DALLAS - Southwest Airlines Co. (NYSE: LUV) announced today the recipients of the 2017 Southwest Airlines® Heart of the Community Grants in partnership with Project for Public Spaces. Through Southwest Airlines’ Heart of the Community program, Southwest Airlines is committed to building connections that bring People together to strengthen communities for a more resilient future. One of the ways the airline is accomplishing this is by supporting the creation, activation, and sustainability of vibrant community gathering spaces.

The 2017 Southwest Airlines Heart of the Community grant recipients include:

  • Arts Council New Orleans in partnership with the Downtown Development District of New Orleans, Duncan Plaza, New Orleans, LA
  • Buffalo & Erie County Public Library, Buffalo’s Reading Park, Buffalo, NY
  • Downtown OKC, Inc., Kerr Park, Oklahoma City, OK

“At Southwest Airlines, we build community wherever we are, whether at our gates, in our planes, or out in the communities we serve,” said Linda Rutherford, Southwest Airlines Vice President and Chief Communications Officer. “That is the inspiration behind Southwest Airlines’ Heart of the Community program. By investing in authentic relationships and creating spaces and opportunities that bring People together, we can build connections and strengthen communities. We’re excited to see the positive impact each of these spaces will have as a result of these grants.”

Each 2017 Southwest Airlines Heart of the Community grant recipient will be eligible to receive up to $150,000 in total project funding through the Southwest Airlines Foundation, a corporate advised fund of Silicon Valley Community Foundation. The 2017 grant recipients also will receive technical assistance from Project for Public Spaces.

“Our goal in working with the 2017 Southwest Airlines Heart of the Community grant recipients is to help them create great public spaces where everyone in the community feels welcome,” said Fred Kent, Founder and President of Project for Public Spaces. “When people in communities come together in this effort, results are tangible and immediate, and the placemaking process itself helps to strengthen the sense of belonging, sociability, and inclusion that great places naturally generate.”

Since 2013, the airline has invested more than $6.4M in building connections and has awarded 20 grants through the Southwest Airlines Heart of the Community program. This year’s grant recipients were chosen from a competitive pool of 75 applicants representing 43 cities nationwide.