Classy awards 2017

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 as a regional carrier serving three Texas cities, we have been committed to making a difference 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 helping nonprofits and social enterprises change the world for the better. We invite you to learn how Classy is empowering thousands of nonprofits around the world.

Kelly Knox
Community Affairs & Grassroots Senior Specialist
Southwest Airlines


Classy is a social enterprise that helps nonprofits build meaningful relationships with their supporters through a suite of online fundraising tools. Nonprofits of every size and cause – from human rights to disaster relief – use the Classy platform to raise money, engage their communities, and advance their missions.

Classy was started by a group of friends in San Diego who wanted to raise money to support cancer research, a disease that had affected each of the cofounders’ families. Their idea was simple: rally their friends to join a fundraising pub crawl and donate the contributions to the local chapter of the American Cancer Society. The first event was a success, and over the next few years the team continued to host more fundraisers, each supporting different local causes. As time went on, the team realized that philanthropy faced a growing challenge. A new wave of young people was hungry to help change the world, but the nonprofit community did not know how to engage them in a meaningful way. The giving experience needed to be modernized for the next generation of philanthropists.

In response, in 2011 the Classy team pivoted from hosting fundraising events that supported dozens of local organizations, to building online fundraising software that empowers thousands of nonprofits around the world, raising over $2 billion for social good to date. Classy’s suite of mobile and online fundraising and community engagement tools help nonprofits create a better giving experience for their supporters. Today, Classy’s staff of 200 people serves more than 6,000 nonprofit organizations, including The Salvation Army, Oxfam America, and Team Rubicon.

As a technology company, Classy’s business model is uniquely built to serve the social sector exclusively. For the founders, it was never just about making money; it was always about the impact the company could create by making giving easier. In the midst of COVID-19, Classy received its B Corporation Certification, which guarantees this founding vision will stay with Classy as it grows. “Our certification serves as a roadmap for how we can continue to expand our commitment to all of our stakeholders, while strengthening a social sector that plays such a critical role in today’s society,” says Pat Walsh, Classy’s co-founder and Chief Impact Officer.

Classy has always considered its contribution to society just as important as its financial profile. As part of its Pledge 1% commitment, Classy invests 1% of top-line revenue back to the nonprofit sector. Walsh adds, “We fulfill our commitment primarily through the Classy Awards, one of the largest impact awards programs in the country, and we are fortunate to have Southwest Airlines as a proud supporting partner of this event in 2021.”

Classy and Southwest have had a long-term relationship, one that extends beyond just the Classy Awards. The recently retired Manager of Community Outreach at Southwest, Lidia S. Martinez, serves as an advisor on the company’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee.

Classy has never been prouder and more motivated to help nonprofits and social enterprises change the world for the better. As the world’s problems grow more complex, Classy’s ability to support these efforts, as well as the company’s commitment to helping make capitalism more responsible to all its stakeholders, has never been more important.


author avatar
Esteban Villanueva