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What a Force for Change Grant Can Do: Airlink’s Vision

12.17.14 By: Kirsten Kippen

Last month, the Salesforce Foundation announced the 2014 Force for Change Grant Recipients. We could not have been more thrilled to see Airlink at the top of the list, as we worked closely with them to help win this grant out of a pool of 111 applications. We see the Force for Change grants as an excellent example of what a company (either nonprofit or private sector) can achieve when you are lucky enough to have a sizable technology budget at your fingertips.

What is Force For Change

Each year, the Salesforce Foundation awards Force for Change grants to registered charities and higher education organizations from around the world that are focused on creating Salesforce applications that will introduce innovative technologies to accelerate success and positively impact these sectors. The 2014 Force for Change grants program provides up to $1,500,000 USD in grants, with individual awards up to $250,000 USD.

Why Airlink is a great fit for this grant

Airlink enables humanitarian aid worldwide by connecting nonprofits with airlines willing to donate or discount air transportation. Airlink’s grant enables development of a real-time disaster response application, built on Salesforce1, to more quickly and effectively match sudden and urgent humanitarian need with donated or discounted airline supply.

There are four reasons we believe Airlink was a great fit for this grant:

  • Timely: While Airlink has supported humanitarian efforts on every continent since 2012, their recent work with the Ebola outbreak has elevated them as a global leader in disaster relief.

  • Specific: Airlink and Idealist Consulting worked together to pinpoint the specific technical demand that Salesforce is uniquely suited to meet - in this case, how to match airline supply with humanitarian demand. Salesforce Experience Cloud was up for the task.

  • Scalable: Airlink’s airline partners have now flown approximately 3,500 relief workers and 1,500,000 pounds of cargo to date. They have a growing consortium of airline partners including United Airlines, Brussels Airlines, Etihad Airways, and JetBlue Airways, in addition to many pre-qualified humanitarian organizations including International Medical Corps, AmeriCares, Team Rubicon, and Save the Children. In short, they have the infrastructure in place to scale even further with the right technology resources. Furthermore, they’re already looking past this grant to the future, when they hope to become a leader in aviation philanthropy and field corporate donations to directly support the Airlink humanitarian response system.

  • Collaborative: Airlink has a powerful mission, but they knew they’d need help to take their capacity to the next level. Working closely with our team at Idealist Consulting helped them navigate the Force for Change grant process to ensure their submission made a splash.

If you have recently received a grant or are looking to devote a sizable portion of your 2015 budget to Salesforce, make sure you have these four points in place before moving forward. The Force for Change Grants are a great model for how any organization can have tremendous impact through technology. We look forward to working with Airlink in 2015 to make their vision become reality.


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