Mondial Assistance is one of about a dozen companies leading the charge in a global campaign to raise more than $1 billion to fight HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis and to improve children's health.
Mondial, which has its U.S. headquarters in Henrico County, joins major travel ticket distributors and corporate travel buyers in the MassiveGood campaign. The program was launched yesterday at the United Nations' New York headquarters.
The partners include ticket distributors Amadeus, Travelport and Sabre Holdings as well as agencies such as American Express Business Travel and Carlson Wagonlit Travel.
Travelers will have the option to donate $2 or more when buying tickets from companies such as Travelocity and other travel agents.
The donation option will show up like any other choice when buying a ticket or travel package.
Mondial, a worldwide travel insurance and assistance provider, serves as the call-center partner for the MassiveGood campaign.
When travelers donating to the cause through one of the other partners have questions, calls are routed to Mondial's Parham Road offices.
Daniel Durazo, Mondial's director of communications, said the company has been gearing up for the MassiveGood project for the past several months.
"We have developed training programs and trained new and existing staff to handle MassiveGood stand-alone calls and help desk questions. We have hired about 10 people so far, and I expect we'll continue to add people as the program grows and the volume of calls increases," he said.
Durazo said the program was a natural fit for the company. The Henrico offices are the U.S. division of French travel insurance company Mondial Assistance, which is owned by Germany's Allianz AG.
"As a global company, we are focused on fundraising efforts that have a global scope," he said.
Durazo and other Mondial executives spent most of this week in New York City attending activities related to the launch of MassiveGood.
The money raised through the travel sites will go to the Geneva-based Millennium Foundation, which was founded in 2008 to find innovative ways to finance U.N. health goals, and the U.N.-funded UNITAID, an international facility for purchasing drugs to fight AIDS and other diseases hosted by the World Health Organization.
Some of the money also will go to the Clinton Health Access Initiative, which is part of former President Bill Clinton's charitable foundation, and others providing treatments in poor countries.
Durazo said Mondial began working with the other companies in September.
"I think this will catch on all over the world. And this is basically an institutionalized version of what we saw happen after the Haiti earthquake, where people were texting in $10," said Clinton, who attended yesterday's launch.
Dr. Philippe Douste-Blazy, who chairs the Millennium Foundation and UNITAID, said MassiveGood builds on the 2006 tax on airplane tickets that 16 nations adopted to help raise more than $1 billion for health initiatives.
"Hundreds of thousands of women, children and men will be able to access the most precious of human rights, the right to health care," Douste-Blazy said, calling the donation effort a "great citizen movement around the world."
Contact Louis Llovio at (804) 649-6348 or .
The Associated Press contributed to this report.