One of the larger components of StarMegaDo has always been a focus on charity. The even operates on a break-even budget and any surplus has always been donated to charities associated with the airlines and other programs we work with. In addition, we hold a charity raffle on-board the charter flights, selling tickets and giving away awesome airline-related prizes (and an iPad this year because every raffle should have one, apparently).
Today I was fortunate to participate in one of the more enjoyable aspects of my role as an organizer. High up in the Empire State Building in New York City we are meeting with Lufthansa to present them with a donation to support Help Alliance, the primary charity affiliated with the group. This year the various events associated with StarMegaDo raised over $12,000 through several different channels and events. Of that, we are quite honored to be able to present $5,000 to the Help Alliance group.
Attending the event are Tommy Danielsen, the head of StarMegaDo, Martin Riecken, Lufthansa’s Director of Corporate Communications for the Americas and Seth Miller, Director of Communications for StarMegaDo.
There were a ton of different things going on throughout the week designed to make sure that our group had a great time. One of the highlights, however, was the charity auction that was held during the trip. After having each spent a whole bunch of cash on getting to Frankfurt and in booking seats on the charter flights, I don’t think that anyone really expected the level of giving that was seen.
Even before the raffle started the charity was apparent. Members from around the globe contributed a variety of prizes, ranging from airline amenity kits and sleeper suits to Windows 7 Ultimate. We had signed copies of the final United 737 flight manifests and a bunch of autographed hats from Captain Denny. And some cool electronics, too.
Raffle tickets were purchased in US Dollars, Euros, British Pounds and Canadian Dollars. And there were a LOT of tickets purchased. Several hundred tickets were sold and we raised almost USD $5,000! Handing out the prizes was great fun, as was announcing where the money raised is going to be distributed.
Part of the money is being contributed to FlyerTalk’s kiva.org lending team. That group has lent out over $15,000 thus far and the donations from our trip should have that pushed up over $20,000 and beyond in a hurry.
The other part of the money is being donated to the Captain Jason Dahl Scholarship Fund. Captain Dahl was a pilot with United airlines and was working as the Captain of flight 93 on September 11th. He loved to fly from a very young age and was able to make a career out of it in part due to a scholarship he received to attend flight school. In his memory family and friends have established the fund to provide similar scholarships out to aspiring pilots. Give our love for travel we felt that it was an appropriate way to help further our ability to have this fun.