Get to Know JetBlue, Finalist for 2016 Employee Volunteer Program of the Year

Aug 31, 2016 9:10 AM ET

In this Q&A series, get to know the finalists for VolunteerMatch’s 2016 Employee Volunteer Program of the Year Award. Winners will be revealed on October 25, 2016 at VM Summit 16Get your VM Summit 16 ticket today. Today’s featured volunteer program: JetBlue.

What makes your volunteer program so successful?

Rather than restrict volunteering to single cause or organization, JetBlue supports the unique, individual passions and causes of all JetBlue crewmembers. By powering our volunteer program with VolunteerMatch, we are able to empower crewmembers to truly give back in a way that is both meaningful and personal.

This was a key thing we learned after completing the first year of our program in 2011. By broadening the volunteer experiences available to our crewmembers, their desire to help others through volunteerism propelled program engagement to incredible heights and continued to build the amazing culture that defines JetBlue.

In 2015, approximately 2,360 crewmembers logged a total of 154,778 volunteer hours, donating over 5,000 travel certificates to the nonprofits they served. Passion is one of JetBlue’s core values and something that directly translates into the commitment our incredible crewmembers make each day to provide not only outstanding service to our customers, but also to give back and volunteer in our communities.

What is the most unique aspect of your volunteer program?

Our volunteer program is exponentially amplified by a group of CSR Liaisons who act as the local voice and hype man for JetBlue’s CSR initiatives. These crewmembers are chosen by local leadership to represent their city regarding CSR campaign execution. They assist with onboarding our newest crewmembers, train to become VolunteerMatch Super Users, and ultimately engage the local community in a way that rings true to JetBlue’s values of Safety, Caring, Integrity, Passion, and Fun.

What recent accomplishments make you proud?

Our Soar with Reading program is wrapping up another successful summer of providing access to books through free book vending machines in Detroit, Michigan.

In order to help halt students’ “summer slide” – the knowledge base lost during the summer months – JetBlue installed five vending machines in neighborhoods across Detroit. Since July 1, over 45,000 books have been distributed through the machines, continuing to encourage children’s imaginations to take flight through reading. By the end of this year’s program, we will have donated a total of 100,000 books to the children and families of the city of Detroit!

What advice do you have for others managing an employee volunteer program?

Build programs with the future in mind. Design your programs with sustainable and ethical practices, but also include empathy. What will inspire your workforce to give back and impact their communities? What will be your organization’s CSR legacy?

Will JetBlue win VolunteerMatch’s Employee Volunteer Program of the Year Award? Find out at VM Summit 16 – get your ticket today.