Alaska Airlines unites with local businesses to help residents who need it most

Photo by Ingrid Barrentine

As the nation confronts the coronavirus outbreak, it’s those on the front lines who need help the most: workers without health insurance, healthcare’s first responders, residents in our region’s most vulnerable communities.

Leaders across the country are working hard to respond to the pandemic and will be for some time. We admire the creative leadership and partnership of public and private sector entities to support food and nutrition, shelter, education and other basic needs of the neighbors within our communities.

We are humbled by this collective effort. While simply one step, Alaska Airlines is grateful to join other businesses headquartered in the Seattle region – including Amazon, Costco, Microsoft and Starbucks – to support the Seattle Foundation’s COVID-19 Response Fund. The joint effort by philanthropic, government and corporate partners has raised more than $12 million since it was announced March 9, with donations from businesses and individuals continuing to come in.

Donations will be used to support organizations with deep roots in affected communities, and funds are expected to start reaching front-line community groups within the next few weeks. Learn more about how businesses can donate.

“Our region has faced many challenges over the years, and this coronavirus is no exception,” said Brad Tilden, Alaska Airlines chairman and CEO. “All 23,000 of us at Alaska are focused on keeping employees and guests safe every day, and we are optimistic about our future. We’re proud to join the city, county and partners across our region to support this fund for those with the greatest needs.”

The grants will focus on needs in these hard-hit communities within the Puget Sound region:

    • Residents without health insurance and/or access to sick days
    • Residents with limited English language proficiency
    • Healthcare and gig economy workers
    • Communities of color, among others

“Alaska Airlines and the Alaska Airlines Foundation are dedicated to supporting our communities and continuing our work to enable opportunities for young people,” said Diana Birkett Rakow, vice president for external relations. “Right now, these are our most urgent needs: to protect and support our community’s most vulnerable – and to get through this crisis together.”

The following immediate needs in the community will be the first priority for the grants:

    • The economic impact of reduced and lost work due to the outbreak
    • Needs of economically vulnerable populations caused by closures and cancellations related to COVID-19
    • Increased demand for medical information and support
    • Fear and confusion about the outbreak among the region’s most vulnerable residents

“COVID-19 represents a battle on two fronts – a public health crisis and a threat to the economic stability of so many in our region,” said Seattle Foundation President and CEO Tony Mestres. “While we are all dealing with the effects of this outbreak, some of our neighbors face disproportionate challenges around time off work, the cost of care, and reliable access to information. Through this Fund and thanks to the generous support of our partners, we want to make sure everyone in our community has the support they need, regardless of race, place, income, or identity.”

To inquire about the grants or be considered, email the Seattle Foundation at covid19@seattlefoundation.org. Funds will be awarded to community organizations, and individuals in need of support should inquire about help from organizations working within their communities.

Visit Seattle Foundation’s website to stay up to date on the status of the COVID-19 Fund’s fundraising and grants.

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