The Conrad N. Hilton Foundation recently awarded $500,000 to Airlink. The grant given in honor of the foundation’s former chairman Barron Hilton, who passed away in 2019, celebrates his legacy as a philanthropist and aviator and will help Airlink mobilize the aviation community to respond to disasters and other humanitarian crises occurring around the globe.
Due to its expansive network of partners and proven success in bringing critical assistance to hard-to-reach areas quickly and efficiently, Airlink is recognized as one of the aviation industry’s premier humanitarian relief organizations.
Since its founding in 2010, Airlink has assisted more than 130 nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) relying on the nonprofit to transport relief workers and humanitarian aid free-of-charge to communities worldwide. The organizations aided by Airlink specialize in providing medical care, food, clean water, shelter, and other assistance to those impacted by disasters, including hurricanes, earthquakes, tsunamis, conflict, and health crises like COVID-19.
“The Hilton Foundation’s gift comes at a time of unprecedented humanitarian need due to the COVID-19 pandemic and therefore increased demand for our services,” said Steven J. Smith, Airlink president and CEO. “We are extremely grateful for the Foundation’s support, which will help us address increased human vulnerability as a result of the pandemic.”
The tremendous need for humanitarian airlift caused by the COVID-19 response, natural and other disasters occurring during the pandemic, and the establishment of COVID-19 vaccine distribution programs around the world has led to a 400 percent increase over previous years in requests from NGOs for Airlink’s assistance.
To help fight the pandemic and respond to disasters, Airlink moved 638 responders and 528,240 pounds of humanitarian aid, including 10 million pieces of personal protective equipment, diagnostic tools, and medical supplies to 39 countries in the past 12 months. More than 5.3 million people were assisted through Airlink-supported programs in 2020.