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History – The CAUSE Foundation®


2022 – The COVID-19 pandemic continued to have an outsized impact on Foundation activities, much like the previous year; except that both fundraising and grant applications we sharply reduced.    Amazon Smile and Facebook income continued as usual, and CAUSE received funds from The United Mileage Plus program and small projects totaling about $10,000.  $3,000 was raised selling what was left of the candy cane scarves and ties left in inventory.  Again, there were only 19 grant applications received and $97,000 was paid out.  This increase came because the board elected to raise the grant maximums since there were funds available.  The Directors met for the annual meeting on Zoom for the second, and hopefully, last year.  CAUSE is looking forward to a more normal year in 2023!

2021 – COVID-19 was a big driver for The CAUSE Foundation activity in the fiscal year ending July 2021, as it was for just about everyone!  But instead of what was expected, The CAUSE Foundation ended the year with a large surplus.  Donations and fundraising were reduced for obvious reasons, and was expected, but a sharp drop in grant applications was not at all anticipated. Only 19 flight attendants applied for grants, and they were awarded just under $70,000.  The SEA/SFO annual golf tournament (an event held safely outdoors), raised $3,500,and the Chicago Cocktails for CAUSE netted $1,400 from an online-only raffle.  Another $25,000 was received from United Mileage Plus, Amazon Smile and social media fundraising.  The CAUSE Board of Directors’ meeting was held virtually on Zoom for the first time.

2020 – Although COVID hit everyone in 2020, it took awhile to have an effect on CAUSE’s activities since our fiscal year began in July 2019.  The Foundation received about $275,000 in payroll and other donations.  Those receipts (and existing) funds were used to pay out $346,000 in grants to 57 flight attendants in need of our help.  Another $41,000 was raised during the year, including $13,000 from the candy cane scarf and tie sale, $5,400 from the Chicago Cocktails for CAUSE, $3,600 from the SEA/SFO annual golf tournament, and $19,000 from United Mileage Plus, Amazon Smile and other smaller fundraisers.  The CAUSE Foundation was pleased to award the Founder’s Grant to NE Angel Flight and People to People.

 – The CAUSE Foundation received just shy of $300,000 in donations and $54,000 in fundraisers.  CAUSE was able to help 56 flight attendants with a total of $327,000 disbursed during the fiscal year ending June 2019.  Fundraising highlights were the candy cane scarf and tie sale raising $13,500, SFO/SEA Golf raising $4,000, Chicago’s Cocktails for CAUSE raising over $7,000.  Another $30,000 was raised from smaller projects including holiday fairs, uniform sales, Amazon Smile, Have a Heart for CAUSE week, and United Mileage Plus.  This year’s Founder’s Grant went to the Eye Tumor Research Foundation and another $1,000 went to Wings Over Wall Street.

2018 – The CAUSE Foundation was able to assist 27 Flight Attendants with grants totaling $202,000.  We raised over $287,000 through donations; recurring payroll, website donations,  individual donations and fundraisers throughout the system.  Our fundraising efforts included Chicago’s “BeCAUSE It’s Spring”, Chicago’s “Cocktails for CAUSE”, San Francisco and Newark’s Uniform Sales, San Francisco’s “Golfing for CAUSE” which is held annually in Seattle, Guam’s Softball Tournament and BBQ, December Holiday Bazaars and our annual Candy Cane Scarf sale.  All fundraising brought in a total of $59,500 for the year.  We donated $15,000 to the “AFA Disaster Relief Fund” to assist Flight Attendants suffering due to natural disasters and $1,000 to “Wings Over Wall Street” to benefit families dealing with ALS.  We also granted $2,000 in scholarships through our “Berni Schafer Memorial Scholarship Fund”  program.

2017 – The foundation was able to garner $385,000 from donations and fundraisers by June 30, 2017 and CAUSE is now officially a million dollar corporation!  For the past two years we have had the happy problem of looking for opportunities to give out more grant funds, because we know the needs are out there and that the economic pendulum will likely swing the other way as has been the case the past 22 years.  CAUSE only disbursed $190,000 this year due to declining applications.  The Founder’s grant was given to The Dollywood Foundation to help those affected by the fires in Tennessee.

2016 – At year end The CAUSE Foundation has granted tax free grants to 1,100 flight attendants and is pleased to be able to completely integrate former Continental flight attendants into the grant process.  The payroll deduction process is now available to both United and Continental flight attendants as well.  CAUSE continues to have our work cut out regarding getting the word out to especially the more junior employees regarding our purposes and our activities.  Grant applicants keep declining as the economy improves, but there are still many who need assistance.   Payroll receipts are down, but fundraising continues to take up the slack.  Cocktails for CAUSE expands to Houston where The Spring Soiree raises over $5,000.  This is in addition to The Chicago Cocktails for CAUSE event that also raised over $5,000.  The annual Chicago BeCAUSE It’s Spring Dinner Dance and silent auction continues to net over $20.000 every year.  $248,000 are granted to those in need because of various health challenges.

2015 – CAUSE introduces on line giving for monthly recurring or one time donations via the website.  This also is very successful in selling tickets for various fundraising events.  $335,000 raised as of the end of the fiscal year.  $248,000 was disbursed in grants, gifts and scholarships.  To date, there have been over 1,040 grant recipients.  A new fundraiser, Cocktails for CAUSE is introduced in Chicago and it is very well received, raising over $3,500 in the first year.  The American Kidney Association is the Founder’s grant beneficiary.

2014 – CAUSE surpassed over 1,000 people helped!  CAUSE disbursed almost $340,000 in fiscal year 2014.  Three more children of our own who have lost a parent received scholarships from the Berni Schafer Memorial Scholarship funds.  The CAUSE Foundation celebrates its 20th year and brings in $357,000.  Over the years the foundation has kept its administrative costs exceptionally low, about 7-8%.  CAUSE continues to help s-Co flight attendants on a limited basis until we are able to increase donations among that group.

2013 – At the end of the fiscal year 2014 The CAUSE foundation had granted funds to nearly 1,000 flight attendants, several of the new recipients coming from the Continental side.  $386, 000 was raised this year from payroll contributions, individual donations and enthusiastic fundraising.  A special fund was set up to fund grants for the increasing number of new Continental flight attendants needing assistance.  $275,000 in grants were awarded along with three scholarships.  The founder’s grant went to United We Care.

2012 – June 2012, fiscal year continued the trend of smaller numbers, less flight attendants, less income from payroll contributions, and less grant applications received.  Nevertheless the work continued by our many dedicated volunteers.  United Flying partners brought in $402,000 and $345,000 was given to assisted flight attendants with health challenges.  Three students benefitted from the Berni Schafer Memorial Scholarship fund this year.  The first grant was given to a Continental flight attendant this year.  The Founder’s grant went to help those suffering from Lupus.  CAUSE has helped approximately 950 flight attendants since it was founded.

2011 –  By June 30, 2011, The CAUSE Foundation has granted funds to over 900 flight attendants in need (since our founding in 1994).  This year $420,000 was raised through payroll deduction, other contributions and fundraising.  Almost $300,000 was granted in the form of grants, gifts and scholarships.  CAUSE Continues to look for creative ways to let our flying partners know that we are there for them when they hit a rough patch due to medical situations.  Five children of United flight attendants who have lost a parent were helped to pursue their college degrees through the Berni Schafer Memorial Scholarship program.  The CAUSE Founder’s grant was given to an ALS chapter and $2,500 was granted for the benefit of Narita based flight attendants for earthquake relief.

2010 – By the end of the June 2010 fiscal year, The CAUSE Foundation had granted funds to over 880 United Airlines flying partners. In spite of challenging economic conditions $412,629 was raised to further the cause of keeping United flight attendants and their families afloat when work/income is limited to medical reasons. Each time, when it appears that income from payroll deductions are reduced, the committees compensate with increased fundraising. We have two flight attendants’ children who have lost a parent attending college with the help of a Berni Schafer Memorial Scholarship and for the first time this year, we are helping a student with her graduate studies. The Founder’s grant was given to Wings Over Wall Street to further the fight against ALS. There is a great deal of anticipation this year about the changes that will no doubt come with the proposed merger with Continental Airlines. The Foundation is planning to contact Continental flight attendants to inform them of our purpose and activities.

2009 – The CAUSE Foundation raised $400,100 in fiscal year ended June 30, 2009. Over $260,000 was granted to flight attendants to help them and their families through some health challenges, bringing the total of flight attendants aided to 825 since CAUSE was founded. There are two children of flight attendants who have lost a parent currently receiving a Berni Schafer Memorial Scholarship to attend various colleges and universities. Four of the past scholarship winners have graduated this year, bringing the total to seven. The CAUSE Foundation founder’s grant this year went to The Lulalee Foundation, founded by one of our own SFO flight attendants. Lulalee is an organization that promotes reading for disadvantaged young children. A research grant was again awarded to Wings Over Wall Street a foundation dedicated to finding a cure for ALS.

2008 – A system-wide appeal was sent out in November 2007 requesting that all flight attendants consider contributing monthly via payroll deduction was a huge success, increasing funds available to help our flying partners by over 10%. Six childrens of flight attendants who have lost a parent are receiving a Berni Schafer Memorial Scholarship. We are proud that three of our former recipients have graduated. Increased amounts were raised during Have a Heart for CAUSE Week, Holiday sales and The Chicago CAUSE For Dinner event. CAUSE has added significantly to our committee ranks, especially some younger and very enthusiastic volunteers. Funds were contributed to The Alzheimer’s Association in honor of our founder and a check was sent to Wings Over Wall Street in memory of a flying partner who lost her battle with ALS. Over 780 United flight attendants and families have received grants. Our funds raised as of fiscal year ended June 30, 2008 equal $408,050.

2007 – Support from payroll deductions continues its gradual upward trend. It is decided to increase grant support to applicants impacting the bottom line. Nevertheless, The CAUSE Foundation raises $420,000 for the fiscal year. The Foundation has 6 students benefiting from Berni Schafer Memorial Scholarships and attending colleges across the US. Research funds are granted to Wings Over Wall Street which seeks a cure for ALS. ALS has claimed at least two United flight attendants in the past few years. Since its inception, CAUSE has granted funds to 700 of our flying partners to keep the roof overhead, food on the table and the lights on during work time lost due to accident, illness or disability.

2006 – By fiscal year ended June 30, 2006, over 650 United flight attendants and their families have received grants. Six children of flight attendants who have lost a parent are currently receiving a Berni Schafer Memorial Scholarship. Over $50,000 has been raised for a memorial in Shanksville PA dedicated to the crew members lost on Flight 93. This monument is to be dedicated on September 11, 2006. Funds are raised to benefit Freidrich’s Ataxia research, a fatal disease that has afflicted the children of some of our flying partners. Funds are also granted to Wings Over Wall Street in memory of a United flight attendant who lost her battle with ALS. Total earnings this year: $478,635.

2005 – A slight rebound in numbers of flight attendants is reflected in an increase in payroll contributions. Volunteers continue to raise additional funds through holiday sales, Have a Heart Week and CAUSE For Dinner events in Newark and Chicago. To date, CAUSE has helped over 560 flight attendants and their families with basic necessities during periods of illness or other medical problems. Fiscal year ended June 30, 2005 shows funds raised $507,311.

2004 – Marks 10 years of Incorporation. Since its inception over 500 Flight Attendants and their families have been assisted due to illness, injury, disability and death. This continues to be the Foundations main focus and mission. In addition, Scholarship funds have been raised and disbursed to the families of the Flight Attendants who lost their lives on Septemeber 11, 2001. Scholarships are being granted to children of Flight Attendants who have lost a parent not related to 911. Organizations, which directly impact a Flight Attendant or a member of their family, have received funds which are for research, developement or education. Fiscal year earnings $478,064. Fiscal year ended June 30, 2004.

2003 – Large number of retirements and furloughs at United Airlines impact The CAUSE Foundations® monthly income. Newark’s 3rd Annual “CAUSE for Dinner” Fundraiser expands its scope to honor 4 memorial sites dedicated to 911. Fiscal Year earnings $594,262.

2002 – 911 Family Funds are disbursed. Scholarship Funds offered to children of Flight Attendants who perished on September 11,2001. Corporations, Foundations and individuals contribute to our CAUSE becoming our “Best Friends”. Chicago debuts “CAUSE for Dinner-Chicago Style”. Before years’ end United Airlines files for bankruptcy protection. Fiscal year end brings $787,390.

2001 – Berni Schafer Memorial Scholarship Fund is created for children whose Flight Attendant parent or spouse has died. An Advisory Board of Doctors and professionals is established. The CAUSE logo receives its ‘registered mark’ from the trademark and patent office. CAUSE debuts its Website and Newsletter. September 11, 2001 brings with it “the Family Fund”. Newark organizes the first annual “CAUSE for Dinner” Fundraiser, to assist the families of the Flight Attendants lost on Flight 93. $594,482 raised in the fiscal year.

2000 – The IRS grants CAUSE permanent non-profit status. New brochures are designed. Fiscal year $512,174.00

1999 – The need for a centralized office and part time staff becomes a reality. In addition to the established payroll deduction plan, CAUSE also participates in the United We Care campaign. Fiscal year raises $477,369.00

1998 – The CAUSE Foundation receives its ‘registered mark’ from the trademark and patent office. Peachtree becomes the computer program of choice. December marks the month that more than $1million has been raised since the inception of the organization. The fiscal year ends with $382,411.00 being raised.

1997 – Meeting with United Airlines Employee Credit Union. CAUSE becomes the Credit Union’s 1st Organizational Account. CAUSE enters into a recycling test period with Dobbs International. CAUSE grants 1st ‘Organizational Grant’. The 2nd fiscal year raises $296,188.00.

1996 – ‘Have a Heart’ Week campaign in February is the first of what would become the traditional fundraising week. The 1st fiscal year raises $130,000.00

1995 – July 5, 1995 The CAUSE Foundation receives its 501 (c) (3) determination letter from the IRS. The first CAUSE Campaign is held in September with the 1st funds transferring into a CAUSE account in November.

1994 The CAUSE Foundation incorporates in Cook County, Illinois October 28, 1994. The CAUSE logo is designed.

1993 – Proposal presented to United Airlines. A feasibility study begins.

1992 – Proposal presented to the Association of Flight Attendants to create a non-profit Foundation to assist United Airlines Flight Attendants and their families in financial distress due to illness, injury, disability or death. CAUSE: Concerned Attendants for a United Support Effort. Receives unanimous approval.