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March 8, 2016

NAB Education Foundation to Honor Southwest Airlines with Corporate Leadership Award

-- Leadership Award to Recognize Southwest Airline’s Mission to Improve Lives in Communities Around the World --

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The NAB Education Foundation (NABEF) will present its Corporate Leadership Award to Southwest Airlines Co. during the 18th annual Celebration of Service to America Awards, held Tuesday, June 21 at the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium in Washington, D.C. Each year, the Corporate Leadership Award is given to a business outside of the broadcast industry that exemplifies an extraordinary focus on community service and corporate social responsibility.

With more than 49,000 employees, more than 100 million customers annually, and more than 3,900 departures a day during peak travel season, Southwest Airlines is one of the nation’s largest carriers in terms of originating domestic passengers boarded, based on the U.S. Department of Transportation’s most recent data. Since its inception in 1971, the company has built a reputation of unprecedented affordability, customer service, community development and stewardship of the environment.

In 2014 alone, Southwest Airlines donated 43,188 tickets, raised $640,000 through official fundraising efforts and donated $20,128,153 through monetary, in-kind and ticket donations.

“The company’s generous donations, innovative community service programs and exceptional customer service makes Southwest Airlines a quintessential example of what the Corporate Leadership Award represents,” said NABEF President Marcellus Alexander. “We are pleased to honor Southwest for exhibiting tremendous social responsibility while advancing the flight experience for travelers nationwide.”

Southwest Airlines has developed numerous programs that strive to make a positive difference in the lives of customers and non-customers alike. The airlines has Community Giving Boards that consist of employees who select and donate tickets to local charitable organizations. Southwest Airlines also nurtures more than 400 community partnerships with non-profit organizations. Examples of participating organizations include the National Black Chamber of Commerce, National Campaign to Stop Violence, and Say Yes to Education. Additionally, the Heart of the Community program works to transform public spaces into vibrant meeting spots for communities. To date, the program has supported 13 innovative and transformative projects across the globe in cities like Detroit, Providence, San Antonio, Chicago, and Mexico City, to name a few.

Through the Southwest Airlines Medical Transportation Grant Program (MTGP), Southwest Airlines provides complimentary, roundtrip tickets to nonprofit hospitals and medical transportation organizations. In 2015, more than $3.2 million in free transportation was provided to more than 100 hospitals and organizations nationwide. The company’s Adopt-A-Pilot program pairs students in more than 1,500 classrooms across the country with Southwest Airlines pilots, who educate about aviation as it relates to science, geography, math and writing, at no cost to the participating schools. 775 Pilots and nearly 38,000 students participated in 2015, the program’s 18th year. Since the program’s inception in 1997, nearly 500,000 students have been impacted.

Southwest Airlines also maintains a commitment to the environment. In 2014, the airline launched LUV Seat: Repurpose with Purpose, a global sustainability initiative that upcycled 43 acres of used leather seat coverings into new products that benefit communities by providing employment, skills training, and donated products. The program was developed following the Company's Evolve program, a large-scale redesign of all 737-700 aircraft, a portion of its 737-300 fleet, and is now standard on all of the airline’s new planes. The Evolve program replaced the leather seat covers and other interior elements with environmentally friendly materials. Through this redesign, Southwest reduced the weight of each aircraft by more than 600 pounds.

More information about Southwest Airlines and its community service initiatives is available here.

Press interested in covering the Celebration of Service to America event should contact Dan Lemle.

About the Celebration of Service to America Awards
The Celebration of Service to America Awards are sponsored and produced by NABEF with major support from the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB). In recent years, Gary Sinise; Paul Simon; Stevie Wonder; Glenn Close; Jeff Bridges; Quincy Jones; Sir Elton John; Bill Clinton; Laura Bush; Muhammad Ali; Jimmy and Rosalyn Carter; and Nancy Reagan; among others, have been presented with the Celebration of Service to America Leadership Award at the event. Details about the Celebration of Service to America Awards are available at

The National Association of Broadcasters Education Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to reinforcing the future of broadcasting through a commitment to education and to advancing excellence in the diversity and community service efforts of our industry. Learn more at

About NAB
The National Association of Broadcasters is the premier advocacy association for America's broadcasters. NAB advances radio and television interests in legislative, regulatory and public affairs. Through advocacy, education and innovation, NAB enables broadcasters to best serve their communities, strengthen their businesses and seize new opportunities in the digital age. Learn more at

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