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The Next Economy
New Expedia Fund Supports Nonprofits Removing Barriers to Travel

In its first year, the Made to Travel™ Fund has awarded more than $1.5M in grants to a diverse set of organizations working with underserved or underrepresented travelers.

This week, Expedia® announced the completion of the first cycle of its Made to Travel™ Fund — a program that awards grants to nonprofits that share the common goal of removing barriers to travel. In its first year, the Fund has awarded more than $1.5M in grants to a diverse set of organizations working with underserved or underrepresented travelers. Whether it’s making air travel more accessible, sponsoring birthright trips to Africa or helping kids in under-resourced communities get passports, each grant recipient is committed to creating greater access to life-changing travel experiences.

“We launched the Made to Travel Fund because travel is transformative and has the power to change perspectives and serve as an economic driver for many communities,” said Aditi Mohapatra, VP of Global Social Impact and Sustainability at Expedia Group. “We have a vision to power travel for everyone, everywhere; and through these grants, Expedia is able to invest in a diverse group of organizations that are doing impactful work to increase equity and access to travel in their communities.”

In recent years, and especially since the pandemic, many travel operators have focused new attention on not only reducing the environmental impacts of travel but working to ensure the local landscape, local businesses and underserved communities at destinations around the world benefit from tourism. Expedia’s Made to Travel Fund adds a focus on the many organizations that are working to reduce inequities that have prevented people from exploring the world through travel.

Eliza Pesuit, founding executive director of grant recipient Global Glimpse — which empowers students from diverse backgrounds to work together, build empathy, connect with the world, and prepare for the future — said: “This grant will provide travel scholarships to hundreds of high school students from low-income and underrepresented backgrounds across the United States, unlocking a world of opportunity and allowing them to believe that they too are made to travel.”

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Here are the 2022-23 Made to Travel Fund grant recipients:

  1. All Wheels Up's mission is to increase awareness for safer and more dignified, accessible air travel through research and advocacy.

  2. ARRAY Alliance works to advance social justice through art. Myriad programs range from grantmaking, mentorship, education and more.

  3. Birthright AFRICA helps youth and young adults of African descent to explore their cultural roots and legacy through free educational trips to Africa.

  4. Boyz N The Wood aims to build connection, fortify mental wellbeing, provide personal development opportunities and strengthen community for Black men through nature and outdoor-based experiences.

  5. Cultural Heritage Economic Alliance's vision is to create broader access, diversity, inclusion and equitable opportunity for small, BIPOC-run businesses to fully participate and profit in the global travel and tourism industry.

  6. Disability Rights Fund is a grantmaking collaborative between donors and the global disability rights community that provides resources to organizations of persons with disabilities.

  7. Family Holiday Charity helps in-need families get time away together, often for the first time ever, to create happy memories, reconnect and build hope for the future.

  8. Girls Going Global empowers African American and other underrepresented girls to give them the tools to explore the world at large and become global citizens.

  9. Global Glimpse

  10. IGLTA Foundation has a long-standing commitment to promoting equality and diversity within the travel industry — supporting initiatives for industry organizations, leaders and communities to advance LGBTQ+ travel around the world.

  11. Paralyzed Veterans of America serves veterans with spinal cord injuries or diseases such as MS and ALS; and helps them live full, independent lives.

  12. Rainbow Railroad helps at-risk LGTBQI+ people get to safety worldwide.

  13. The National Park Foundation™ helps guide charitable giving to the greatest needs within the National Park Service to sustain the vast landscapes and history of our national parks.

  14. The Venture Out Project® leads backpacking and wilderness trips for the queer and transgender community, and conducts inclusion workshops for educators, adventure professionals, summer camps and more.

  15. Too Fly Foundation equips students from under-resourced communities with passports, travel grants and educational experiences so they, too, can see the world.

  16. UnTours Foundation supports small businesses that create jobs and support Fair Trade, economic justice and a green economy through financial support and mentorship.

  17. World Affairs Council works to advance global understanding and cultivate engagement around critical global issues within its local community through global exchange programs, community events and more.

Boyz N The Wood said in a statement: “We believe that Black men deserve to live full and thriving lives. At Boyz, we use the outdoors to help them restore & reignite the best versions of themselves. Historically, Black people have not had a high degree of access to travel and the outdoors. These grants will support us in co-creating a world where Black men are able to travel and immerse themselves in the outdoors, embracing them both as environments for personal transformation. We will be able to remove barriers of awareness, cost and gear while simultaneously introducing them to new experiences that provide opportunities for adventure, challenge and growth. We are thrilled to see what happens when barriers are removed; and Black men can actively apply tools that support their total wellbeing and authentically show up for themselves, each other and their communities.”

“In-person connection is a key tool for activists – one that is often inaccessible to the global disability rights movement,” the Disability Rights Fund said in a statement. “The Expedia Made to Travel Fund’s generous grant will support disability rights activists’ movement-building by resourcing accessible travel accommodations. Safe and accessible travel opens the door to building and mobilizing a more inclusive movement. DRF appreciates the Expedia Made to Travel Fund for recognizing that equitable access is critical for organizing and advocating to realize human rights.”

The Made to Travel Fund is part of Expedia Group’s Open World™ global social-impact and sustainability strategy, which focuses on enabling more accessible and inclusive travel. Expedia is now accepting Fund applications and will be awarding grants on a rolling basis.