Corporate and Foundation Partners
We just LUV Southwest Airlines!
Since its founding in 1971, Southwest Airlines and its employees have been innovative in finding ways to serve the public better than the competition. Once, in the early days, management had to sell one of the company’s four planes in order to meet payroll. The employees responded by learning to turn around an inbound aircraft in ten minutes, creating unprecedented efficiency. Few airlines have ever come close to matching the level of commitment – or the spirit – of Southwest Airlines employees. And when it comes to taking care of people – especially patients and families transiting to or from St. Louis Children’s Hospital – no one does it better.
Since 2011, without interruption, St. Louis Children’s Hospital has been the grateful recipient of Southwest Airlines’ Medical Transportation Grant Program tickets, for use by families in need, based on selection criteria developed by our social work team. Because the hospital offers every pediatric medical and surgical specialty and subspecialty, and because it is ranked among the nation’s top children’s hospitals, it is a destination hospital for children with complex medical conditions. Often, the families of children with complex conditions are financially challenged. Complimentary Southwest tickets make it possible for parents to ensure that their children can get to the kind of highly specialized medicine and care they require for the best possible outcomes.
The tickets also make it possible for an out-of-state parent who remains at home, usually because of work and family obligations, to come to St. Louis to visit their hospitalized child. This makes Southwest a significant partner in St. Louis Children’s Hospital’s family-centered care, which promotes healing for sick kids and wellbeing for parents.
By the end of this year, the program will have assisted our patients and families more than 200 times. In addition to those tickets it has given here at SLCH, Southwest has donated more than $13 million in tickets to other hospitals and medical transportation institutions since 2007.
According to Debbie Wafford, Program Manager of Southwest’s Medical Transportation Grant Program, "Prior to the creation of the Southwest Airlines Medical Transportation Grant Program, Southwest Airlines Employees had long been assisting patients and their caregivers with complimentary flights on their own because it was the right thing to do. It’s the freedom of offering assistance and knowing you’ll be supported by your leaders that speaks to the culture of Southwest Airlines. When HIPPA laws were introduced employees were no longer able to directly assist patients. Knowing the need still existed, our Charitable Giving Team created the Southwest Airlines Medical Transportation Grant Program. I’m proud to share that our Senior Leadership Team has strongly supported the program since its inception, seven years ago."
Physicians and staff at SLCH strive every day to provide safe care, effective care and exceptional service. Similarly, Southwest provides our patients and families with safe travels, timely arrivals and great service. SWA passenger service agents and crew members know when they have passengers aboard that include recipients of SWA Medical Transportation Grant Program tickets, and go out of their way to make them feel welcome. We have had many parents ask us to convey their gratitude for the exceptional service – and kindness - they have received aboard their Southwest flights.
Our friends at Southwest Airlines built their corporate identity around the symbol of a heart. We think the heart is the perfect symbol for Southwest, and that’s why we chose to send this message of thanks in February, American Heart Month and the month of Valentine’s Day.
And so, from the bottom of our hearts to the airline with a heart…
Thank you, Southwest Airlines, for all you do for children and families,
especially the kids at St. Louis Children’s Hospital!
We LUV You!
View past corporate and community partners here:
- Express Scripts
- Alberici Construction, Inc.
- Schnuck Markets, Inc.
- Hogan Transportation Companies
- Hyundai Hope On Wheels
If your company or foundation would like to discover opportunities for partnerships with St. Louis Children's Hospital, please contact:
Flip Becker, Sr. Director, External Relations
Jeanne Gibbons, Officer of Corporate and Foundation Relations