The success of St. Louis-based Wings of Hope has really taken flight. The charity, which has more than 3,000 volunteers worldwide, has been nominated for the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize.
Wings of Hope helps more than one million people a year by aiding in infrastructure development in places as varied as Haiti and Congo. Volunteers typically use a small bush airplane to transport supplies, empowering the people of the region to set up self-running systems such as health care and transportation.
The St. Louis Business Journal reported that it was of particular interest to the Nobel committee that Wings of Hope does not accept any government money, including any United Nations funds.
Douglas Clements, Wings of Hope president, told CBS station KMOX in St. Louis that every project the organization takes on is approached from a humanitarian angle.
"We do not allow the subject of politics or religion to become involved in anything that we do," Clements pointed out. "We're not anti-religion, we're not anti-Democracy...we work with all governmental systems."
Wings of Hope has won numerous awards, including the United Nations Humanitarian of the Year Award and the Global Peacemaker Award. The organization also was knighted by Pope Benedict in 2008.
The organization's name and history comes from its first project in 1962 when the four founders provided a plane to a Kenyan nurse who took care of sick mothers and children in desert nomad camps.
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