“This donation was immediately put to good use as we are working to secure airlift for a pipeline of more than 80,000 lbs of urgently needed relief cargo.” — Steve Smith, President, and CEO, Airlink
Disaster response nonprofit Airlink has received a donation of $10,000 from actors Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively, to support Airlink’s Haiti earthquake response.
This is not the first time Airlink has received a Hollywood endorsement. The actor and pilot Harrison Ford became a spokesperson for the organization in 2020. While not a pilot, Ryan Reynolds does own and serves as a spokesperson for the brand, Aviation Gin.
Airlink supports a network of over 130 disaster response NGOs with free and heavily subsidized air transport which is provided by a mix of funding and in-kind support from airlines and aviation sector businesses, as well as donations from foundations and private individuals like Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively.
The donation from the Hollywood couple came just a few days after Airlink launched an appeal for donations to support humanitarian aid and responder operations of its NGO partners bringing medical, shelter, water access, and other relief to communities impacted in Haiti by the earthquake.
“This is a very generous donation which came as a wonderful surprise; our team is very grateful to Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively for seeing the importance of giving to ensure logistics and transportation is available to get aid into the country,” said Airlink President and CEO Steven J. Smith. “This donation was immediately put to good use as we are working to secure airlift for a pipeline of more than 80,000 lbs of urgently needed relief cargo.”
The small Caribbean country of Haiti has experienced a number of severe disasters, including a devastating 7.0 magnitude earthquake in 2010. According to the United Nations Development Programme, 24.7 percent of Haitians live in extreme poverty, with over 50 percent of the population living on less than $2 a day. The latest earthquake had a magnitude of 7.2 and was one of two disasters to strike the island in quick succession, the second being heavy downpours from Tropical Depression Grace which caused dangerous flooding.
Current estimates are that 1.2 million people have been impacted by these two recent disasters including 570,000 children. Tragically, 2,200 lost their lives as a result of the earthquake, with more than 300 missing and over 12,000 reported injured. Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively donated a total of $40,000 across four charities, including Airlink, all actively providing humanitarian assistance to Haiti in response to the earthquake.
Airlink has now provided and coordinated flights for 40 professional disaster responders, including search and rescue and medical teams, on behalf of eight organizations. Airlink is now managing a pipeline of requests from those organizations to provide transportation and logistics to deliver aid including shelter kits, clean water supplies, food aid, solar lights, and additional urgently needed medical supplies. Based on past experience, the charity expects to be supporting recovery and rebuilding aid operations in Haiti for many months, and potentially years.