One of the world’s largest airlines has launched a new program designed to help nonprofits get their missions off the ground – literally.
On Oct. 25, United Airlines launched the first-of-its-kind Miles on a Mission program. The company’s MileagePlus rewards members are invited to donate their miles to one of 12 launch partner organizations, who each have their own goal of between 250,000 and 5 million miles to raise.
“We want to make a difference in the communities where our customers and employees live, work and fly,” said Sharon Grant, vice president and chief community engagement officer at United Airlines. “Miles on a Mission not only allows us to connect with even more organizations than before but also gives our customers a new way to use their miles in a way that supports the charities and causes that mean the most to them.”
United has pledged two million miles to the efforts, matching the first 50 thousand miles raised by each campaign.
The initial group of nonprofits with active campaigns include OperationUSA, Holocaust Museum Houston, NJ LEEP, Swim Across America, Watts of Love, Waves for Water, The Transplant Life Foundation, Off-The-Grid Missions, Miles4Migrants, Animal Lighthouse Rescue and Adaptive Cycling Foundation.
At publication time, the Holocaust Museum Houston was the closest of the initial group to its goal, exceeding 238,000 miles donated toward its 250,000-mile objective. Each campaign is listed with its mission on a site that resembles other crowdfunding platforms, like GoFundMe or DonorsChoose.
“The Adaptive Cycling Foundation is very excited and honored to be included in United’s Miles on a Mission campaign, continuing our alliance with United of giving back,” said Scott Moro, Adaptive Cycling Foundation‘s mechanic and founder. “We create One of a Kind Bicycles for One of a Kind Heroes, Heroes that have already paid enough. The United Miles from the Miles on a Mission campaign helps us to provide zero cost travel to individually fit and consult with these Hero Veteran and Active Duty Service Members and First Responders. It’s exciting, motivating, and we are honored to be involved in United’s continuing mission of giving back.”
The Veterans Community Project was also part of the launch group, but reached its goal of 250,000 miles before the airline could distribute its initial press release.
According to United, as each project reaches its goal, it will be replaced by another; the 12th active campaign currently on its website is the National Immigrant Justice Center.
If a campaign does not reach its goal within 28 days, all donated miles will be returned to the donors.
According to a release from United, eligible charities can apply for the chance to launch a 28-day campaign to raise miles. Approved charities will work with United to reach goals of raising between 250,000 and 5 million miles. Donors also have the opportunity to send miles to any of United’s 20 official partner nonprofits, including the American Red Cross, Shriner’s Hospital and the Special Olympics.
Organizations looking to launch a campaign can visit the Miles on a Mission website for full application details.