The original idea behind Southwest Airlines consisted of a triangle, scribbled on the back of a cocktail napkin. The three lines represented flights between three cities—Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio.
A lot has changed since then. Today we offer service to more than 100 destinations across the United States and nearby countries, and our route map has expanded much beyond that simple triangle.
But some things haven’t changed. Destinations have always been more than cities where we fly—they are places where our Employees and Customers live, work, and play. We’ve always given back to local communities—as investing in them allows us to invest in what matters most—People.
In 2018, we launched a competitive grant round to take our community investments to another level. The funds enabling this grant program were a part of the previously announced $5 million Southwest set aside for charitable causes as a result of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. The grant invested a total of $1 million in important areas that we believe will position future generations for success—science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education, building a resilient workforce, and leadership development. The open grant round received more than 300 applications from organizations across the country—all of whom are accomplishing meaningful community-based work. After careful deliberation, we selected 24 innovative nonprofit organizations to receive grant funding ranging from $25,000 to $50,000.
The grants awarded have allowed recipients to expand existing programming, grow their reach, and increase their impact. By working with these organizations, we are helping build stronger communities, advancing opportunities for personal fulfillment and professional success, and investing in the workforce of tomorrow (helping to enable a strong Employee pipeline in the years to come.)
“The Southwest charitable grant allowed us to grow our Chief Science Officer program [for students],” said Jeremy Babendure, Executive Director of SciTech Institute, one of the grant recipients. “With these funds, we can focus on expanding the project and connecting partners with our program to grow their visibility internationally and nationally.”
We are thrilled to come alongside these 24 outstanding organizations and support their work with local communities. Because we believe community is more than a place—it’s at the Heart of what brings us together.