Alaska Airlines Foundation awards LIFT Grants to nonprofits as they transition from the COVID-19 pandemic

LIFT Grants support programs focused on young people in communities across five different states

The nonprofit Alaska Airlines Foundation has awarded $260,000 in LIFT Grants to 25 nonprofits in Alaska, California, Hawaii, Oregon and Washington. This is the first round of grants in 2021 that support programs focused on young people and provides career pathways.

“The Alaska Airlines Foundation supports community-based organizations to enable equity and opportunity through education and career development for middle and high school-aged young people,” said Diana Birkett Rakow, Foundation chair and vice president of public affairs and sustainability at Alaska Airlines. “Throughout the pandemic, these organizations have creatively adapted their programs and sought to close gaps left by COVID restrictions, lost family wages, and limited social interaction. This is a critical time to ensure that young people can thrive and be ready for future jobs not only in aviation, but other fields.”

The Foundation LIFT Grants support programs and initiatives that equip, empower, and inspire young people. The Alaska Airlines Foundation partners with nonprofit organizations with a clear vision on providing the next generation of leaders with the knowledge, skills and providing pathways for success.

In partnership with the Foundation, Techbridge Girls (TBG) will train local, after-school educators to deliver their girl-focused, and culturally affirming program for middle schoolers, ChangeMakers. ChangeMakers creates a safe space for girls to explore STEM; fosters girls’ leadership and helps them build confidence; and provides opportunities for girls to demonstrate their knowledge through project-based learning. It culminates in a Community Impact Project where girls create a plan to use STEM as a tool for social change. 

“Techbridge Girls is grateful to partner with the Alaska Airlines Foundation to expand access to STEM opportunities to girls and gender-expansive youth in grades 6 through 8 from marginalized communities throughout the Greater Seattle area,” said Nikole Collins-Puri, chief executive officer for Techbridge Girls. “For over 20 years, TBG has reengineered the way STEM education is taught, centering our girls’ brilliance and potential, with an emphasis on increasing STEM access, belonging, and persistence for BIPOC youth from marginalized communities. We believe that without BIPOC girls’ experiences, values, interests, voices, and brilliance, we will never experience the full possibilities of what STEM can do for our world, and we have set a goal to reach one million girls by 2030.” 

As communities begin to transition from COVID restrictions that curtailed in-person classes, the Foundation is supporting the Alliance for Education as they partner with the Seattle Public Schools Office of African American Male Achievement (AAMA). The Office of AAMA works to dismantle the systemic racism embedded in the public education system by working with Black boys and teens to reconstruct school systems and structures to meet their unique needs, advance public education as a tool for transformation, and create a strong learning environment that attends to the social, emotional, and educational needs of students.

“This LIFT grant will support the transformative work of the Seattle Public Schools Office of African American Male Achievement (AAMA) in partnership with the Alliance for Education,” said Lisa Chick, Alliance for Education president and chief executive officer. “AAMA works with Seattle’s Black students, families and communities to implement systems-level changes designed to create an educational environment that supports the brilliance and excellence of Black boys and teens in our district.”

The Alaska Foundation provided LIFT Grants to 25 organizations, the Alliance for Education being one of them.

The Alaska Airlines Foundation is a private, independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization based in Anchorage, Alaska. The Foundation’s core mission is to enable opportunity for young people through LIFT grants in the communities served by Alaska Airlines.