At Southwest Airlines, we believe in championing causes that matter most and ensure our investments mirror the diverse communities we serve. As our nation continues to have crucial conversations around racial injustice, we recognize the importance of supporting organizations doing crucial work in this space.
In June, we made a $500,000 donation* to two longtime Partners: the National Urban League and 100 Black Men of America. We have proudly supported these organizations for several years and it’s an honor to advocate the great work they do to promote education, mentorship, and leadership development in Black communities across the country.
We’re excited to share an update on how this recent donation is supporting the great work of 100 Black Men of America.
The following is written by Terrence McKenzie, from 100 Black Men of America.
100 Black Men of America, Inc. is committed to the intellectual development of youth and the economic empowerment of the African American community based on the following precepts: respect for family, spirituality, justice, and integrity.
The longtime support and continued commitment of Southwest Airlines to our organization have enabled us to provide youth programs, scholarships, leadership development training, and expand our organizations’ reach and influence.
The Southwest Airlines grant we received in June will be distributed to five 100 Black Men Chapters. Our mission is to improve the quality of life within our communities and enhance educational and economic opportunities for all African Americans and minorities. We seek to serve as a beacon of leadership, utilizing our diverse talents to create environments where our children are motivated to achieve and to empower our people to become self-sufficient shareholders in the economic and social fabric of the communities we serve. The pillars of our organization are mentoring, education, health and wellness, economic empowerment, and leadership.
Proceeds from this grant will be applied to college scholarships for mentees, developing youth programs by providing “business plan training” and “Shark Tank Presentations,” and stipends for the youth.
The grant from Southwest will also allow us to take our mentees on tours to Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) such as Alabama State University, Alcorn State University, Clark Atlanta University, Florida A&M University, Jackson State University, Morehouse College, Southern University, and Tuskegee University. The college tour is titled “The Next Chapter” because we want our mentees to start thinking intently about the next chapter of their lives as soon as possible, and to make any necessary adjustments to ensure their admission into the college and/or university of their choice.
Enabling our mentees to visit these campuses, and to interact with current university students—many of whom will be Collegiate 100 members at their respective schools—will hopefully reinforce our mentees’ beliefs that bright academic futures are within their reach. The tour will also feature visits to various historical landmarks along the way, as an effort to continue to raise our mentees’ awareness of the importance of the fight for social justice and racial equality.
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, with schools being temporarily closed and classes being taught virtually, students who lack access to technology and resources are at a disadvantage. The 100 seeks to bridge the digital divide by ensuring disadvantaged students have appropriate electronic equipment and WiFi to complete their assignments.
*This donation was made through the Southwest Airlines Foundation (a corporate-advised fund within the Silicon Valley Community Foundation)
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I remember the day like it was yesterday - Hurricane Katrina had made landfall in New Orleans and was quickly devastating and destroying everything I knew about home. My house. My grandparents’ house. My high school. Favorite neighborhood park. Everything.
Although I had moved away from New Orleans a year before the storm, it was absolutely devastating to watch my family and friends weep at the thought of losing all of their possessions. My immediate family evacuated to my home in Atlanta and I can still remember my parents calling back to New Orleans every day inquiring about the state of our home. Constantly asking, “Can we come back?”
Ultimately, they were forced to uproot their lives and move to an entirely different state. “Going home” meant something completely different for me for the next two years. The house they lived in and their new neighborhood never quite felt like it was ours. We never felt like we belonged.
Fast forward to today ... what a difference 10 years makes! An entire decade after Hurricane Katrina, life is almost completely back to normal. The city is thriving and more tourists than ever are visiting to enjoy the rich culture, fantastic food, and resilient people of New Orleans. I’m proud to be a native of New Orleans and even more proud to work for a Company that has played an integral part in rebuilding the spirit of the community.
Southwest Airlines was one of the last airlines to fly out of New Orleans before the storm and was one of the first companies that immediately returned to New Orleans post Katrina. Our Marketing Department held their annual meeting in New Orleans a few months after the storm and learned from business owners that our patronage was the sole reason they would be able to keep their lights on that month. Earlier this year, the Marketing Department returned to the city for their annual meeting - their way of paying homage to the 10 year anniversary.
AirTran Airways Crew Members also stepped up to the cause, supporting New Orleans and the surrounding areas also in the path of Katrina’s devastation. A relief aircraft was flown to Indianapolis to pick up donated supplies, such as 31,000 pounds of water, baby diapers and formula. On hand to help were two members of another New Orleans family – Peyton and Eli Manning. Along with the Employees who volunteered their time, they helped load the much needed supplies into the cargo bays and throughout the cabin. They also flew down on the relief flight to assist the Employees with offloading and distributing the material throughout the region.
Over the past 10 years, Southwest Airlines has committed to supporting the re-emergence of a stronger New Orleans. We’re proud supporters of the Jefferson Parish Chamber, Ashe Cultural Center, Greater New Orleans, Inc., Louisiana Association of Nonprofits and recently partnered with Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s office to support the commemoration of the 10 year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.
Thank you, Southwest Airlines, for LUVing New Orleans back to health in only a way we can! As we say in New Orleans, “laissez les bons temps roulez” – let the good times roll!
New Orleans was the 11 th city added to the Southwest system, operating one daily nonstop to Houston in 1979. Southwest’s service in New Orleans is stronger than ever, and we currently offer up to 57 daily departures to 21 cities.
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Beginning October 13, Dallas Love Field is FREE! The restrictions of the Wright Amendment will be gone, ushering in nonstop destinations that span from coast to coast. Southwest has been counting down the years and weeks (literally—we have a billboard at the Love Field entrance and a countdown clock in our Headquarters lobby) until we can say, “Goodbye, Wright Amendment. Hello, America!"
We are excited to begin this new era by serving five new nonstop destinations on October 13, followed by ten additional new nonstop destinations on November 2. The addition of these 15 new nonstop destinations will bring Southwest to a total of 31 nonstop destinations from Love Field.
In anticipation of this momentous event, each week we will take a look at one of the cities that North Texas Customers will be able to soon visit nonstop on Southwest. Each post is written by a Southwest Employee who is affiliated with the city and can give an insider’s view of what to see and do while visiting. Enjoy!
I’ve lived in Atlanta for a little more than ten years, and some of my fondest memories here include meeting my husband and tailgating at football games. There’s always something to do or see, and being in the south, Atlanta gives visitors a big dose of Southern Charm! Visiting Atlanta will start and end with excitement, so I definitely suggest you give my city a try.
Atlanta serves connections to over 40 cities with 160 nonstop departures a day. Talk about a lot of visitors! This bustling city is outpouring with an enriching culture of music, history, and family adventure. Atlanta is also home to a Southwest Porch (pictured above), so be sure to swing by! You’ll never see it all, but here’s what I recommend as a good start...
Your Atlanta to-do list:
The Varsity: With many locations throughout Atlanta, The Varsity is infamous for their outstanding hotdogs. It’s a must-try for everyone with a variety of non-hotdog choices as well. Take in the delicious food and rich history!
World of Coca-Cola: No matter what kind of soda fan you are, you have to check out the World of Coca-Cola. Try samples of every Coke variation in the world and enjoy their many attractions.
Local Boutiques: Atlanta has excellent shopping, so spend some time exploring all the fun, local boutiques. You’ll be surprised what you can find!
Atlanta Botanical Garden: More than 30 acres, The Atlanta Botanical Garden is home to some breath-taking sculptures and greenery that will astound and impress. This beauty is fun for all ages!
Georgia Aquarium: The Georgia Aquarium is one of the top aquariums in the southwest. It’s definitely a place to visit, especially if you LUV dolphins! They have some of the coolest shows, and, in fact, Dolphin 1, one of our AirTran aircraft, celebrates them!
Martin Luther King Center: Admission is free at the Martin Luther King Center, and the park is extremely intriguing. The King Center really showcases the impact Dr. King had in Atlanta and the nation.
My City Secret:
Live Music: Many local restaurants and bars host live music. Music is such an integral part of Atlanta, so it isn’t hard to find. Be sure to wonder into at least one live show during your time to experience Atlanta like the locals enjoy it!
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