At American Airlines, service is a way of life. It is an essential component of our company's legacy and identity and our plans for the future. To better encompass the wide range of service work that we pursue, we simply use the term "giving."
Though our global giving initiatives have a multitude of impacts, we strive to keep our energies focused on five key areas.
A targeted approach to global giving facilitates coordinated action among our employees, customers and broader stakeholder groups. Over the years, we've made impressive progress toward these goals, and as our company evolves, we will continue to refine and enhance our approach to large-scale, organized giving.
American Airlines Kids In NeedSM program
Of the many groups we support through our global giving initiatives, children are the most vulnerable to medical, social and economic difficulties, and are least able to make themselves heard. For this reason, we have consolidated our many children's service initiatives under the Kids in Need umbrella to maximize the scope, coordination and effectiveness of our efforts. With broad support from our employees and customers, Kids in Need initiatives foster volunteer and philanthropic action around the globe.
Some of our key progress areas in 2011 included:
- UNICEF - Established in 1994, UNICEF's Change for Good program with American Airlines has generated remarkable support and awareness at American and is one of our largest and longest-running charitable programs. Employees seeking volunteer opportunities through the program can register as "Champions for Children" and collect donations to support UNICEF while at work. In 2011, nearly 3,000 American Airlines employees volunteered to support UNICEF, and together with our customers, raised more than $1.34 million to benefit the organization. Much of this support came from our international operations, including Santiago, Chile where 90 percent of the flight attendant base has registered as Champions for Children. These efforts have earned American Airlines a place shared with only a handful of other corporations as the top corporate donors of the U.S. Fund for UNICEF: American was one of only eight companies in UNICEF's President's Circle of contributors donating more than $1 million in 2011.
- Miles for Kids in Need® – In many instances, children's families are unable to afford flight services needed to access specialized medical attention. To address this issue, since 1989 American has called upon its AAdvantage members to donate "Miles for Kids in Need." In 2011, alone, AAdvantage members donated 117 million AAdvantage miles.
Christmas Treat In Montego Bay
While most American Airlines customers might think of Jamaica as a great place for a holiday retreat, many of the country's citizens lead lives with no such frills. So for more than 20 years, American Airlines volunteers have organized a "Christmas Treat" initiative for school children in Western Jamaica. In 2011, American volunteers traveled to Buckingham Primary School, where 80 children were treated to ice cream, muffins, books and toys and a few Christmas carols to boot.
Even these small initiatives can make a lasting impression.
Military And Veterans Programs
At American Airlines, supporting active military service members, veterans and their families is something we take very personally. Our employees' history of military involvement dates back to our company's earliest days. More than 60 percent of American's pilots and approximately 10 percent of all American Airlines employees are active military service members or veterans. American supports members of the military, veterans and their families, in their communities as well as when they travel. Our support includes special military airfares, contributions to nonprofit organizations and employee engagement in a wide variety of events and activities.
Military and veterans program highlights
- USO Fundraising - The USO plays an integral role in keeping troops' spirits high, and as the official airline of the USO, American Airlines provides funding support in many ways. In 2011, we continued to offer AA gift cards with a USO donation option. Under this system, 10 percent of gift card proceeds support the USO directly — with donations exceeding $37,000 in 2011. We also support AAdvantage members' direct donations to the USO by offering AAdvantage bonus miles for every dollar they contribute. This initiative, called Miles in Support of All Who Serve, generated more than $760,000 for the USO in 2011.
- Snowball Express - While every stage of active service can present difficulties for the families of military personnel, nothing is harder than losing a loved one. In these sad instances, it is more important than ever for families to get the love and support they need. To this end, Snowball Express was created to help provide much-needed comfort and entertainment to children who have lost a parent on active duty. Now celebrating our third year as the official airline of Snowball Express, we help families get onboard for an all-expense-paid trip to Dallas/Fort Worth for an extended weekend of music, entertainment and making new friends. To learn more about Snowball Express, or to register for a trip, visit www.SnowballExpress.org.
Susan G. Komen for the Cure®
Having worked collaboratively for nearly 30 years, American Airlines and Susan G. Komen for the Cure have reached significant milestones together. As the official airline and first-ever Lifetime Promise Partner of Komen, we are proud to support ongoing breast cancer research in every way possible. We incentivize customer contributions to Komen through AA gift card purchases — with 10 percent of proceeds benefitting Komen — and AAdvantage bonus miles for every dollar donated. In 2011, our customers contributed nearly $560,000 to Komen. Aside from direct fundraising, we sponsor many events each year to raise breast cancer awareness, and encourage our customers and employees to make their own contributions to Komen.
For more information, visit JoinUs.AA.com/Komen.
Some of our proudest giving efforts are the ones that are home grown. With a recent uptrend in the activity of employee-led charities, it's clear that American's culture of service is alive and well. Some of our fastest-growing and most innovative employee organizations include:
- Something mAAgic Foundation®: Established in 1996, this organization is composed of employee volunteers and other supporters who grant wishes to chronically or terminally ill children by providing them and their families with an opportunity to participate in mAAgic Flight, an all-expense paid trip to Give Kids the World Village in Central Florida. To date, Something mAAgic Foundation has raised more than $1.5 million in donations and granted wishes to hundreds of children from Canada, Europe, Asia, Latin America and the United States.
For more information, visit somethingmaagic.org.
- Airline Ambassadors International: Founded in 1996 by Flight Attendant Nancy Rivard, AAI is a nonprofit organization affiliated with the United Nations and recognized by the U.S. Congress. It began as a network of airline employees using their pass privileges to escort children in need of medical attention. It has since expanded into a network of students, medical professionals, families and retirees who volunteer as "Ambassadors of Goodwill" in their home communities and abroad. AAI provides humanitarian aid to children and families in need as well as relief and development to underprivileged communities worldwide. AAI escorts children in need, hand delivers humanitarian aid to orphanages, clinics and remote communities, raises public awareness, and involves youth in humanitarian efforts around the world.
For more information, visit airlineamb.org.
- Medical Wings International: Founded in 1998 by Cargo Agent Glenda Johnson, this organization started its life-saving missions with a trip to Haiti with one doctor escorted by Glenda to provide medical care in a small village just outside of Port-au-Prince. Since that time, Glenda has developed a network of 150 dentists, physicians, nurses, ophthalmologists and various non-medical volunteers. She partners with American Airlines employees on the ground to provide logistical support and translation services where needed. MWI has also found sources to donate medical supplies to support a dozen trips each year to countries including El Salvador, Ecuador, Colombia, South Africa, Russia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Mexico, Honduras and Venezuela.
For more information, visit medicalwings.org.
Disaster Aid And Response
In the face of natural disasters, few companies are as equipped as we are to deploy life-saving supplies and relief workers to affected communities anywhere in the world. We proudly offer our aircraft, ground facilities and employee volunteer time to assist with emergency response in any way possible. In recent years, American has played an integral role in supporting the victims of disasters such as:
- Hurricane Katrina in 2007
- Hurricane Ike in 2008
- Earthquakes in Haiti and Chile in 2010
- Japan earthquake and tsunami in 2011
- U.S. tornadoes, floods and wildfires in 2011
One powerful development that has come about as a result of these efforts is our funding partnership with the American Red Cross. While we cannot guarantee our direct support in all natural disasters and emergency situations, we are able to encourage contributions by offering AAdvantage bonus miles for each dollar donated. In 2011, AAdvantage members contributed $1.8 million to Red Cross relief efforts to aid victims of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, as well as those affected by Hurricane Irene and spring weather emergencies in the United State. with an additional $16,181 donated in the wake of Hurricane Irene.
As future emergency situations arise, we will continue to seek ways to draw together our many resources — employees, customers, partner organizations and equipment — to respond as systematically and effectively as possible.