American Airlines launched a new $125,000 initiative at a roundtable symposium this week with Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney, the National Service Year Task Force and the region’s largest hunger relief organization, Philabundance, to address the root causes of poverty that keep nearly a fourth of the city’s residents from achieving financial stability.
The project helps focus American’s local impact on community-based solutions that bring nonprofit, government and business leaders together to tackle interrelated issues like educational outcomes, hunger and job readiness, which hold back Philadelphians and the city’s future progress.
“We recognize that our future growth and long-term success are directly linked to the growth and prosperity of the community where we all live and work,” said Jim Moses, Vice President of Hub Operations at PHL for American.
“That’s why American Airlines and our nearly 10,000 local team members have chosen to make smart investments in partnerships that are creating stability, supporting a job-ready workforce and improving outcomes for all Philadelphians.”
Expanding opportunity and impact of service year programs
At the event, American committed $75,000 to the Philadelphia Office of Civic Engagement and Volunteer Service, which oversees more than 2,500 members serving in almost 30 programs annually, including City Year, PowerCorpsPHL and AmeriCorps VISTA. The investment will be used to create a new fund that helps improve access to Philadelphia-based service year opportunities, provide greater financial stability for those involved and create career pipelines as participants graduate and seek employment.
“The greatest pursuit in life is service to others,” Mayor Kenney said.
“We know that service year corps members have some of the most important jobs in our city. They are tutoring our students, cleaning up our parks, connecting residents to health care resources and more. This partnership with American Airlines will allow us to continue to use service years as a framework for building community-based, sustainable solutions to our city’s most pressing needs and make the opportunity to serve available to all.”
Improving stability through community connections and vocational training
Philadelphia has the highest poverty rate among the nation’s 10 largest metropolitan areas — and the effects of food and housing instability, crime, a poor education and limited work opportunities create a cycle that is difficult to break.
American is investing an additional $50,000 in Philabundance to support programs that pair nourishment with other training, resources and tools to help individuals and families realize long-term stability. The funding announcement deepens American’s partnership with Philabundance and expands their efforts to end hunger for good through their Community Kitchen vocational training and Connectors collaborative “food plus” partnership programs.
“Philabundance cannot relieve hunger today and end hunger for good without like-minded partners,” said Melanie Cataldi, Chief Impact Officer for Philabundance.
“Those partners include not only the local nonprofits and businesses that help Philabundance offer food plus critical resources to people in need, but also the City of Philadelphia, which provided land and funding so Philabundance could expand its culinary- and life-skills training program for adults with low to no income.”
American’s commitment to Philadelphia
For more than 70 years, American has called Philadelphia home, growing to become one of the region’s largest employers. As an invested community partner, American believes in caring for people throughout life’s journey. Next year, more than 900 team members from around the world will gather in Philadelphia for the airline’s Global Sales and Distribution Conference and participate in a day of service, contributing more than 7,000 volunteer hours in support of local nonprofit partners.
These new efforts build on a history of corporate involvement in the Philadelphia region. In the past year, American has hired more than 1,000 Philadelphia-based team members while contributing nearly $400,000 to local charitable organizations. Through long-standing partnerships with nonprofits like Cradles to Crayons, City Year, MANNA and the William Way Community Center, American and its team members are committed to building a more stable, prosperous future for all Philadelphians. For more information on American’s community relations programs, visit aa.com/letgoodtakeflight.