Meet the Too Fly Foundation
Travel is a privilege.
This phrase has been repeated countless times as the travel industry bounces back from its pandemic depression.
Of course, this is a true statement. Travel is a privilege and an act that should not be taken for granted.
As most of us who travel for work, or work in travel, eventually came to this realization, there is a cohort of people who have always known this simple truth. People like Bola Ibidapo and Brandon Miller, who realized long ago while studying abroad that they looked different than the average tourist.
Bola and Brandon are co-founders of the Too Fly Foundation, a Dallas, TX based non-profit organization equipping students from under-resourced communities with passports, travel grants, and educational experiences so that they, too, can see the world.
Both Bola and Brandon were fortunate enough to study abroad during college. But looking around, they didn’t see many other black or brown students. The two bonded over their similar experiences and in 2016, founded Too Fly Fundraiser.
The obvious first step was to enable international travel in the first place, by providing passports to students. But, there was a deeper, more fundamental issue preventing black and brown kids from getting on a plane.
As Bola puts it, who is the foundation’s Executive Director, “when we first started fundraising to provide scholarships for passports, we simply had one mission and passion — to put passports in the hands of as many black and brown students as we could. As we did our pop-up fundraisers around the country, it became apparent that black travel was a space that lacked exposure or encouragement.”
So Bola and Brandon brainstormed and formed four main programs to support the full ‘life cycle’ of the black travel experience.
From Fundraisers to a Foundation
First, the Passport Partner program provides under-privileged students with the financial support to obtain their first passport. Through corporate sponsorship and personal donations, the Too Fly Foundation has already empowered over 170 youth to travel abroad.
The organization’s Flight Academy aims to provide educational tools to students in order to reduce the fear factor of international travel. This is accomplished through student outreach and unique programming that is engaging and relevant for students from middle school up to college.
Brandon Miller, Too Fly’s Director of Strategy adds, “we have to empathize with the fear of the unknown when it comes to travel and the lack of representation or passed-down experience of international travel that promotes inclusivity and comfort.”
During the pandemic, the foundation started the [email protected] program, sending virtual reality kits to students so they could experience a destination remotely. The [email protected] curriculum takes 10 days to complete and ‘visits’ countries such as Belize, Japan, Ghana, Amsterdam, and The Netherlands.
Lastly, Too Fly partners with other local organizations and brands, such as Roc Nation’s Paper Planes and TOMS shoes to activate Too Fly Fundraisers, with all proceeds going towards travel expenses for students.
Dune7 providing partnership strategy and trade communications
Dune7 is thrilled to partner with Bola, Brandon, and the entire Too Fly Foundation team to support their efforts by expanding their roster of strategic partners throughout the travel industry.
Dune7 will offer their services pro bono and leverage their vast network of senior travel executives and key travel trade media and journalists.
The ultimate goal is to increase awareness both for the organization itself and the underlying issues of fair and equitable access to travel.
The hope is that as travel brands talk about ‘building back better,’ they support their verbal intentions with tangible actions that can level the playing field.
Bola says it best: “Too Fly believes there is no better classroom than the world itself. We’re helping to open the eyes of the next big entrepreneur, world-renowned chef, president, CEO, doctor, or architect. Our goal is to make sure black and brown students have equal access to that classroom.”