Wings of Hope (charity)
Founded in 1962, Wings of Hope is the oldest and largest volunteer, humanitarian aviation based charity in the world. Headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri, USA, it organizes and maintains over 3,000 volunteers in 154 bases in 45 countries. Wings of Hope is strictly humanitarian, meaning it has no religious or political agenda. In fact, it does not accept support from the U.S. government and does not forward funds to any foreign government agencies. The organization focuses strictly on supplying resources to raise the poor to a level of self-sufficiency. The charity was nominated for the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize.
Wings of Hope, Inc., operates worldwide in 45 countries. Villages are not required to meet any conditions to receive aid. 90% of all funds generally are directed to its program services. Major portions of its efforts are focused in the following areas:
- Community development
- Sustainable food
- Micro-loans for women-owned businesses
- Supplies and goods to improve infrastructure
- Peace negotiations
Medical Air Transport
The Medical Air Transport System (MAT) is a unique service offered in the United States in 26 states. The MAT locates and arranges for advanced health care, usually for children with massive birth defects and then transports them to and from that care for years until all treatments are completed. The service is provided at no cost and the organization does not accept reimbursement from insurers or the government.
Wings of Hope operates over 150 bases in 45 countries. The goal is not simply to provide aid but rather to help communities achieve self-sufficiency  and sustainable development. The volunteers come from varied backgrounds and professions, from mechanics to doctors, and together they help the sick, teach, build a community, develop businesses and do everything conceivable to build a region into a level of being able to take care of itself.
Since 1962, approximately 18 bases have closed because the organization deemed that the communities had achieved sustainable self-sufficiency.
From the Wings of Hope website :
- Major General Chuck Yeager, the first pilot to travel faster than the speed of sound
- General Colin Powell, former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and former Secretary of State
- former Senator Elizabeth Dole, North Carolina
- Sanford McDonnell, chairman emeritus of McDonnell Douglas Corporation
- former Senator Alan K. Simpson, Wyoming
- Thomas Patten Stafford, one of 27 astronauts to have circled the moon
- Sherrill Kazan Alvarez, President of the World Council of Peoples for the United Nations
- Justin Francis Rigali, Cardinal Archbishop of Philadelphia
- Kurt Russell, actor
- Dolores Hope, singer, philanthropist and the widow of the actor Bob Hope
- Arnold Palmer, professional golfer
- former Senator John Danforth, Missouri
- Harrison Ford, actor and pilot
- Stan Musial, retired Hall of Fame professional baseball player
- Roy Clark, entertainer, who donated his first plane to be raffled in support of the organization
- World Trade Center Saint Louis 2005 "Global Ambassador Award"
- National Aeronautic Association National Public Benefit Flying Award in 2004 and 2007