ISTAT Jetrader - Autumn 2020 - 23

Q&A

Q&A With the ISTAT Foundation
COVID-19 Relief Grants Subcommittee Co-Chairs

The ISTAT Foundation COVID-19 Relief Grants Subcommittee is comprised of chairs David Swan and Sigthor Einarsson, as
well as Ulf Liljenberg, Christine Rovelli, Jean Stein and Richard Wall.

What made you want to be involved in the COVID-19
Relief Grants Subcommittee?
David Swan (DS): I was already well in it as the chair
of the Humanitarian Aid Committee and Sigthor as Grants
Program Committee chair. I was also on the ISTAT board
for six years. I got involved in the Foundation instead of
just walking away from ISTAT because I knew I could do
something more - give back and be helpful. The Foundation
is voluntary; people get involved because they care and want
to do something. ISTAT is a great entity. It's really special, and
it's great to be able to find unique aviation charities around
the world every year. When it comes to COVID-19 - and I
know unprecedented is an overused word - but it is the
first time something totally global has happened in terms of a
humanitarian situation. No one is unaffected, and aviation has
a unique way to help in these situations. Thankfully, because
of many successful years of ISTAT, we have the funds and the
spirit to provide this extra US$500,000 this year on top of the
annual budget the Foundation has each year.
Sigthor Einarsson (SE): Having served on the ISTAT board,
I was quite amazed coming on as trustee of the Foundation
to find out how much was being done and the dollars being
spent. What I'd really like to try and achieve is to make ISTAT
members understand what's being done. And David's totally
correct. ISTAT is a very special thing in that we've been
clever enough in this industry, or lucky enough, to hold our
own conferences and have our own organization. We're able
to have extra money to push our own interests in the big
world - get the youth involved and do good for charities that
support worthy causes. The COVID-19 Relief Grants were a
very natural addition to what we've done so far. The pandemic
is hurting our businesses and our members. So, it is a great
initiative, and I'm sure we could have gotten hundreds of
people to join in on this subcommittee to help spread the word
and make the best use of the money.
DS: We asked members from both of our committees to
give a good breadth of perspective and experience to help
assess the different candidates, and just about every one of
them said "yes" before we even asked. We had a feeling of
helplessness; this terrible thing that has happened, and there
are some things you can do individually, but it was a great
opportunity to feel like you were doing something to help in
a bigger way. When you watch the news every day and you
see this terrible impact around the world that no one can hide
from, it just feels a little bit better if you can help.

Is there anything in particular about the recipients of the
COVID-19 Relief Grant as to why they were chosen?
DS: We agreed on a matrix system of different categories
that the charities had to comply in terms of ticking the
aviation box, and there had to be a COVID angle or element to
the aid that they're providing. We also wanted to make sure
that there was a good geographical spread. Ultimately, we
looked at, for each dollar given, what would be the maximum
amount of impact for people most in need?
SE: We wanted to feel the effectiveness and that we were
closer to the cause. Not that we wouldn't trust a bigger NGO,
but, if we were to do that, we could simply hand over the
money and tell them to spread it around.
DS: Governance was a big factor. It wasn't a time for
startup charities. We went with very well proven, established
charities that had a COVID-19 angle.
SE: There were one or two obvious winners. There were
some that were perfect, there were some that obviously didn't
fit and then there were a few in between. That was where you
had to start weighing one against another. But those were
maybe the most rewarding and most interesting discussions
in the committee. You think you know where you're going to
end up, but you might end up somewhere else. That's part
of the process, which is why it's important to have a wellbalanced committee.
Tell me a little about the process of reviewing, scoring
and discussing the applications.
DS: Part of the difficulty was when to cut off applications
because there were more good charities coming in each
week. We would score each application across a spreadsheet
from 1-10 and give a comment beside each one. Nothing
was decided until we all spoke about it. There were some
we needed to do more research on how aviation related they
were or how much real COVID-19 work they were doing. We
also knew there were some that we might not help at this
time but might be able to help later in the year. Some of the
letters we got, it does brighten your day - a bit of light in the
darkness. We're not going to save the world, but it does feel
a little bit better. ISTAT members' contribution through their
membership is making a difference around the world.
SE: I'm really happy with the slate we came up with. It's a
great combination of charities.
DS: Among all this bad news, it's great for members to
hear some good news. The worst times can bring out the best
in people.

Jetrader

* AUTUMN 2020 * 2 3



ISTAT Jetrader - Autumn 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of ISTAT Jetrader - Autumn 2020

ISTAT Jetrader - Autumn 2020 - Intro
ISTAT Jetrader - Autumn 2020 - Cover1
ISTAT Jetrader - Autumn 2020 - Cover2
ISTAT Jetrader - Autumn 2020 - 1
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ISTAT Jetrader - Autumn 2020 - 3
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