Thursday, January 06, 2005

Effective Connection Requires Choice

We have had a number of
success stories as well as inquiries from companies and
individuals about how to best involve employees to aid
tsunami victims. An important component of any donation
matching program is to permit employees themselves to
choose the charity of their choice. Credible connections
must, by definition, be bilateral.

One charity
that stands out in this effort is Americares -- begun
more than 20 years ago by Robert C. Macauley. He became
famous (and infamous in the world of airlines) when he
airlifted orphans out of Vietnam 25 years ago. A day
after a U.S. Airforce C-5A crashed near Saigon on April
4, 1975, killing more than 100 of the children on board,
Bob Macauley chartered two Pan American 747s to evacuate
the survivors and hundreds of other orphans.

orphans were being flown out of Vietnam while the North
Vietnamese Army was gathering momentum for its drive to
final victory over South Vietnam and the United States.
The roads near the doomed city of Saigon were choked
with refugees. American volunteer workers assembled 243
war orphans at Tan Son Nhut Air Base for a last ditch
evacuation to the United States. The infants and
toddlers were loaded in the cavernous hold of the C-5A.
The big jet lifted off but crashed 20 minutes later,
killing more than 100 of the children aboard.

Within 24 hours of that deadly flight, Bob
Macauley mortgaged his house to charter the two 747s to
get the remaining survivors out of Vietnam, just three
weeks before Saigon fell to the Communists.

the time my $251,000 check to Pan Am bounced, the
orphans were safely in the U.S.," recalled Bob
Macauley." "I gave my house to the bank, and it worked
out fine. The welfare of the children was utmost on my

AmeriCares provides immediate response to
emergency medical needs—and supports long-term
healthcare programs — for people around the world,
irrespective of race, creed or political persuasion.
Since its inception, AmeriCares has provided immediate
medical relief to disaster victims in over 130
countries, and has already reached the $2.5 billion mark
in life-saving aid.

AmeriCares emergency response
teams are spread out around the South Asia region,
distributing our first two air shipments of medicine.
With concern rising about diseases from contaminated
water and poor sanitation, AmeriCares has delivered over
30 tons of relief supplies, including antibiotics,
anti-parasitics, water purification treatments and
medications to treat basic chronic conditions.

While there are dozens of charities doing great
work in the areas devastated by tsunami, Americares
deserves your (and your employees) attention.


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