Since 1982, Southwest Airlines has provided affordable air travel and amazing customer service to the San Diego community. But we are more than an airline. Since our humble beginnings more than 40 years ago as a regional carrier serving three Texas cities, we have been committed to giving back to the communities where our Employees and Customers live and work. We are proud to support the people and organizations in San Diego like Classy, and others that are dedicated to improving educational outcomes of our students and fighting poverty. We invite you to learn how Classy has enabled millions of people across individual campaigns to help fund thousands of non-profit organizations.
Last June, Classy hosted the Collaborative, a three-day experience presented by Southwest Airlines that connected all levels of the social sector to share breakthrough solutions to the world’s toughest problems.
The event drew more than a thousand of the top nonprofit leaders and entrepreneurs across the country pioneering incredible social innovations. Sessions and discussion forums explored a wide array of solutions, from addressing the refugee crisis, to revolutionizing agricultural production, to providing greater accessibility to education. In addition, attendees could experience firsthand the cutting-edge technologies driving the sector forward, from drones being used to combat illegal nighttime poaching in Sub Saharan Africa, to 3D printers creating affordable prosthetic limbs for children.
The event culminated in the 6th Annual Classy Awards Ceremony. Originally started here in San Diego to recognize local nonprofits in our community, the event has now become one of the most prestigious recognitions of its kind celebrating excellence in social innovation. Among more than 1,300 programs evaluated worldwide, 10 Winners were announced by presenters that included the CEO of PATH, the Director of Human Security and Technology at the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative, the VP of Sustainability at Google, the CMO of MADD and the Deputy Director-General at UNESCO.
Classy Award Winners are using creative thinking and technology to address a wide range social issues. Design That Matters developed a high-intensity phototherapy device to treat newborns with jaundice; Orbis International created the world’s first flying eye hospital to reach people suffering from curable blindness in remote parts of the world; and Organize is using social media to dramatically improve organ donation registration and traceability across the country.
Among those recognized as an innovative social organization was PCI, a San Diego-based nonprofit whose mission is to empower people to enhance health, end hunger and overcome hardship. PCI’s Satellite Assisted Pastoral Resource Management (SAPARM) initiative provides maps showing where pastoralists in Ethiopia and Tanzania can find vegetation for their herds. Since the program launched in 2014, herd deaths have been cut in half in PCI’s pilot areas. “Classy has given us a platform to give voice to the voiceless,” said Chris Bessenecker of PCI. “Pastoral communities are in danger. They are some of the most vulnerable communities on this planet. So, it is critical for us to raise awareness around issues of climate change and resource scarcity among the quarter billion pastoralists in Africa struggling to survive. We believe SAPARM could be a breakthrough innovation that can significantly improve the resiliency of these individuals.”
Classy started as a small group of friends looking to raise money for cancer research. Today, their team has grown from a handful of early founders to over 200 people here in San Diego, and has become one of the world’s leading fundraising platforms for nonprofits and social enterprises. With the incredible support of Southwest Airlines, they are fortunate to play a role in recognizing the nonprofits and social enterprises in our local communities that are helping to solve some of the world’s toughest challenges.
We invite you to join the 2017 Collaborative in Boston, Massachusetts on June 13 – 15. For more information, visit www.classy.org/collaborative.