At its recently completed 17th annual International Conference & Trade Show aboard Royal Caribbean’s Quantum of the Seas, introduced its first-ever charitable program – the Family Bonds Foundation Fund, reports assistant editor, Greg Coates in this week’s digital edition of Travel Courier.

Pending IRS approval, the mission of the charitable outreach program is to offer financial grants and other support to select member agents, their children and their communities experiencing hardships.

And while it’s being initially launched in the US, president John Lovell – who’s the brainchild behind Family Bonds – said Canada will follow shortly after. In the meantime, Canadian members are able to donate to Family Bonds. Inder Handa, president, Handa Travel Group in Ottawa, was so impressed with the program he took the lead and donated $1,000 during the conference.

The Family Bonds program was kicked off during the conference with a raffle for a seven-night Crystal Cruises sailing out of Venice, including air from United. Tickets were $5 each and was matching all sales up to $5,000.

According to Lovell, with more than 20,000 independent individual travel agents across the US, recognizes there are affiliated travel agents, families and communities that need assistance because of sudden hardships beyond their control, such as a sudden illness or death of a parent, accident, tornado, fire, or other emergency hardship.

For the full story, check out this week’s digital edition of Travel Courier by clicking here.