In the closing weeks of the Vietnam War, the US decided to evacuate thousands of children from Saigon orphanages before the city fell to communist forces. The first evacuation flight of “Operation Babylift” crashed after takeoff, and the 175 infants and children who survived were stranded in a rice paddy in a combat zone. When Robert Macauley, a Connecticut paper salesman, heard that the military would not be sending a rescue flight for 11 days, he was appalled. He and his wife mortgaged their house to pay for a charter flight, and within 48 hours they had flown the crash survivors (plus 100 other child refugees) to safety in California.
News of this extraordinary act of compassion reached Pope John Paul II, and in 1981 he asked Macauley to assist the church in airlifting medical supplies and other aid to Poland, then under martial law following the Solidarity protests. The success of this second operation emboldened Macauley to found AmeriCares in 1982, and the organization has continued to provide aid to vulnerable populations with great efficiency ever since.
AmeriCares turned to Hyperakt to create an annual report that conveys their action-driven approach to solving complex problems in urgent situations, as well as their rigorous accountability processes. The organization has had tremendous impact responding to disaster relief, relieving shortages of life-saving medicines, providing access to primary care in low-resource communities, building medical facilities and training health professionals around the world. Their powerful story, is supported by candid photography and bold data visualizations that reveal the depth of their impact.