Southwest Airlines has a big heart on all of its planes for good reason. As a corporate partner and sponsor of us for more than 15 years, Southwest has helped touch the hearts and lives of millions around the world for the better.

While they are famous for smiling faces, still providing great snacks and checking your bags for free, seats from Southwest flights are also making the airline famous in some of the poorest countries in the world.

Back in 2014, Southwest launched LUV Seat, a program that donates leather plane seats to be “upcycled” to create new leather products in Africa. Program participants develop new job skills and earn an income through producing leather bags, balls and shoes. Southwest has donated over 43 acres of leather to the program.

Under leadership of their Manager of Corporate Community Affairs, Lidia Martinez, Southwest has donated essential in-kind resources to our work, as well as facilitated significant introductions to partners, media and like-minded organizations.

Lidia has been instrumental in supporting our U.S. Border Programs in San Diego, our Annual Hands across Borders Gala as well as other key initiatives.

Lidia Martinez

Lidia Martinez at our Hands Across Borders Gala

Our Chairman, Ambassador Gaddi Vasquez, says it best: “We are so proud of our partnership with Southwest Airlines, and Lidia’s support has been vital to our ongoing success. She is a leader in San Diego and the Hispanic community, and we are honored to work with her on improving the lives of millions around the world.”

We’ve grown significantly throughout the course of our partnership, and we’re thrilled to see Southwest expand alongside us. All if us at PCI congratulate Southwest on its recent international expansion, and we look forward to widening our reach around the world together.

Southwest’s generosity supports our mission to empower the world’s most vulnerable communities, and we’re honored to be one of the airline’s chosen community partners.