $7.5 billion. It has awarded grants to date totaling more than $2 billion, $207 million worldwide in 2020. Please visit www.hiltonfoundation.org for more information.