United Announces $8 Million to Boost Eight Hub Communities - United Hub
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United announces $8 million to boost eight hub communities

By The Hub team, May 30, 2018

On May 30, we announced a total of $8 million in grants to help address pressing issues identified by local leadership in each of our hub market communities – Chicago, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Newark/New York and Washington, D.C. The announcement represents our commitment to invest in and lift up the communities where many of our customers and employees live and work.

San Francisco, California

a $1 million grant to the San Francisco Immigrant Legal & Education Network

On August 24, we announced a $1 million grant to the San Francisco Immigrant Legal & Education Network (SFILEN) to increase its advocacy and community engagement endeavors in the immigrant community. The four-year grant will allow SFILEN's Rapid Response Network to add staff and to strengthen its legal and education services. This grant also will help SFILEN provide mental health evaluations and interpretation services.

"United cares deeply about investing in communities we serve," said Janet Lamkin, United's President of California. "We have been a part of the San Francisco community for 90 years, and we are proud to help SFILEN in its important work with the immigrant community."

Learn more about this grant to the San Francisco Immigrant Legal & Education Network at United Newsroom.

New York & New Jersey

On July 18, we announced a $2 million grant to be split between the Community FoodBank of New Jersey, Urban League of Essex County, and Year Up New York. These organizations were selected for their work within the local communities that surround Newark Liberty International Airport and their dedication to vital workforce development programs giving people opportunities for the future.

"We are thrilled to be able to provide support to multiple New York and New Jersey communities to help individuals build their professional and personal development job skills," said Jill Kaplan, president, New York/New Jersey for United Airlines. "The Community FoodBank of New Jersey, Urban League of Essex County, and Year Up New York align to our core values as a company and the grants will provide new opportunities for each organization to further promote their missions."

Learn more about this grant to the Community FoodBank, Urban League of Essex County and Year Up New York at United Newsroom.

Los Angeles, California

On July 13, we announced a $1 million grant to First Place for Youth, a Los Angeles nonprofit organization, in support of their My First Place program. The four-year investment will enable First Place to expand wraparound support services to 50 percent more foster youth in the region. First Place will strengthen career-focused programming and provide the tools to help secure meaningful employment and increase lifetime earning potential for Angeleno foster youth.

"Everyone deserves access to the opportunity to earn a paycheck and succeed, especially our most vulnerable young people," said Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. "Through our HIRE LA's Youth program, partners like United Airlines and First Place For Youth are helping our young people find jobs, start careers, and realize their dreams."

Over the next four years, our investment in the My First Place program will help First Place for Youth provide Los Angeles' foster youth with safe, stable housing, individualized education and employment counseling and healthy living support services. We will work hand-in-hand with the local organization and engage with city and community leadership to create profound, sustainable advancements for the city's foster youth population.

Learn more about this grant to First Place for Youth at United Newsroom.

Denver, Colorado

Employees receiving the million dollar check for Warren Village in Denver

On June 29, we shared a $1 million grant to Warren Village, a Denver nonprofit organization that has been helping low-income, single-parent families make the journey from poverty to self-sufficiency using a two-generational model since 1974.

"Warren Village is a wonderful organization that is helping address Denver's homelessness through a comprehensive program designed to help single parents achieve sustainable stability for not only themselves, but their families, too," United's Vice President of Denver Operations Steve Jaquith said. "We're looking forward to partnering with Warren Village to help them in their mission to provide education, skills, hope and a bright future for those who need it most."

Our investment will provide both program and growth support for Warren Village, including improvements to the program and a focus on increasing participation. Additionally, we will be engaging our Denver employees in a variety of volunteer activities with Warren Village.

Learn more about this grant to Warren Village at United Newsroom.

Washington D.C.

United employees and members of Year Up accepting the grant

On Wednesday, June 27, at our Washington Dulles hub, we announced a $1 million grant to the Year Up National Capital Region to provide professional skills and transportation resources to the students in the program.

Specifically, we will work with this nonprofit organization to help close the "Opportunity Divide," specifically addressing the main barriers to the organization's program participants in the capital region: transportation and examination fees. By providing needed stipends and shuttle transportation from Year Up locations to internships and training opportunities in the region that would be difficult to reach without a personal vehicle, this grant will enable Year Up to provide motivated and talented young adults with technical and professional skills training to achieve upward economic mobility and access to meaningful careers within one year.

"More than 40 percent of our young adults face transportation challenges, and this grant will allow us to provide more transportation resources at all stages of the program, as well as deepen other student services support," said Guylaine Saint Juste, Executive Director of Year Up National Capital Region. "The generous grant from United Airlines will be able provide our students with more resources and remove barriers to their success."

Learn more about this grant to the Year Up National Capital Region at United Newsroom.

Houston, Texas

Volunteers at receiving United's grant at Houston Food Bank

On June 13, we shared a $1 million grant to the Houston Food Bank in support of their School Market program. The School Market program was specifically expanded to assist children attending Harvey-affected schools, which were among the hardest hit after Hurricane Harvey.

Our investment in the Food Bank's School Market program will provide nutritious food to students at 25 schools, each serving an average of 200 households a year. Among the 25 schools, 10 schools will receive new United-branded brick and mortar pantries onsite and 15 will receive mobile pantries. All pantries will be open this fall for the new school year and provide families the opportunity to shop for food throughout the academic year. By improving the quality of food and providing more access to fruits and vegetables, the Houston Food Bank expects to help increase students' fruit and vegetable intake, improve their academic performance and school attendance.

"United Airlines has a special connection to Houston and they continue to be a wonderful partner with the Houston Food Bank," says Brian Greene, president/CEO of the non-profit organization, the largest food bank in the nation. "Their latest grant will make it possible for us to provide food and nutrition educations to families, including many of whom were impacted by Hurricane Harvey. We thank United for making this important, substantial investment into one of its largest hub cities."

Learn more about this grant to Houston Food Bank at United Newsroom.

Chicago, Illinois

Oscar with employees and the Year Up check

In our inaugural announcement, we shared that we will work with the nonprofit Year Up to help close the "Opportunity Divide." in Chicago. This grant for $1 million to Year Up in Chicago will enable the organization to provide hundreds of additional motivated and talented young adults in Chicago with in-demand technical and professional skills training, hands-on corporate internship experience at top companies including United, college credits and support necessary to achieve upward economic mobility and access to meaningful careers in just one year.

Our investment in Year Up Chicago is expected to grow the program's reach by 25 percent while also contributing to launching a second campus in connection with Harold Washington College, one of the City Colleges of Chicago and the City of Chicago.

"Connecting our customers to the moments that matter most goes well beyond getting them from point A to point B," said Oscar Munoz, United's chief executive officer. "We have the opportunity to make lasting, measurable change. We are proud to do our part to help our home here in Chicago and are excited to share more with each of our hub communities over the coming weeks."

"Here in Cook County, more than 94,000 young adults are out of work and out of school, disconnected from the economic mainstream," said Jack Crowe, Year Up Chicago's executive director. "With United Airlines' help, Year Up Chicago will be able to accelerate its expansion, strengthening our communities and Chicago as a whole."

Learn more about this grant Year Up Chicago at United Newsroom

Today's announcement is the second in a series of community grant announcements United is making in all of its domestic hub markets over the coming weeks. In each community, we worked with city leadership to identify a unique area of critical needs in the city as part of our larger efforts to lift up communities in crisis.

Throughout these four-year grants, we will work hand-in-hand with local organizations and engage with city and community leadership to create profound, sustainable advancements.

Entertainment for all

By The Hub team, August 04, 2020

Our Marketing Inflight Entertainment and Connectivity team and Bridge, our Business Resource Group (BRG) for people with all abilities, partnered together to test and provide feedback on our award-winning seatback inflight entertainment (IFE) system.

Aptly named "Entertainment for all," our new seatback IFE system offers the an extensive suite of accessibility features, allowing for unassisted use by people of all visual, hearing, mobility and language abilities.

"It's nice to know that I can get on a plane and pick my favorite entertainment to enjoy, just like every customer," said Accessibility Senior Analyst and Developer and Bridge Chief of Staff Ray C., who is blind.

"As a deaf employee, the closed captioning availability on board our aircraft is something I value greatly," added Information Technology Analyst Greg O. "The new IFE further cements United's visibility within the deaf community and elsewhere. It makes me proud to be an employee."

Accessibility features of the new IFE include a text-to-speech option, explore by touch, customizable text size, screen magnification, color correction and inversion modes, and alternative navigation options for those unable to swipe or use a handset. For hearing-impaired and non-English-speaking passengers, customization options provide the ability for customers to be served content and receive inflight notifications based on their preferences and settings —with closed captions, with subtitles or in the language of their choice from the 15 languages supported. Our "Entertainment for all" system won the Crystal Cabin Award in 2019, and recently, the Dr. Margaret Pfanstiehl Research and Development Award for Audio Description by the American Council of the Blind.

"This really showed the benefits of partnering with BRGs in helping us improve products and services for our customers and employees," said Inflight Entertainment and Connectivity Senior Manager Corinne S. "Even though we have been recognized with awards for our IFE accessibility features, we are not resting on our laurels but continuing to work towards improving the inflight entertainment experience for all of our customers to ensure entertainment is available for all."

Shaping an inclusive future with Special Olympics

By The Hub team, July 24, 2020

If your travels have taken you through Chicago O'Hare International Airport anytime since October 2019, you may have had a friendly, caring and jovial exchange with Daniel Smrokowski. Daniel is one of four Service Ambassadors thanks to our ongoing partnership with Special Olympics. This inaugural ambassador program aims to provide Special Olympic athletes employment opportunities within our operation, affording them a unique and meaningful career.

Since 2018, our partnership with Special Olympics has become one of United's most cherished relationships, going beyond the events we take part in and volunteer with. While the plane pull competitions, polar plunges, duck derbies and Special Olympics World Games and other events around the world are a big part of our involvement, the heart of this partnership lies with the athletes and individuals supported by Special Olympics. To advocate for their inclusion in every setting is one of our biggest honors, and we take great pride in the role we play in the organization's inclusion revolution.

Aiding in the success of Special Olympics' mission to create continuing opportunities for individuals with intellectual disabilities, throughout the two-year partnership, United has volunteered over 10,500 hours and donated over $1.2 million in travel to the organization. The impact of this partnership is felt at every level, both at Special Olympics and within our own ranks.

"The Inclusion Revolution campaign, led by our athletes, aims to end discrimination against people with intellectual disabilities. United Airlines has joined in our fight for inclusion, empowering our athletes with the skills needed to succeed and opportunities to contribute their abilities as leaders," said Special Olympics International Chairman Tim Shriver. "United Airlines believes that people with intellectual disabilities should be perceived as they really are: independent, world-class athletes, students, employees, neighbors, travelers, and leaders who contribute to make this world a better place."

Our Service Ambassador program is just one of the many ways Special Olympics has impacted not only our employees, but also our customers. "I see every day how our Service Ambassadors connect with our customers the moment they walk into the airport lobby," said Senior Customer Service Supervisor Steve Suchorabski. "They provide a warm, welcoming smile ad assist in any way they can. To see these young adults hold positions that a society once told them they couldn't is truly the most heartwarming part of my job," Steve continued.

"The opportunity to be a part of the United family means everything to me," Daniel said. "I feel so much pride showing up to work in a Special Olympics/United co-branded uniform, working among such a loving and supportive community. The relationship between these two organizations is truly helping to shape my future while letting me use my gifts of communicating and helping others. Hopefully, I can spend my entire career at United," Daniel added.

In honor of Special Olympics' Global Week of Inclusion in July, we're asking our employees, customers and partners to sign a pledge to #ChooseToInclude at jointherevolution.org/pledge.

And be sure to check out Daniel's podcast The Special Chronicles.

United works with partners to send food to USDA food bank

By The Hub team, July 23, 2020

In collaboration with food-logistics company Commodity Forwarders Inc. (CFI), United moved nearly 190,000 pounds of fresh produce to Guam for the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Coronavirus Farm Assistance Program. This new program was created to provide critical support to consumers impacted by the COVID-19 global pandemic.

A variety of fresh fruits were transported from Los Angeles (LAX) to Guam (GUM) on United's newly introduced, non-stop cargo-only flight – a route added to meet cargo demand during the COVID-19 crisis. The fresh food was repacked in 10-pound cases in Los Angeles, prepared for departure at CFI's LAX location, and flown to GUM by the United team. Through this beneficial partnership between United and CFI, the perishable goods were kept cool during every step of the process and distributed as part of the food bank program in Guam.

"Everyone on our team has worked relentlessly during the pandemic to get critical goods to where they are needed most. Establishing a comprehensive network of cargo-only flights have allowed us to keep the supply chain moving even while passenger flight capacity has been reduced," said Regional Senior Manager of Cargo Sales, Marco Vezjak. "Knowing that we are able to help during these difficult times – in this case the Guam community – is our biggest reward and greatest motivation to keep moving forward."

United is proud to play a role in maintaining the global food supply chain and helping people access the supplies they need. Since March 19, United has operated over 4,000 cargo-only flights, moving over 130 million pounds of cargo.

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