As of 5 March 2020

About Flight ET302 Families Foundation

Q.  What is Flight ET302 Families Foundation?

A. Flight ET302 Families Foundation was created as an international nonprofit organization in August 2019 to enable all ET302 crash families to work together for their common interests. The families have, thus far, defined those interests, through surveys, as building a memorial on the crash site; holding anniversary events for gathering and mourning; aviation safety; and ensuring that families are full partners in directing Boeing charitable funds to the best use for our grieving communities.

Q.  What is the mission of Flight ET302 Families Foundation?

A.  The Foundation’s mission is “to empower, inform, emotionally heal and equip the families of victims of aircraft crashes, including the 157 victims of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302, and advance the common interests of those families and those of the flying public. The Foundation serves as a unifying and sustainable organization that creates solidarity among the families of crash victims.

Q.  What’s the make-up of the Foundation’s Board of Directors?

A.  There are 11 current board members from around the world, each of whom lost a loved one:

J.S. Gathumbi, President, Kenya-Lost his wife, Professor Agnes Gathumbi

Konjit Shafi Baleker, Vice President, Ethiopia-Lost her brother, Sintayehu Shafi

Huguette Debets, Rwanda/Belgium-Lost father of her children, Jackson Musoni

Tiger Gao, China-Lost his niece, Gao Shuang

Mahlet Hailemarim, Ethiopia-Lost her husband, Tamirat Demissie

Tom Maina Kabau, Kenya-Lost his brother, George Kabau

Michael Kabugi, Kenya-Lost his father, Retired General George Kabugi

Gladys Kivia, Canada-Lost her husband Derick Lwugi

Nadia Milleron, United States-Lost her daughter, Samya Rose Stumo

Mario Jorge Rassul, Mozambique-Lost his brother, Marcelino Rassul Tayob

Joan Vincent, Canada-Lost her daughter, Angela Rehhorn

Q.  Who does the Foundation represent?

A.  The Foundation advocates on behalf of all families of victims of Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET302, and more broadly, the flying public through aviation safety initiatives. The Foundation has 200+ ET302 family member email contacts and the list is expanding.  The Foundation is in regular contact with 120 families.

Q.  How frequently does the Foundation board meet?

A.  Monthly by telephone.

Q.  Who can be members of the Foundation?

A. Any family or friends of ET302 crash victims can be members and be involved with pursuing our collective goals. There are two classes of membership: Voting Members and Regular Members.  One Voting Member per lost loved one can be appointed by that loved one’s family. A Voting Member can cast votes for the board of directors. A Regular Member is any other friend or family of lost loved ones who wish to be involved. Foundation members are not restricted from joining any other association, including the French or Ethiopian associations.

Q.  Do the Foundation family members ever collaborate on common initiatives?

A.  Yes. Foundation family members work together on complex aviation safety matters in front of U.S. government officials; at the ICAO in Montreal; at EASA in Germany; with European aviation regulators & with Canadian Transport Minister.  Foundation family members got the unidentifiable remains buried. Foundation family members got all victims’ families treated equally and fairly.  Foundation family members got Ethiopian Airlines to suspend its rushed and traumatic effort to begin the physical memorial process.

Q.  Do family members have to be active to be members?

A.  Tragically, there have been too many plane crashes. And families have come together following such crashes to work together in one form or another.

Each Flight ET302 family member is invited to participate as much or as little as you would like.  For some family members, healing themselves and others becomes a real focus.  For others, aviation safety and systemic change become a passion.  Still for others, moving forward in a quiet manner is what is of keen interest to them, and so they may not be active at all.  And that’s okay too.  Over weeks, months and years, the interests of family members may change as well.  While once aviation safety was not a priority, it may become a priority.  For others, who might start out actively involved in aviation advocacy may want to at a later date take time to step back and focus on self-healing and that becomes essential.  And still for others who might have taken a quiet route forward early on may feel a desire for a more fulsome engagement in the mission of the Foundation – and their new presence would be welcomed too.

Q.  Does the Foundation have any full-time staff?

A.  Yes. In order to bring critical day-to-day relief to the volunteer board members, the Foundation interviewed four candidates for the role of Interim CEO, and unanimously agreed to retain Tom Gallagher for a period of three months to allow the Foundation to get through the 10 March 2020, one-year anniversary and to help set the strategic direction thereafter. Soon after Tom started, he flew to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, met with family members, Ethiopian Airlines and Boeing representatives, and U.S. Embassy executives.  He also traveled to the crash site.  Tom is an attorney, journalist and a banking, media and nonprofit executive.  He began in January 2020 and is expected to work through March 2020.  There are no other staff members at this time.

Q.  How is the Foundation funded at this time?

A.  We have found temporary funding from a donor to pay for one staff person (Tom Gallagher) and some expenses through the end of March 2020. The donor asked to not be identified. We are grateful for this assistance to help take the administrative burden from our families who are still overwhelmed with sorrow. We hope to identify funding to help us pursue our common goals after March but have not yet done so. Those goals include providing family guidance to distributing the $50 million community support funds set aside by Boeing, none of which has been distributed at this time.

Q.  Will the Foundation become sustainable in time?

A.  We hope it will become sustainable, but it will take time and fundraising to achieve sustainability.

Q.  What is the relationship between the Foundation and the Memorial Committee?

A.  The Memorial Committee is an unincorporated group of family members, representing all family members who lost a loved one, that was initially created by Ethiopian Airlines, who recommended a small 5-person committee. The Foundation stepped in and demanded that the Memorial Committee be larger in order to represent in a more diverse way all of the family members.  Membership on the Memorial Committee was largely self-appointed, while some were encouraged to join the Memorial Committee.

The larger, 13-member Memorial Committee, works with representatives of Ethiopian Airlines and Boeing, in part, to focus on the one-year anniversary memorial service activities, and later to offer input on the creation of a physical memorial at the crash site.

Two Foundation board members, Tom Kabau and Huguette Debets, serve on the Memorial Committee.


Please note that this FAQ may be updated from time to time, as new questions are identified.  To ask a question, please email the Flight ET302 Families Foundation at info@ET302.org, or contact directly any board member.