JetBlue has announced a round of rapid response grants from the JetBlue Foundation. The COVID-19 pandemic has severely affected funding for non-profits and education programs. To help with immediate needs, the JetBlue Foundation issued a round of emergency grants to 12 aviation and science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education grantees and partners in need of financial support to continue their critical work reaching students and communities traditionally underrepresented in these fields.
The JetBlue Foundation, founded in 2013, is independent from JetBlue and has a separate Board of Directors and an Advisory Committee both made up of JetBlue crewmembers from across the airline. These grants are provided directly from the JetBlue Foundation.
The JetBlue Foundation, the first airline foundation focused solely on supporting aviation and STEM education, invited a group of previous grantees and partners to apply. This round of grants supports education programs focused on mentorship, technical education training and social justice, with a joint goal of increasing access and awareness of STEM and aviation careers. The rapid response cycle will help organizations committed to racial and gender equity that have encountered financial setbacks in achieving their missions due to the pandemic. Considerations were given to programs providing opportunities for virtual engagement and those in need of technology resources for online and remote education.
“Race, gender and economic disparity disproportionately affect communities of color and women and girls. This became more apparent during the coronavirus pandemic,” said Ursula Hurley, president of the JetBlue Foundation. “Several of our partners’ survival was at risk due to a lack of funding. Our grantees are actively working to advance diversity, social justice and equity, especially in STEM and aviation where barriers to access already exist. If these organizations are not able to continue their work today, our industry’s future talent pipeline will be impacted. The JetBlue Foundation issued rapid response grants to help these programs survive so students’ STEM paths would not be deterred.”
The 2020/2021 rapid response grant recipients include:
- America on Tech (AOT) (New York) – AOT prepares the next generation of tech leaders and helps decrease the economic and racial wealth gap. With support from the JetBlue Foundation, AOT will provide technology programming to nearly 400 high school students, place over 100 alumni in internships and hire 24 AOT graduates as peer mentors.
- Artists For Humanity (AFH) (Boston) – AFH provides under-resourced teens with the keys to self-sufficiency through paid employment in art and design, bridging economic, racial, and social divisions. AFH will use this grant for its virtual 3D Design and Digital Media Studios to build teen’s confidence in STEM.
- Aviation High School (New York) – Aviation High School provide students with a rigorous academic and technical program, preparing them for careers in aerospace. The school will create a Saturday aviation maintenance course and hands-on learning opportunities to help students impacted by the quarantine meet their license requirements on time.
- Broward County Schools (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) – BCPS is based in South Florida, ground zero for a multitude of issues due to a changing climate. This grant will go towards climate change education for students in the Youth Climate Task Force as part of the annual Broward Youth Climate Summit.
- Columbia Memorial Space Center (Downey, Calif.) – The Center is an innovative STEM learning center whose mission is “to ignite a community of creative and critical thinkers,” located near Los Angeles. Funding will allow the Center to continue offering Challenger Learning Center simulated missions through virtual platforms free of charge for under-resourced school groups.
- Girls Inc. of Worcester (Worcester, Mass) –The Girls Inc. experience equips girls to navigate gender, economic and social barriers. Girls Inc. will ensure some of the most underserved and vulnerable girls in the Worcester community continue to have access to vital services and academic support.
- Latino Pilots Association (LPA) (Atlantic Beach, Fla.) – LPA is a non-profit, volunteer organization focused on giving back to the Latinx community. LPA will redesign and manage its website, which will be used for job placement support and access to financial resources for members who were furloughed due to the pandemic.
- Lower East Side Girls Club (LESGC) (New York) – The LESGC addresses the historic lack of services available to girls and young women on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. As access to healthy meals is vital to the education process, this grant will support the Girls Club Food Pantry – a weekly distribution of food staples in this low-income neighborhood impacted by food insecurity and pandemic-related recession.
- Oliver Scholars (New York) – Oliver Scholars prepares high-achieving Black and Latinx students from underserved communities for success at top high schools and colleges. This grant will support curriculum development for virtual and remote STEM programming, test prep partnerships and Computer Science coursework.
- Project Scientist (Charlotte, N.C.) – Project Scientist began with a dream to increase diversity in STEM by inspiring girls. It was created to change the world’s view of “who” a scientist is and “what” a scientist does by offering hands-on STEM learning. This grant will support the STEM Club afterschool program, serving Black girls, ages 4-12, from low-income areas.
- Reach the World (New York) – Reach the World’s virtual exchange programs connect STEM explorers and classrooms online, inspiring youth to become curious, confident and compassionate global citizens. This funding will help bring STEM Through a Global Lens programming to 21 elementary school classrooms in Bronx and Brooklyn.
- Variety Boys and Girls Club (VBGCQ) (New York) – VBGCQ is a nonprofit organization that inspires children to discover their passions and cultivate their futures through a diverse array of development programs. Their grant will support the Teen Center where more than 100 local students will have access to arts, STEM, financial literacy and college and career readiness programming.