The JetBlue Foundation is committed to championing diversity in STEM education and creating career pathways for the next generation in aviation. This year’s grant recipients span JetBlue’s route map with the winners coming from New York, Boston, Orlando, Fort Lauderdale and Los Angeles, among others. Grants were presented to Variety Boys & Girls Club of Queens, Lower Eastside Girls Club, EnCorps, Orlando Science Center and Project Scientist for new STEM programs. This funding will help ignite innovation and encourage students from traditionally under-represented communities, including women, minority groups and veterans, to pursue STEM and aviation.
"We were excited to see technology and innovation as the top themes in this year’s grant applications. These areas are critical for a company like JetBlue and for growing our industry,” said Joanna Geraghty, president, JetBlue Foundation. “JetBlue is committed to feeding the talent pipeline today through educational initiatives and funding for STEM programs to ensure a more diverse and technology-focused tomorrow."
Beyond just grants, the JetBlue Foundation provides in-kind support, mentoring, internships and much more to make a difference for the next generation of aviators, engineers, dispatchers, schedulers, aircraft mechanics and pilots. Over the past five years, the Foundation has built ongoing relationships with more than 37 aviation and STEM-focused programs and provided over $750,000 in grants to help these programs take off and soar.
This year’s JetBlue Foundation grant recipients include:
- Variety Boys & Girls Club of Queens (Queens, N.Y.) – The Variety Boys & Girls Club of Queens aims to provide children of all backgrounds with self-esteem and self-confidence, which are needed to become responsible citizens and leaders. With JetBlue’s support, the organization will launch “JetBlue Science Hubs” at each of its program sites.
- Lower Eastside Girls Club (New York) – The Lower Eastside Girls Club of New York works to break the cycle of local poverty by training the next generation of ethical, entrepreneurial and environmental leaders. The Club will use their grant to fund a year-long program - “Geek Girls,” which tackles challenges through applied STEM education, mentoring and workshops. The program will prepare under-represented youth for the new digital age with hands-on lessons in electronics, fabrication, robotics, audio engineering, 3D data visualization, computer coding, astrophysics and other sciences.
- EnCorps (Los Angeles) – EnCorps empowers STEM professionals to help transform public education through teaching opportunities in high-need schools and areas. EnCorps works to counter disparities in science and math achievement. Their grant will be used to support five “JetBlue Fellows.”
- Orlando Science Center (Orlando, Fla.) – The Orlando Science Center works to inspire learning for life and be the spark that ignites innovation. The Center will use the grant to fund a new Flying Together camp that engages young girls in aviation. In their flight lab, the Center will use simulations as hands-on learning to replicate the training pilots and flight officers actually receive.
- Project Scientist (Laguna Beach, Calif.) – Project Scientist works with university and research partners and curriculum developers to offer programming for girls, ages four through 12, who have a strong interest and aptitude for STEM subjects. This marks the second grant for Project Scientist. This grant will fund their Caltech and Orange County sites and help provide scholarship support and the necessary infrastructure to position Project Scientist for growth.
Additionally, the JetBlue Foundation is committed to helping up-and-coming STEM programs get off the ground. In addition to the five major grants, the JetBlue Foundation also provided seed grants to:
- Cradle of Aviation (Garden City, N.Y.)
- School Board of Broward County (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.)
- Project Access (Los Angeles)
- Museum of Science and Technology Discovery Center (Syracuse, N.Y.)
- Reach the World Company (New York)
- Boys and Girls Clubs of Broward County (North Lauderdale, Fla.)
- United Way of Massachusetts Bay (Lowell, Mass.)
JetBlue is currently accepting applications for the next round of grants. For grant criteria or to submit an application, go to jetbluefoundation.org. Visit the site for more information, to see how previous recipients have utilized their grants, examples of JetBlue Foundation partnerships in flight and other STEM-related news.
The JetBlue Foundation hosted its annual grant presentation on April 13 at JetBlue’s Long Island City Support Center, where recipients were able to network with JetBlue leadership and crewmembers. In addition to a tour of the airline’s support center, the aspiring aviators, and program administrators were treated to a special behind-the-scenes peek at JetBlue’s home terminal – T5 at New York’s JFK Airport – where they saw the inner workings of the airline. Students also had the chance to learn more about various career options available within an airline