Corporate ‘angels’ step up and hold fundraisers here

 - October 14, 2009, 4:31 AM

One of the areas that has felt the pinch in the economic downturn has been corporate philanthropy, as charities find themselves needing to do more with less. The Corporate Angel Network (CAN), the nonprofit organization that arranges free flights for cancer patients to treatment using empty seats on business aircraft, is no exception. Along with a decrease in donations, the closure or downsizing of several major flight departments over the past year has had a negative effect on
the number of patients CAN is able to help.

NBAA and other industry entities are using this year’s convention as a platform to step up their support for the Westchester County-based charity. This year’s silent and live auctions at NBAA’s annual gala event– the NBAA/CAN Charity Benefit–will support the charity. In addition, several other events are being held to draw attention and hopefully contributions to the organization.

At Honeywell’s party tonight at the Orlando Hard Rock Café, company organizers will be setting up a booth staffed by CAN volunteers to explain its activities to partygoers and to accept donations. During the event, festivities will be paused while a CAN informational video is shown. Honeywell has promised to match the amount of any contributions collected. “Honeywell recognizes that with decreased business aviation hours, Corporate Angel Network is in need of support. Our customer event, which is themed ‘You Rock’ to celebrate our customers and the business aviation industry, is a great place to raise awareness and support for CAN,” said Rob Wilson, Honeywell’s president of business and general aviation.

In an effort to increase the participation of corporate flight departments in the charity flight program, Dassault is dedicating its annual NBAA breakfast tomorrow morning to CAN. The French airframer will feature a multimedia presentation on the work performed by the organization, which was formed in 1981.

Aerospace Technology Group (Booth No. 2790) will have two Miami Dolphins cheerleaders on hand on this afternoon for four hours. In exchange for a donation to CAN, individuals will be able to pose for a picture with the talented ladies.

While the charity has garnered support from many NBAA companies in the past, the recent outpouring of attention has been both surprising and welcome. “CAN has always received recognition and attention for the humanitarian work that we do, but not so much in such a short time frame,” Peter Fleiss, CAN’s executive director, told NBAA Convention News. “It’s important for the aviation community to show its compassionate side in response to the adverse and unjust attention business aviation has received lately. It’s only because of business aviation that CAN is able to fly 200 to 250 cancer patients a month to life-prolonging treatment. Through out its existence, the program has served more than 32,000 individuals.”