October 11, 2012

A Day in the Life: Corporate Social Responsibility

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:

  • Carbonfund.org
  • DoSomething.org
  • First Book
  • KaBOOM!
  • PBS
  • 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:

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October 5, 2012

The New JetBlue Sky Theater Planetarium!

We’re excited to share a new way that our name is gracing the skies: we’re sponsoring the JetBlue Sky Theater Planetarium! This state-of-the-art digital projection system is the latest addition to the Cradle of Aviation Museum in Long Island, New York. Our partnership with the Cradle of Aviation Museum is an important one, allowing us to develop new ways to support education, and like our airline, the it is a big believer in advocating STEM subjects in schools. In fact, Mike Stromer (VP Customer Connections) is serving on a regional board for STEM, along with our friends at the Cradle of Aviation Museum.

Offering visitors a jaw-dropping view of the universe is something we’re excited to be a part of. The planetarium is Long Island’s largest screen and built with an all-star resolution projection and sound system. This high-definition system can deliver real-time visuals as well as pre-designed graphics that reflect solar system data from NASA and the European Space Agency. The view of more than two billion stars—thanks to data from the Museum of Natural History—is nothing short of amazing.

As New York’s Hometown Airline, we’re proud to support our local community support education. The Cradle of Aviation Museum just celebrated its 10th anniversary and is right in our backyard. Located at the historic Mitchel Field, a former Army air base which dates back to World War I, the museum is home to over 75 planes and spacecraft that contribute to more than 100 years of aerospace history. For example, Spirit of St. Louis, the first aircraft owned by Charles Lindbergh, and F14 TOMCAT, one of the most successful aircraft flown by the Navy.

The JetBlue Sky Theater Planetarium will officially open on Saturday, October 6 to coincide with World Astronomy Day!

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September 27, 2012

Bid For Good! Online Charity Auction for Exclusive Items

Our fourth annual Swing for Good Golf Classic and Bid for Good online auction together make up our largest fundraising effort of the year. Help us reach our goal of raising $1 million to benefit two of our long-standing charitable partners – KaBOOM! and PBS Kids. Bid on items ranging from luxurious all inclusive Getaways packages and exclusive access to VIP sporting events to one-of-a-kind experiential opportunities, and provide much needed funding to these great non-profit organizations. Visit Charitybuzz.com/JetBlue and bid today through Oct.18 on items including:

  • A chance to throw the first pitch at a Boston RedSox game
  • VIP tickets to The Tonight Show with Jay Leno in Los Angeles
  • An Eli Manning signed jersey
  • Four passes to the 2013 PGA Championship
  • Super Bowl 2013 tickets
  • Tickets to the 2013 Academy of Country Music Awards
  • MTV Movie Award tickets
  • Pit passes at a NASCAR race
  • A private PBS Kids party featuring a live musical performance by PBS Kids Host Mr. Steve
  • VIP tickets to Late Night with Jimmy Fallon in New York City; and much more.

Additionally, as part of this year’s fundraising efforts, we’ll also raise funds for both non-profit organizations at our fourth annual Swing For Good Golf Classic, held on Tues, Oct. 9, 2012 at Bethpage State Park Golf Courses.

Our non-profit partners are near and dear to our heart. Kaboom! envisions a great place to play within walking distance of every child in America. In addition to raising funds, our crewmembers have helped build 15 playgrounds and counting as part of our partnership. PBS Kids, the number one educational media brand for kids, is another longtime collaborator. Just this summer, we partnered with PBS Kids to provide more than $200,000 worth of books to children in need through our Soar with Reading literacy program.

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September 21, 2012

Growth Spurt in Long Island City!

Long Island City, just across the pond from Manhattan, is the next coolest neighborhood in New York City (and not just because we call it home). The area in Western Queens has seen a lot of development over the past few years and continues to evolve with new housing, retail and an influx of new residents.

Some cool data that illustrates the recent growth in Long Island City includes:

  • LIC Partnership’s pedestrian count conducted in July of 2012 showed that pedestrian foot traffic has doubled during morning and lunch time hours in the past two years
  • 201,300 cars on Queensboro Bridge daily
  • 9,500 daily riders at Queensboro Plaza subway stop with an additional 8,800 at the Queens Plaza stop
  • $80 Million in capital improvements recently completed on Queens Plaza and Jackson Avenue; Mayor Bloomberg cut the ribbon for the new Dutch Kills Green park in April. Queens Plaza now is now an inviting gateway for Manhattan and Queens and an epicenter of activity.
  • 19 Hotels in LIC (many of which have opened since 2008)
  • 2 million sq/ft of Class A office space
  • LIC is among NYC neighborhoods with the most cultural activity
  • LIC is the geographic center of NYC!
  • In the past year, 5 new restaurants have opened on Queens Plaza
  • Spring of 2011, NYC Dept. of Health and Mental Hygiene moved 3,000 staff into Gotham Center Building on Queens Plaza. Two more buildings are planned.
  • CUNY School of Law moved to LIC this summer, and Apex Technical School is moving to Queens Plaza South this fall.
  • LIC has excellent transportation: the 7, N, Q, E, F, M, R and G lines run through LIC, as well as many buses and the LIRR. The Queensboro Bridge allows for easy access by car and is the only toll-free bridge on the East River. Ferry service from Hunters Point South quickly connects LIC to 34th Street, Wall Street, Greenpoint and Williamsburg.
  • LIC is home to a thriving industrial sector, a center for commercial and office use, education, arts and a growing residential community.
  • JetBlue officially moved to its new headquarters in Long Island City in April 2012 with nearly 1,000 crewmembers as part of the close to 5,000 who live and work in the New York City area.

Learn more about Long Island City’s history as a transportation hub
Check out our recent sign lighting and the official opening of our support center back in April.

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September 3, 2012

The Panthers Visit the Boys and Girls Club of Puerto Rico

Last month, we shared the news that we have extended our partnership with the Florida Panthers and the BankAtlantic Center. A new aspect of this relationship is developing a street hockey program for the local children of San Juan, and it kicked off recently at the Boys and Girls Club of Puerto Rico! Since San Juan is now a Focus City, we’re focusing even more on giving back to the local communities.

Last week, the Florida Panthers joined us at the Boys and Girls Club of Puerto Rico, where players, alumni, coaches, and team staff led a hockey clinic in the gymnasium. From explaining the game and equipment, to facilitating lessons and drills, it was a fantastic way to provide new learning opportunities and foster teamwork. The Boys and Girls Club greatly appreciated our combined effort with the Panthers, and the exciting experience we provided for the children.

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August 29, 2012

We’re Lighting up the New York City Skyline!

Tonight we’re flipping the switch on a newly-constructed sign atop our headquarters in Queens, illuminating the newest addition to New York City’s iconic skyline! We’re proud to be New York’s Hometown Airline™ and to continue to be a part of the exciting growth in the Long Island City community.


Live video from your Android device on Ustream

About the sign

In keeping with the iconic Long Island City skyline, JetBlue’s logo features individually cut letters spelling the airline’s name mounted on an open-frame structure and is positioned approximately seven stories above Queens Plaza facing southwest, cementing our commitment to The Empire State. Each letter is individually formed as a steel structure with an acrylic façade. The “j” is the tallest letter measuring 25 feet, four inches. During the day, the sign is blue. At night, sustainable LED light strips illuminate the sign white from within.

The sign was constructed by Going Sign Company of Plainview, New York.

JetBlue and the local Community

We’re involved in the communities that we serve, and Long Island is no exception! We’ve partnered with and sponsored a variety of local organizations and events including:

  • Aviation High School
  • East River Development Alliance
  • LIC Partnership annual Luncheon and Trade Show
  • Long Island City Business development Corporate Executive Breakfast
  • Long Island City Cool Roofs Program
  • Official Airline of the New York Jets
  • NYC Outward Bound
  • Playground construction at the Astoria Variety Boys and Girls Club and Forest Hills-based Forestdale foster care center
  • Socrates Sculpture Center Gala
  • Taste of Long Island City

 JetBlue is New York’s Hometown Airline™

New York has been a part of JetBlue’s story from the beginning. Our airline was founded in New York City in 1998 and first took off from John F. Kennedy International Airport in 2000 to two destinations: Buffalo, New York and Fort Lauderdale, Florida. As JetBlue grew, we introduced competitive fares to our current 56 nonstop destinations from JFK. We’re the largest domestic airline at JFK and the only commercial carrier with headquarters in New York City. We offer service from seven Empire State airports: Buffalo, New York/Kennedy, New York/LaGuardia, Newburgh, Rochester, Syracuse, and Westchester County.

We have more than 4,000 crewmembers who live in the Empire State and 1,500 crewmembers in Queens, a number of whom live in Long Island City and the surrounding areas.

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August 24, 2012

Tell Us Your Favorite Children’s Book for a Chance to Win a Vacation!

This summer, we partnered with PBS Kids to provide up to $200,000 worth of books to children in need as part of our second annual Soar With Reading program.  Between now and August 31, simply share the name of your favorite children’s book at Soar With Reading and through our partner Barefoot Books we will donate one book to a child in need.

With your help we have donated $127,150 worth of books to children in need so far this summer. Well known personalities such as Glen “Big Baby” Davis of the Orlando Magic, PBS KIDS host Mr. Steve, PBS KIDS’ Hooper and Barefoot Books author Laurie Krebs all assisted in spreading the word to help us reach our goal. You too can help us reach this goal. As a special “thank you,’ everyone who submits a book title will be entered for a chance to win prizes including a JetBlue Getaways vacation package.

Soar With Reading is setting the stage for back-to-school reading success through these book donations, reading events in select cities and by providing free resources for families including an interactive reading list, reading tips and expert advice for keeping kids engaged in literature all summer long.  Book donations will be made to local literacy-focused organizations identified in partnership with PBS member stations in the 71 cities that JetBlue currently serves.

For more information, or to submit the name of your favorite children’s book, visit SoarWithReading.com.

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August 18, 2012

Building Our 15th Playground With KaBOOM!

We’re proud to announce a partnership with the Community School for Creative Education and KaBOOM! to build our next playground in Oakland, CA today. We’ve worked with our long-standing partner KaBOOM! over the last seven years to build playgrounds for children across our network. The playground location was determined in February by our customers who were invited to vote on the next playground location on our Facebook page. The Bay Area was the lucky winner and will have a brand new park this summer, the 15th playground built through the partnership and the third in California.

As the funding partner for this build, JetBlue volunteers and community residents will work side-by-side to create a new playground for the children of the Community School for Creative Education. This will be our second playground built in California this year and record fourth playground built in 2012 (Long Beach, CA; San Juan, Puerto Rico; Boston, MA: San Francisco, CA; and New York, NY). In seven years, JetBlue and KaBOOM! have built 15 playgrounds, engaged more than 3,000 volunteers and served more than 8,000 children every year by providing a safe place to play.

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August 8, 2012

Help From Some Small Experts for Our 15th Playground Build

We teamed up with our long-time partners Kaboom! and children from Oakland’s Community School for Creative Education for “design day” on our first Bay Area playground build, which will be later this month.  Our team, composed of crewmembers from our Oakland, Sacramento, San Francisco and San Jose stations, joined the important and fun first step in the playground’s development.

We were impressed with the kids’ creativity as the students let their imaginations run wild during the design session.  After the crayons were set aside, students presented their individual designs in front of everyone.  Kaboom! coordinator, Kristin’s experience with kids and volunteers kept the day’s agenda in order.  After the presentation and sticker awards, parents and volunteers from the school along with JetBlue crewmembers were divided into nine committees.  The committees’ task included overseeing logistics, acquiring tools, safety, partnership generation, fundraising and volunteer recruitment.  The preparation for the actual playground build is an eight-week process culminating on August 18 at 2111 International Blvd in Oakland, CA.  Stay tuned for more!

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August 5, 2012

Connecting Children and the Red Sox

As the official airline of the Red Sox, we’re proud to support the team’s official charity, the Red Sox Foundation. The organization implements many initiatives which channel local passion for the Red Sox into positive causes—in fact, you may have heard about its work with the Jimmy Fund, and how we got involved to help support its fight against cancer. More recently, we partnered with the Red Sox Foundation to transport children to a tournament in New York, part of the organization’s work with RBI (Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities).

RBI was started by Major League Baseball and connects children from economically disadvantaged areas with baseball. The program promotes positive self-esteem, conflict resolution, and resistance to substance abuse. It recently organized the Northeast Regional All Star Baseball and Softball Tournament, and through our Red Sox partnership, we flew 40 children and coaches from BOS to the tournament’s home base in New York. Wally the Green Monster, the official mascot of the Boston Red Sox, came to Logan to send the kids off and wish them luck in the tournament!

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