Skip to main content

Southwest Airlines Community

Championing Communities: Southwest Airlines Charitable Grant Recipients—Where Are They Now?


Championing communities is at the Heart of Southwest Airlines. We have a long history of giving back to the places where our Employees and Customers live, work, and play. In 2018 we launched the Southwest Airlines Charitable Grant, providing a total of $1 million to innovative national and local nonprofits making a difference in communities around the globe.




Last December, Southwest announced the 24 recipient organizations of our charitable grant program. The grants ranged from $25,000-$50,000 and focused on leadership development, STEM education, and workforce development. Supporting these types of organizations not only builds stronger communities but addresses a real business need—ensuring we have a strong Employee pipeline in the years to come.


These innovative nonprofit organizations have been hard at work making meaningful impacts with the funds they received. Take a look at the inspiring accomplishments each organization has achieved thus far!


Leadership Development

Arnold Air Society -Silver Wings

  • Program expanded to include 10 scholarships for African American students that will be distributed during the academic year.

Center for Asian Americans United for Self Empowerment (CAUSE)

  • Fifteen CAUSE Leadership Academy (CLA) college undergraduates in Los Angeles and Orange County were empowered to lead and represent the Asian Pacific American (APA) community. Students spent nine weeks placed in a variety of public, private, or nonprofit sector internships.

East Oakland Youth Development Center (EOYDC)

  • Approximately 200 youth received professional development and leadership training.
  • Approximately 90 youth served as paid youth leader interns and participated in work-based learning at the EOYDC.
  • More than 95 percent of youth successfully transitioned to the next grade level after participating in the work-based learning internship.
  • More than 500 children and youth received support from EOYDC youth leaders through their involvement in EOYDCs programs.

Hispanics in Philanthropy

  • Staff developed and refined the curriculum of the Latinx Líderes Program, now in its fourth year, to create a program that advances the development of mid-career Latinx leaders.
  • The largest cohort to date, with 31 new program participants, has been announced. The cohort consists of emerging nonprofit and philanthropic leaders from across the U.S., including Puerto Rico, and one leader from Mexico. 

Ocean Discovery Institute

  • A total of 150 students will be served through the Leaders Initiative, creating the next generation of science and conservation leaders. Seventy middle school and high school students have been served to date through this initiative.
  • One hundred percent of high school seniors involved with the program have graduated high school and moved into higher education.

National Association for Latino Community Asset Builders

  • Selected 20 fellows for the ninth cohort, the largest class to date.

MANA de San Diego

  • MANA reached 117 Latina youth and 32 Latina professionals through the 2018-2019 Hermanitas Youth Leadership Mentor Program (Hermanitas) and 2019 Latina Success Leadership Program (Latina Success). Participants in the program build leadership skills and take steps to improve their professional success.
  • Hermanitas empowered 67 Latina youth in middle and high school to explore various career paths, build essential life skills, and make progress achieving their educational goals. All 13 seniors graduated high school on time and will begin post-secondary education in the fall.

The Women's Foundation of California

  • In February, Women’s Policy Institute (WPI)-Local graduated 19 fellows who had successfully completed the year-long fellowship in the Los Angeles, San Bernardino, Riverside, and Monterey counties.
  • In August, WPI-State graduated its 15th class of 30 fellows.


STEM Education

100 Black Men of Atlanta

  • The program has reached more than 5,000 students through Robotics, Saturday School, Leadership and Community activities, and a Lecture Series.
  • Started a Code-A-Thon program for students in grades 9-12.

SciTech Institute (formerly Arizona Technology Council Foundation)

  • The 2018-2019 global cohort consisted of 720 CSOs (Chief Science Officers). Of that number, 556 CSOs were from six U.S. states and 164 CSOs from two countries.

Children First Fund - The Chicago Public Schools Foundation

  • The Air Force Academy High School (AFAHS) is in the process of expanding STEM education with more meaningful aviation experiences.
  • AFAHS revamped its Flight Lab with cutting-edge supplies and equipment needed to support student learning in aviation. Grant funds enabled the school to purchase two new virtual reality simulators. The simulators allow a single student to fly with a headset, which perfectly simulates the views and sounds from the cockpit of any model plane taking off from any major airport in the world.

Code Nation (formerly ScriptEd)

  • Code Nation served a total of 1,420 students nationally in the 2018-2019 school year, consisting of 1,151 Intro to Web Development (formerly Foundations) students and 269 Fellowship (formerly Advanced & Studio) students, all supported by a team of 269 volunteers from the tech industry.

Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas

  • The Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas partnered with Title 1 Dallas ISD Schools to make the STEM Center of Excellence a field trip destination to 1,027 girls from Dallas, Longview, and Tyler in grades first through ninth.
  • More than 446 girls participated in STEM-themed overnight and week-long camps; 925 girls attended STEM-themed day camps.

Greater Milwaukee Committee for Community Development

  • Nine students enrolled in two aviation courses for the fall semester.
  • Textbooks and tools were purchased for students in the aviation mechanics program. Students began their first college aviation course and have taken two field trips: one to General Mitchell International Airport to see the Southwest operations, and another to the Milwaukee Area Technical College (MATC) Aviation Center.

St. Louis Science Center

  • During summer 2019, six discovery flights were completed with teens at a local flight training company. Additional flights are planned for teens this fall. Students spend time in the air practicing stalls, emergency landings, and being invited to take off/land.
  • During the 2018-2019 school year, 5,673 students were served through the A’STEAM program [Afterschool-Science, Technology, Engineering, Art (Design), and Mathematics] at 150 sites. Additionally, more than 800 students were served through YMCA Apartment Outreach efforts (Opportunity Centers) and YMCA Early Care preschool and toddler programs.


Workforce Development

Cafe Momentum

  • A new fellowship partnership with Ruthie's Rolling Café, now "Ruthie's Rolling Café Powered by Café Momentum," was established. Café Momentum will add a second food truck to the Ruthie's partnership, enabling more interns to transition to the next step after Café Momentum with a degree of support.
  • In Q1 and Q2 2019, 81 percent of orientation participants progressed to intern status.
  • One hundred percent of interns who successfully exited the program have found employment post-program.

Career Learning & Employment Center for Vets with Disabilities, Inc. (Operation: Job Ready Veterans)

  • Over 75 veterans and military family members attended the five-day VETS seminar. Participants were provided:
    • Career interest and work value assessments
    • Interview preparation
    • Networking strategies
    • Resume services
    • Skills inventories

Connections to Success

  • Eighty-one women have been served by programs, including a bi-weekly Connect group, monthly Professional Women’s Group, and Life Transformation Coaching. Of that number, 22 women have completed the full Personal and Professional Development (PPD) training.
  • Sixty-four percent of women that have gone through PPD are employed and earning a median wage of $12.79/hour.

Hallmark University Inc.

  • Hallmark University kicked off the Aeronautics College Head Start Institute (Aero CHI program) with a partnership with North East Independent School District. The program has since expanded its partnership with a second school district, San Antonio Independent School District (SAISD).
  • One cohort of the Aeronautics College Head Start Institute has graduated.

Bridges from School to Work (formerly Marriott Foundation for People with Disabilities, Inc.)

  • Provided service to 14 high schools in Clayton County and Fulton County to identify, recruit, assess, and enroll 60 students receiving special education services.
  • Five high school students with disabilities have been enrolled and placed in jobs.

Sword to Plowshares Veterans Rights Organization

  • Served and stabilized nearly 200 veterans and enrolled 126 veterans in employment and training services in the San Francisco Bay Area.
  • Provided employment assistance integrated with wraparound supportive services to 196 homeless and low-income Bay Area veterans.

Women's Bean Project

  • Supported the hiring of 33 low-income women in the transitional employment program.
  • Sixty-one percent of program participants who completed the probationary period graduated the program with fundamental workplace competencies, and 100 percent of graduates were placed in career entry-level jobs.

YouthForce NOLA

  • In 2019, there has been a 25 percent increase in senior graduates from the prior senior cohort.
  • Two hundred and thirty-six rising seniors from 19 different public high schools started the school year having completed meaningful work experience via the YouthForce Internship program.


The impacts of the Southwest Airlines Charitable Grant funding will continue to be seen as these organizations share their hearts and bring people together. We are thrilled to support the efforts of these 24 extraordinary organizations and will continue to champion communities across the globe.