Welcome to A Day in the Life, where we take you behind the scenes at JetBlue to learn more about the important jobs that work in concert together to run a major airline. This time, we visit with Icema, Jenna, Irma and Kate, who have one of the most generous jobs at our airline.
This four person team makes up our Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) department, or the folks tasked with identifying charitable causes that make sense for JetBlue to support, and to allocate our resources accordingly.
The CSR team, led by Icema (who has been with us since JetBlue’s infancy when she was an operational leader at JFK), works in several capacities to support our philanthropic efforts. Overall, we support more than 1,000 non-profit organizations throughout the 71 cities that we serve. That support may range from financial contributions to in-kind donations to volunteer support, with the ultimate goal of moving the needle on social change in the areas of education, youth, environment and community.
The team wears many hats, including handling inbound inquiries for donations of funds; planning charity events like our annual Swing For Good Golf Classic (which just took place this week Tuesday); and organizing and empowering our 14,500 crewmembers to get out in their individual communities to volunteer for the causes they’re most passionate about. On any given day, the CSR team might be in Orlando with professional basketball players reading to hundreds of kids as part of Soar With Reading initiative, digging in the dirt to plant trees for our One Thing That’s Green campaign, or building relationships with our partners around the JetBlue network.
Our Soar With Reading event in New York
Many companies and celebrities now feel an obligation to have a charitable arm which donates to its largest bases as part of its regular operations, but at JetBlue, we are a little different in our thinking. We have always believed that giving back to the communities in which we serve is not a corporate obligation, but rather a moral one. Not only do our customers live in the cities that we fly to, but our crewmembers do as well, and we feel strongly about our responsibility to support those neighborhoods as best we’re able.
Some national partners that we have longstanding relationships with include:
- First Book
- VH1 Save the Music
In 2012 alone we have:
- Donated $200,000 worth of books to kids in need, through our Soar with Reading program
- Decorated and delivered 2,100 quilts to children in hospitals throughout the JetBlue network, through our partner Soaringwords
- Pledged to plant a tree for everyone traveling with us on Earth Day, which resulted in over 83,000 trees, in honor of our 5th annual One Thing That’s Green Campaign!
- Built new KaBOOM! playgrounds – in San Juan, PR, Long Beach, CA, Boston, MA and Oakland, CA. Each of the new play spaces were designed with the help of local children and built by JetBlue Crewmembers, customers and local residents. In 2012 alone, together with KaBOOM!, JetBlue engaged over 825 volunteers, to build four new playgrounds that will serve 5,228 children.
- And many more!
Our crewmembers are encouraged to go out into their local communities though our Community Connections program. So far this year, 2,014 crewmembers have volunteered 16,341 hours for 345 non-profits across the cities that we serve. For every 25 hours a crewmember volunteers, we donate one round trip ticket to their charity of choice. Crewmembers who volunteer more than 100 hours of their time are invited to an annual recognition dinner. “All of the rewards are important mainly because they demonstrate that we value crewmember engagement within their communities and it allows us to further align our corporate giving with crewmembers’ passions,” shared Jenna from the CSR team.
Our KaBOOM! playground build
Of course we don’t do the right thing in order to get recognition, but our community efforts have received accolades including CSR Cause Branding Campaign of the Year from PR News for our 2011 Soar with Reading program, which aims to help kids’ imaginations take flight through reading; to learn more about that award click here. We were also awarded the For Planet and People Award in the travel category, by Carbonfund.org, for our long-standing partnership and commitment to reducing the environmental impact of our crewmembers and customers. For more information on that award, click here.
“My favorite part of working on the CSR team is when crewmembers share the impact our donation of tickets had on their child’s school or an animal shelter or one of the other 300 organizations we support. The rewards may seem small but have a huge impact on morale,” said Kate.
Check out the previous editions of A Day In The Life and meet: