Miracle Flights was founded in 1985 on the belief that a healthy life is the birthright of every child – regardless of income, ailment or distance from medical care.
Originally called Angel Plane, we started out flying regionally on private charters. Over the years, we became an engaged member of the Las Vegas community, staging a series of popular air shows to raise funds as we grew our network of pilots, started flying coast to coast and helped an ever-increasing number of children in need of specialty care that was only available far from home.
In 1996 we became Miracle Flights for Kids and began to earn national recognition for our work, including President George H.W. Bush’s Daily Points of Light Award in 2001.
By 2005, we were coordinating hundreds of flights every month. We began flying our families exclusively on commercial airlines – where flights were more economical and convenient for our flyers. Demand continued to increase, and in 2010 we coordinated our 50,000th flight.
In 2013, we received a one-time financial gift so large that it changed the dynamics of our organization. The money – more than $40 million – came from a class action lawsuit completely unrelated to our operation (filed against two airlines over fuel surcharges). The judge ordered that all unclaimed money in the settlement go to a worthy charity. He chose Miracle Flights.
Before that, our organization had operated on a shoestring budget, often unsure of how to fund operations for the following year. Those lean times taught us the importance of urgency, accountability and engagement with our donors – attributes that became part of our DNA. In hopes of preserving those characteristics – and ensuring our organization’s future for decades to come – we decided to invest and preserve the principal. The earnings, along with proceeds from our continued fundraising initiatives, would cover the costs of running an even more robust version of Miracle Flights.
Soon after that, we removed “For Kids” from our name and began concentrating on serving adults too. We expanded our outreach efforts to make sure families in need know we’re here for them.
Today, we’re the nation’s leading medical flight charity and one of the only national nonprofits headquartered in Las Vegas. We arrange more than 600 flights every month to medical facilities across the country. Most of those we serve will require numerous flights over the course of their lifetime; some have already been flying with us for more than a decade.
To accommodate those “frequent flyers” and the thousands of new families who need assistance every year, we stage a number of annual fundraising events and campaigns that receive support from donors and partners nationwide. Their continued generosity – coupled with our own careful planning – will ensure that Miracle Flights has the resources to stay in this fight for decades to come, helping children and adults reach the life-changing care they need.