For more than 50 years, Southwest Airlines has been committed to doing the right thing by our People and protecting our Communities. We take pride in our reputation as the airline with Heart, and that naturally extends to a passion for making a difference in our communities and protecting our resources. We are proud to partner with local organizations who are leading with heart and building a bridge to a brighter future like Episcopal Community Services. Originally founded in 1927, the organization provides social welfare programs for the poor, elderly, sick and those who otherwise might be forgotten. Southwest remains dedicated to serving in unique ways that are true to our Mission and that help those when they need it most.
Episcopal Community Services (ECS) serves more than 6,000 clients in the San Diego region, providing more than $30 million in health and human services to help individuals and families overcome hardship. Through the organization’s 95-year tradition of service, ECS has made a profound impact, and the arrival of new CEO Elizabeth Fitzsimons in 2021 has renewed the organization’s focus and vision to create an abundant and equitable society where all have unlimited potential.
Through the organization’s new strategic direction, Fitzsimons, the Board of Directors, and the dedicated ECS team continue to enhance ECS’ existing programming, while identifying and breaking down barriers that limit the community’s opportunity to thrive. The organization’s revitalized mission – to break barriers and transform communities through programs rooted in a tradition of action and faith in God – speaks to its efforts to build upon the organization’s deep history and strengths, while continuing to advance equity and opportunity across the region.
“We believe everyone should have equal access and opportunity to thrive,” said Fitzsimons. “This means we need to listen, lean into what we do best, and build on our capacity to meet the challenges of our times.”
ECS’ programs have made a difference in the lives of thousands of children, individuals and families. Its Head Start program increases access to early childhood education and development services for more than 2,000 young children. The organization’s bilingual Para Las Familias program serves 250 preschoolers and their families, allowing them to receive family counseling and mental health support. The Central East Regional Recovery Center provides intensive outpatient substance use disorder treatment and behavioral health support. The ACCORD DUI program serves 600 clients in their journey with drug and alcohol dependence. The organization’s transitional housing program, Uptown Safe Haven, provides safe and reliable housing for adults with mental health disorders that struggle with homelessness.
“We value belonging, respect, empowerment, exploration and stewardship, but, above all, we approach those that we serve with love,” shared Fitzsimons. “Our partners, like Southwest Airlines, not only align with our values, but are committed to taking action in our communities. These partnerships reiterate the belief that we are stronger together, and together we can accomplish anything.”
ECS is committed to continuing to adapt to change and the new demands of society. Under new leadership and with a reinvigorated mission, vision and values, ECS is an essential part of the initiatives and conversations that drive transformational change for generations to come.