Our founder Herb famously said, “We manage in good times so that we'll do well in bad times.” As a Company, we see the impact of this in many of our business practices like fleet management, schedule planning, and fuel hedging to name a few. But did you know we have also bolstered our community outreach strategy to weather any storm? A few years ago, the Community Outreach Team set out to safeguard our business of connecting People and championing communities, and one strategic part of that was establishing the Southwest Airlines Foundation.
The Southwest Airlines Foundation
Over the years, Southwest has grown into a trusted global corporate citizen, and in 2019, we invested more than $24 million into our communities through cash, travel, and other in-kind support. The Southwest Airlines Foundation is one of the many ways we can continue our commitment to social impact and community resilience. In these tough economic times, we have scaled back some of our financial investments. However, we can continue to take care of communities in need by carefully leveraging the Southwest Airlines Foundation along with our other in-kind resources, including our heart-filled volunteer efforts, to invest in nonprofit organizations.
For example, when the global pandemic forced the cancellation of the Southwest LUV Classic Golf Tournament & Party, Southwest doubled down on our commitment by investing $1 million (with grants from the LUV Classic Special Event fund at Silicon Valley Community Foundation) across 96 markets to support 101 nonprofits serving children and families affected by COVID-19. Additionally, we made two impactful donations to long-time partners the National Urban League and 100 Black Men of America to demonstrate our commitment to championing diverse communities in these times of social unrest. With our extreme focus on controlling costs this year, it would have been impossible to make these donations had it not been for the funds preserved.
Investing our Company dollars wisely
The purpose of any foundation is to create a permanent trust where corporate charitable donations can be preserved and invested for future use. Our Leaders recognized the value in creating the Southwest Airlines Foundation and we investigated the options to best suit our long-term needs. In the end, we chose a Corporate Advised Fund (CAF) model, which provides the benefits of a charitable foundation, but with less cost, overhead, and legal requirements than starting a nonprofit from scratch.
Recently, Southwest was featured on the Philanthropy Now podcast with Silicon Valley Community Foundation (SVCF). To learn more, listen to the podcast to hear how we’ve leveraged our Foundation to stand by our communities this year.
The Southwest Airlines Foundation is an important component of our overall social responsibility efforts and has been a vital asset to helping us continue to support our communities in these difficult times. Whether in the air or on the ground, community is at the Heart of what brings us together.
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As the airline with Heart, Southwest is known for taking care of people today, and every day. For more than 40 years, we have championed communities by supporting the work of nonprofits and organizations all over.
Now through May 31, Employees and Customers can visit southwest.com and donate to these charities dedicated to bringing life-saving materials and resources to communities impacted by COVID-19:
American Red Cross
The love doesn’t stop there—anyone who donates $25.00 or more to one of these heroic charities will receive ten Rapid Rewards points for every dollar donated.* Points will be reflected in your Rapid Rewards account 30 to 45 days after a donation has been made.
We applaud these organizations and their relentless commitment to stand at the frontlines of this crisis and are honored to do what we can to continue supporting their missions!
Whether in the air or on the ground, we believe community is more than a place—it’s at the heart of what brings us together. #SouthwestHeartStrong
Interested in learning more about what these organizations are doing to respond to COVID-19?
American Red Cross Due to the Coronavirus outbreak, the American Red Cross is making additional investments to maintain a sufficient blood supply to help patients in need and prevent any shortages, and to ensure it can continue to provide critical relief services to people affected by disasters. Donate to help the Red Cross continue to deliver its lifesaving mission nationwide due to this public health emergency.
Team Rubicon In response to COVID-19, Team Rubicon (TR) is serving communities across the country by mobilizing their 118,000+ mission-critical, veteran and civilian volunteers to fill vital needs. TR is assisting at food distribution centers, delivering food to vulnerable populations, coordinating logistics support for those in temporary quarantine, and staffing coronavirus testing facilities throughout the U.S.
Feeding America Using the COVID-19 Response Fund, Feeding America helps support a nationwide network of 200 food banks to meet the growing needs of their communities. These local food banks are distributing meals to people facing hunger. Donations will support those most impacted by this pandemic, so they won’t have to worry about where their next meal is coming from.
*Rapid Rewards account information required. Points will be reflected in your Rapid Rewards account within 45 days after a donation has been made. Maximum earn limit of 10,000 points. Rapid Rewards bonus points do not count toward A-List, A-List Preferred, or Companion Pass qualification.
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Southwest Airlines is dedicated to living responsibly and no program better shares that commitment than our Repurpose with Purpose initiative, a program where Southwest helps repurpose discarded items and materials into useful products with the help of partner organizations.
We are thrilled to share our Repurpose with Purpose program video has been entered at the 2018 International Corporate Citizenship Film Festival. Sponsored by the Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship, this festival honors the hard work of citizenship programs around the world. To reach the final round of the film finalists, we need your help to spread the LUV! Please take a moment to view the Repurpose with Purpose video and vote for it by clicking HERE.
We’re proud to celebrate our talented Employees and partners who have made this program possible and encourage you to share this link to vote with your family and friends.
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At Southwest Airlines, our Employees make it their mission to connect People to what’s important in their lives, but some Employees take it a step further. They connect Hearts.
Like many of our stories, it all started on a plane. Las Vegas-based Flight Attendant, Gina Duvall, connected with fellow Coheart, Gary Bjarke, Dallas-based Director Contract Services in Technical Operations. In Gina’s words, “When I caught Gary's ear on a flight, and with his ties to the community, it was serendipitous!”
Gina and Gary discovered something they had in common beyond working at Southwest—Gina lives in Albuquerque, and Gary was born and raised in New Mexico. Gina asked if Gary and his Team would be willing to help her support New Mexico Kids Matter, a nonprofit organization dedicated to serving children who have been abused or neglected.
Gary went to his Team in Dallas, and Senior Manager Airframe Field Services, Joe Brown. Joe says, “For me it started with Gary asking us to get involved. With the passion that Gina and Gary had for this effort, we had to get behind it. His Heart is so big and we could see how touched he was when he talked to us about it.”
Gary’s passion for this cause is evident. “It’s really about the kids. Through no fault of their own, these kids are removed from their homes, and in many cases separated from their siblings, and placed in a foster home with few or no personal effects. Think about that, the people who brought you into this world—and the one place that the majority of us consider our safe place—are gone. When I look into the eyes of some of these kids, it crushes me. I just want them to know that people do care and they do matter.”
At this year’s event, 228 backpacks were handed out with school supplies. Thanks to the fundraising efforts of Gary’s Team, each child received a $100.00 Target gift card, a value of $22,800. The children were then introduced to a volunteer shopper who helped them shop for back to school clothes and other necessities. Additionally, through Southwest Airlines’ Tickets for Time program, New Mexico Kids Matter earned four roundtrips. They plan to use the tickets to travel to other states to promote awareness and to raise money for the cause.
Gina shared, “Beyond the joy of helping my community I have learned that as Employees of Southwest we have a different drive when it involves helping those who are less fortunate. Maybe because we are fighters and our history is based on being the ‘under dog’, but it is an unexplainable feeling when we gather from all over Inflight, Tech Ops Support, Provisioning, Customer Service, Call Center Support, and Operations to help these children.”
Joe put it best when he said, “When we go to events like this, I believe Gina gives us too much credit. It is her Heart and Dedication to these kids that is amazing. We are blessed to be involved and that all started with Gina getting Gary’s ear on a plane.”
We’ve all heard the phrase, “Teamwork makes the dream work.” In this case, Teamwork truly made dreams come true for some very deserving children in New Mexico.
Rachel Roberts, Gary Bjarke, Joe Brown, (Joe's daughter), and Gina Duvall
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Happy Earth Day! Every year, Southwest celebrates Earth Day in a variety of ways—recycling cans inflight, participating in clean-up projects in our communities, and planting new spring trees and flowers at home. This year, in honor of Earth Day, we are proud to announce that the Southwest Heart of the Community Program is growing again! Since our launch in 2014, Southwest has helped communities create and activate new outdoor public spaces in Detroit, Providence, and San Antonio, with additional projects underway in Chicago and Houston. The movement of placemaking traces its roots back to environmentalism. Today, it focuses on building public spaces as a catalyst for sustainable, healthy, inclusive and economically viable neighborhoods strengthened by broad community participation and engagement. The Southwest Heart of the Community Program emphasizes that we reduce environmental impact by challenging individuals to reimagine public space without reliance on major capital projects and overconsumption of natural resources. With Southwest’s investment in placemaking, we are taking our commitment to People and Planet to a new level. Today we are celebrating another milestone in our Heart of the Community program as we open our next two newly reimagined public spaces in the cities of San Diego, California and Baltimore, Maryland. Recipients of Heart of the Community grants in 2014, these locations have transformed from empty, underutilized plazas to vibrant spaces that connect local residents, businesses, cultural institutions, and tourist attractions through the use of seating, shade, greenery, and new programming to activate the space. Southwest Leaders, Employees and local dignitaries were on hand to celebrate the new spaces with Earth Day events and activities. We think you’ll agree that the before and after photos are quite astonishing! In addition, we are pleased to announce our 2015 Heart of the Community grant recipients: Albuquerque, New Mexico; Ft. Myers, Florida; Jacksonville, Florida; Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Portland, Maine; and St. Louis, Missouri. These six Heart of the Community spaces were selected through a competitive application and interview process from 38 interested cities. To celebrate, our Employees in those markets participated in volunteer projects around the area where the new spaces will be created. And additional environmental service projects are taking place around the Southwest system over the next few weeks! As a part of their grant, each local partner will receive technical assistance from our nonprofit partner, Project for Public Spaces, to set a clear vision and programming platform for activating the space. The grant also funds a variety of physical amenities, such as tables and chairs, outdoor reading rooms, and information kiosks – bringing new life and vibrancy to these Southwest spaces. Do you have a favorite public space? Comment below to tell us what makes it great, and how you are celebrating Earth Day in your community today!
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Last April, Southwest launched its Heart of the Community Program to support Placemaking, the activation of outdoor, public spaces in an effort to enhance and strengthen communities. Throughout the year, we’ve selected five projects to receive the Heart of the Community grant to enrich communities we serve around the nation. Today, we announced the University of Chicago’s Art + Public Life Initiative and its Office of Civic Engagement as the sixth project to receive a Heart of the Community grant. Southwest is in the business of connecting people to what’s important in their lives, and we realize these connections often centered on their communities. We believe public spaces have the power to transform communities and we’re excited to support the efforts to revitalize this space in Chicago, a city we’ve been serving for nearly 30 years, and our number one airport in terms of departures. The Chicago Heart of the Community grant will help transform a vacant lot in the Washington Park neighborhood into a community gathering place. Southwest will collaborate with Project with Public Spaces and the local community to reimagine and recreate the new area. Community members have participated in every step of the process so far, from planning to programming, with local artists submitting their design proposals. The project will be completed in 2015 to provide Chicago’s South Side a new community area. We look forward to continuing our support of the communities we serve through initiatives like Placemaking. To learn more about the Heart of the Community Program and Project for Public Spaces, visit http://www.pps.org/heart-of-the-community/.
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About three years ago, we started on a journey in the Community Outreach Department at Southwest, speaking with our Employees and our Leaders about what mattered to them and where they thought Southwest Airlines could make the most difference in people’s lives and where they’d like to see Southwest lead as a corporate citizen. What rose to the top from those interviews was the idea of Community, making a difference in our neighborhoods and helping making connections. We believe that public places—such as neighborhood parks, community gardens, and downtown squares—are truly the heart of the local communities where our People call home and where our Customers love to visit. As a result, the idea of supporting and revitalizing public spaces is one that spoke to the heart of who we are. The next step was figuring out how to do that in a way that made sense to Southwest. And we found it with Project for Public Spaces, the pioneering nonprofit behind Placemaking. Behind great public places around the world is a quiet, 30-year movement called Placemaking, which breathes new life into neighborhoods by reimagining public spaces around the needs and desires of the local community and strengthening connections between people and the places they share. At Southwest, we have always put People first in the decisions we make about our business. And what attracts us to Placemaking is that it, too, puts People first – only in the process of designing and improving public spaces. On Monday, our three-year journey came to life in Travis Park in San Antonio when Gary announced a multi-year commitment to Placemaking through the Southwest Airlines Heart of the Community program, where we will revitalize and activate public spaces. Through the Heart of the Community program, we will work with PPS and collaborate with local community partners in cities across the country to bring new life to their public spaces. We were in Travis Park to unveil our third pilot project where we gave a grant to provide amenities and programming in the historic Park; more than 40 Employees were on hand to volunteer with opening-day festivities such as yoga and Zumba classes, games, the dog park, and many other programming opportunities. Our other two pilot projects were in 2013 in Detroit and Providence. I think Gary said it best when he said “our Purpose is to connect People to what’s important in their lives through friendly, reliable, and low-cost air travel. Often, the important moments that happen during those connections include a special place—somewhere that has meaning, that brings people together, that creates a sense of belonging and a sense of community.” That is what Southwest is all about. We look forward to supporting the communities we serve throughout the United States and in our new international destinations with projects that help create these public places that are at the heart of the community. To learn more about the Heart of the Community program and PPS, visit www.pps.org/heart-of-the-community. #PlacesWeLUV
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At Southwest Airlines, we’re known for giving from the heart, whether that is giving great Customer Service or serving our communities by giving our time through volunteerism. Each and every day, we connect People to what’s important in their lives, which can be going to see friends and family; experiencing a special occasion; or, sometimes, that something important can be making a positive difference at home. Our Servant’s Hearts beat strongly at Southwest and in our communities, and we are proud to introduce our newest “From the Heart” ad that celebrates our commitment to our communities and to what’s important - each other.
The commercial shows our wonderful Southwest Airlines Employees serving our Customers whether it is at 30,000 feet or in their communities in a variety of ways. We believe in connecting people to what’s important in their lives. Service means many things, and at Southwest, it means a smile, a helping hand, and going the extra mile. We may be an airline, but we do some of our best work on the ground. Keep an eye out for the commercials on Fox, CBS, and NBC during your favorite NFL games over the next couple of Sundays. Learn more about all that we do at southwest.com/citizenship or by searching #LUVfromtheheart.
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We may be an airline, but we do some of our best work on the ground. That’s the theme of the new Southwest ad campaign you may have seen while watching the NFL over the holidays! These new spots celebrated Southwest Employees and highlighted how we give back and make a positive difference in the communities we serve. Like the holiday season, the ads on TV have come and gone, but we liked them so much we’ve compiled the best highlights in this video for you to enjoy. Southwest Airlines is dedicated to the communities we serve—whether our Pilots are in 5 th grade classrooms using their time off the clock to educate students and plan for future success through our Adopt-A-Pilot program, or Employees in our Network Planning Department are rolling up their sleeves to plant a community garden, or our Employees are serving on local boards and Chambers. Wherever our Employees are giving back, it always comes from the heart. This video illustrates what giving back means to Southwest and all the many ways we care about our Employees, our Customers, and our Communities where we live and work. Southwest is a Company who cares, and we give back in a variety of ways. No matter how or where we are serving, one thing remains the same- it always comes from the heart.
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We may be an airline, but we do some of our best work on the ground. That’s the theme of the new Southwest ad campaign that will debut in primetime during NFL starting Sunday, Dec. 16! The new spots celebrate Southwest Employees and highlight how we give back and make a positive difference in the communities we serve. Southwest Airlines is dedicated to the communities we serve—whether our Pilots are in 5 th grade classrooms using their time off the clock to educate students and plan for future success through our Adopt-A-Pilot program, or Employees in our Network Planning Department are rolling up their sleeves to plant a community garden, or our Employees are serving on local boards and Chambers. Wherever our Employees are giving back, it always comes from the heart. This ad campaign illustrates what giving back means to Southwest and all the many ways we care about our Employees, our Customers, and our Communities where we live alongside you. It highlights a sampling of ways we give back such as civic, military, environment, and mentoring efforts. Southwest is a Company who cares, and we look forward to showing you how we LUV to serve the next time you choose the LUV airline for your travel needs! Be sure to tune in starting Dec. 16 through Dec. 31 to see these great new advertising spots!
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A band of tornadoes that pummeled the South made their way from Oklahoma up through North Carolina and Virginia Saturday evening and this week’s weather has continued to be relentless. Our hearts go out to those affected by these and other devastating natural disasters.
The American Red Cross is responding to these storms, which affected Oklahoma, Mississippi, Alabama, North Carolina, and Virginia. North Carolina endured the most damage and the governors of Mississippi, Alabama, North Carolina, and Virginia have all declared a state of emergency. In addition to the recent tornadoes, the Red Cross is also responding to the flooding in North Dakota and Minnesota, the Texas wildfires, as well as previous tornadoes that affected Iowa and Pennsylvania.
We are proud that we have been working closely with the Red Cross to provide assistance and response where it is needed. Southwest Airlines is committed to supporting organizations like the Red Cross that focus on disaster preparedness and response. Today, Southwest Airlines was announced as a member of the Red Cross Annual Disaster Giving Program based on our support. As a member of the American Red Cross Annual Disaster Giving Program we ensure the Red Cross can be on the scene of a disaster at a moment’s notice. When disasters like the recent tornadoes, wildfires and flooding occur the Red Cross is there to provide shelter, food, emotional support and other assistance to people in need. We are proud to stand beside the Red Cross as they help those affected by disaster.
Our support of the Red Cross helps to immediately provide the following services:
In Virginia, the Red Cross has distributed over 10,000 meals and snacks, provided approximately 100 clean-up and comfort kits, and deployed 65 workers to support the relief operation. In response to wildfires across Texas, the Red Cross has provided shelter to approximately 330 people, and they have served over 1,800 meals and snacks to affected residents and first responders. The Red Cross has served more than 160,262 meals and snacks in response to the flooding along the Red River in North Dakota and Minnesota. The Red Cross has 12 Emergency Response Vehicles deployed for this operation. Volunteers and shelters remain on standby should additional families need assistance and the Red Cross continues to assess the damage across affected states.
More information on how the Red Cross is responding to these disasters and how you can lend your support, visit www.redcross.org.
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The attention and compassion of many around the globe have been focused on the heart wrenching natural disasters and resulting effects that have taken place in Japan. Additionally, closer to home, some of our Customers and Employees were affected by the grass fires that have been sweeping through Oklahoma and North Texas. As a Company, Southwest Airlines stands for helping communities prepare for disaster, but we also commit to providing comfort and aid when these tragedies strike.
Southwest is a proud sponsor of the American Red Cross Annual Disaster Giving Program, which means we support the Red Cross with an annual commitment of cash and tickets that can be used not only to prepare for such tragedies, but also so that there is no delay in the Red Cross’ ability to support recovery. Due to the large scale of the disaster in Japan, the American Red Cross has stepped in to support the Japanese Red Cross. Through our sponsorship, Southwest’s resources have already gone to work to help!
As we find in most disasters of this scale, the current and immediate need is for cash which will enable agencies responding to the disaster. Therefore, we have provided a link to Southwest’s own web site for anyone wishing to make a donation to American Red Cross at http://american.redcross.org/southwestairlines. This site is for Southwest Employees, as well as Family, Friends, and Customers. You may select whether you would like your contribution to be directed towards International Disaster Relief (for efforts supporting Japan), or response efforts here in the states (like the Oklahoma wildfires).
For a complete list of established charities responding to the crisis in Japan, you may visit http://www.interaction.org/crisis-list/interaction-members-support-japan-earthquake-response for contact and donation information. We always recommend researching any organization before making a financial contribution of any kind. You can also send a text message to make a donation to several difference charities that will appear on your mobile phone bill, please check with your individual provider for more details.
If you have a request for travel or other disaster related assistance, please visit www.southwest.com/donations and select Disaster Preparedness and Response as organization type.
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Last night I wrote about 30 thank-you notes for gifts received at my daughter’s birthday party this past weekend. Yes, I wrote them myself, because even though she’s not quite old enough to pen a proper thank-you note, I believe in the importance of sending them out for every gift, big or small. My daughter also happens to be a Veteran’s Day baby, so the holiday means a lot to my extended family, with three grandfathers that served during WWII and my own father who completed two tours of duty in Vietnam. November 11 not only represents the gift of new life for us, but also the gift of family and the Freedoms we never take for granted. This Veteran’s Day, I hope you will join my Southwest Family in saying thanks today to the men and women who bravely serve our country, with the most simple of gestures—a thank you note. We will have postcards available in the gate areas of all our airports for Customers to leave a simple note of thanks that will be sent to soldiers currently deployed overseas. We’ve enlisted the help of the nonprofit organization A Million Thanks to help get those letters into the hands of soldiers to remind them that we are thankful for what they are called upon to do. Not working at the airport or traveling on Southwest today? You can still send a note of thanks at any time. Just visit http://www.amillionthanks.org/ for drop-off locations and some helpful tips on sending your own note to a soldier. A Million Thanks is a year-round campaign to show appreciation to U.S. Military men and women through letters, e-mails, and cards. And please be sure to keep an eye on our blog for the rest of the month, as we will be featuring more stories of Military Heroes and the ways they inspire us. You just might also find yourself wanting to say thanks.
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