Cultural anthropologist Margaret Mead once said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”
Mead’s quote speaks of the powerful impact people can have when they mobilize in an organized manner to create change that is often rooted from the bottom or from other sources that may offer their support to a cause or a mission. Every day of the year, non-profit organizations and trade associations nationwide make a difference in countless people’s lives and the communities they serve or conduct their business. However, these organizations would not be successful in pursuing their mission without the support of their most valued asset…volunteers.
AmeriCorps most recent New York-New Jersey-Pennsylvania Volunteer Cities Highlights report shows that in this metropolitan region, 3,735,794 volunteers (23.3% residents) contribute 253.7 million hours of service worth an estimated $6.1 billion in economic value.
Airports throughout the country and in the cities they serve are vibrant economic engines in their communities. Service to those less fortunate is provided by charitable organizations that operate within and around the airport. Many not-for-profit organizations in the New York Metropolitan area provide these services, and they rely on volunteers and donations to continue their philanthropic efforts.
Charitable organizations and donors are a team that helps to keep vital community efforts in place.
Trade associations are voluntary associations of business firms organized on a physical or industrial basis to develop commercial opportunities within their area of operation. The most prevalent trade organizations are chambers of commerce, boards of trade, and development associations. The long-standing commitment of the metropolitan airport business community’s trade organizations has been exceptionally generous due to their core of dedicated members and volunteers.
JFK Airport Rotary Club
The JFK Airport Rotary Club improves people’s lives locally and globally through community service. Its president, Nancy Vargas describes its members as “the most giving and loving members in Queens,” comprised of men and women from local businesses, airlines, and other professionals within or near the JFK Airport community. With the mission statement ‘Service Above Self,’ the JFK Rotary focuses on fellowship, friendship, networking, vocation awareness, and continuing education. In addition, the Rotary Club works closely with organizations in the surrounding community that impacts their residents by providing support and fundraising.
A few of the programs provided by the JFK Rotary Club include their annual Christmas Party for local children with special needs, held at the JetBlue hangar at JFK Airport. Santa Claus arrives by airplane and provides the most magical party with gifts galore and regular drop-offs to the Saratoga Family Inn, supporting the resident’s needs. In addition, the JFK Rotary Club sponsors many organizations, including ‘The Gift of Life Program,’ an offshoot of a local Rotary Club that sponsors terminally ill children from countries with limited medical and technological services for life-saving heart operations. In the past, JFK Rotary members had arranged to meet and assist these children and their families at JFK Airport.
Funding has been distributed to several charities such as:
- Airline Employees Children’s Cancer Victims
- JFK U.S. Customs Explorer Program
- Safe Haven
- Lupus Foundation
- School Sisters of Notre Dame Educational Center for Women
- Life Camp
- Queens Center for Progress
- The USO of Metropolitan New York
- Patient Airlift Services
- Aviation High School Education Foundation
Their most notable fundraising events are the annual JFK Run the Runway 5K held on April 24, and the annual Golf and Spa Day held on August 1.
The Rotary club Leadership includes: Nancy Vargas, President; Katie Bliss, Vice President; Georgette Dennis, Secretary; and Frank McIntyre, Treasurer.
Members meet on the first Wednesday of the month for a dinner meeting. The Advisory Board meets once a month and regularly manages membership, events, and administrative tasks. To learn more or become a part of the organization, visit their website at www.jfkrotaryclub.org.
Since 1970 The Semantics has been helping people in need. Founded by a group of businesspeople from the JFK Community, this charitable organization has expanded its good works throughout the New York metropolitan area. The principal goal of The Semantics is stated as “Benevolence to Those Less Fortunate.” Membership includes principals, managers, and employees of customs brokers, freight forwarders, airline personnel, truckers, cargo container stations, U.S. Customs & Border Protection employees, insurance agents, printers, industrial machinery and food suppliers, and florists, lawyers, and others.
The Semantics raises tens of thousands of dollars annually for people in need, and the organization operates all year, relying solely on its volunteer members to accomplish its mission. There are no paid employees, which allows 100% of all dollars derived from donations and fundraising efforts to go directly to those less fortunate. Beneficiaries of the organization are:
- The Mosaic Food Pantry
- School Sisters of Notre Dame
- Mondays at Racine
- Challenger Little League
- Sh’ma (assisting with those suffering developmental difficulties)
- Helping Hands of Islip
- Tunnel to Towers
On June 25, the Semantics will host their Annual Fishing Trip, and a Golf Outing at Harbor Links on August 18, 2022.
The club Leadership Includes: Wanda Sample, President; Nick Mascia, Vice President; John McPartland, Treasurer; Noreen Caro, Corresponding Secretary; and Terry Bastow, Recording Secretary.
For additional information consult their website at www.thesemantics.org.
Kennedy Airport Airlines Management Council
Kennedy Airport Airlines Management Council (KAAMCO) is an association of scheduled airlines and service providers operating at JFK International Airport.
The purpose of KAAMCO is to foster, encourage and stimulate cooperation among the scheduled airlines and service providers at JFK and to cooperate with the PANYNJ and any other agencies, governmental or otherwise, located at JFK International in the advancement and development of the airlines’ interests and air transportation.
KAAMCO reviews developments at JFK Airport as they may affect the operations of its member airlines and makes recommendations to the respective management of each member airline. KAAMCO serves the community by working closely on common interest issues. In the past, the organization was active in the fund drive to create the former Tri-Chapel complex. Members have also helped each other during blizzards, strikes, weather difficulties, and accidents.
KAAMCO hosts one general meeting per month on the 2nd Wednesday of each month. It comprises two committees, Interline/Ground Ops and KAAMCO Cargo, which holds its own monthly meetings. Additionally, KAAMCO is represented at the JFK Security Council and the JFK Redevelopment Groups. In addition to its meetings, KAAMCO will host two events this year – the KAAMCO Golf outing on June 20, at the Garden City Country Club, with a portion of the proceeds benefitting Angel Flight NE and its annual Black-Tie Dinner on November 18.
KAAMCO Leadership includes: Mark Flug, President; Roger Scott, Executive Committee; Julie Emond, Committee Chair Interline/Ground Operations; and Brian Cooley, KAAMCO Cargo.
Additional information can be found online at www.kaamco.org.
Aviation High School Education Foundation
The recently formed aviation-related organization Aviation High School Education Foundation (AHSEF) provides material and non-material support to Aviation High School students and alumni.
Steve Mikhlin, Class of 1989 and president of AHS Education Foundation, explained its mission, which is to “support their network of graduates with the aim of bringing together like-minded individuals who in turn help to support the continued growth and success of the school.”
Even during the pandemic, this new Foundation successfully raised money to provide scholarships for Aviation High School students and procure tools, equipment, and supplies to further projects in the school. With the Foundation’s many plans over the last two years, the organization’s near-term goal is to help get as many resources to Aviation High Schoo as possible to help it fulfill its promise to its students and the aviation community.
In addition, the AHSEF is developing a professional aviation network with hopes to reconnect Aviation High School alumni. Whether a student, alumni, industry professional, or aviation enthusiast, all are welcome to join and volunteer in the organization.
The AHSEF Leadership Includes: Steve Mikhlin, Anthony D’Erasmo, and Nelson Camacho.
Additional information can be found online at www.aviationhsef.org
JFK International Airport Chamber of Commerce
The JFK International Airport Chamber of Commerce was chartered in 1978 to bring local businesses together to expand their product reach within the airport community. John F. Kennedy International Airport is the only U.S. airport to have its own Chamber of Commerce solely dedicated to representing the interests of the airport business community.
The JFK Chamber of Commerce regularly holds networking events, allowing all members to promote their products and services to other members rather than outside the community. In addition, these events have successfully enhanced the airport community’s general welfare by fostering better relationships between one another and various governmental agencies at all levels.
Notably, the JFK Chamber of Commerce spearheaded the installation of the 9/11 Memorial located at JFK’s Building 14.
JFK Chamber of Commerce Leadership Includes: Al DePhillips, President; Joe Morra, Vice President; Noreen Carro, Secretary; David Siewert, Treasurer; Frank McIntyre, Business Manager; and Clorinda Antonucci, Executive Director.
General meetings are held on the third Wednesday of the month at 9:00 am, usually at JFK Airport, Building 14.
Information on becoming a member of the JFK Chamber of Commerce can be found on their website at www.jfkcoc.org.
Kiwanis Club of LaGuardia Airport
The Kiwanis Club of LaGuardia Airport is part of a global organization dedicated to changing the world one child and one community at a time. The Kiwanis Club at LGA has supported many community projects over its long history.
Notable events include the LaGuardia Kids Day, a full-on aviation extravaganza where visitors are allowed on the airside of LGA to get up close with various aircraft and other airport vehicles.
The Club sends twenty-five local children to Kamp Kiwanis for a week each summer and provides Vaughn College students scholarships through the Pierce Scholarship Fund.
Other programs include:
- Garden School Writing Program,
- Valentine’s Day Senior Project
- Flushing Meadow Soap Box Derby
- Holiday Food Basket Program
- Kiwanis Circle K at Vaughn College
Last year, the Club introduced a car wash at the LGA employee parking lot; it was a fantastic event that the airport employees were happy to support.
The primary fundraiser for the year is the Annual LGA Kiwanis Gala. The Gala is being held on June 10 at Leonards of Great Neck this year.
The leadership of the LGA Kiwanis Club Includes: Cheryl Jones, President; Neisha Joseph, Vice President; Bill Huisman, Secretary; Zendrea Spence, Treasurer; George R. Dixon, Immediate Past President; and Anthony Vero, Board Member.
Meetings are held on the 2nd and 4th Thursday of the month at the LaGuardia Marriott at 12:00 pm. For additional visit them online at www.lgakiwanis.org