DALLAS, Sept. 1 /PRNewswire/ -- Southwest Airlines announced today plans to increase the number of hospitals and medical transportation organizations that will receive grants in the airline's 2011 Medical Transportation Grant Program. Southwest has nearly doubled the grant program's 2011 budget with hopes of assisting more than 5,500 patients and family members with their medical related travel needs. Southwest Airlines understands that many patients with chronic or terminal illnesses have to travel for their appointments or treatments. In hope of easing some of this burden, Southwest Airlines created a formal program to assist patients during this difficult time. Through the Southwest Airlines Medical Transportation Grant Program (MTGP), the airline provides complimentary, roundtrip tickets to hospitals and medical transportation nonprofit organizations. The tickets are distributed by the organizations to deserving patients and their caregivers who must travel for medical care.
Only 501(c)3 qualified hospitals and organizations are eligible to apply for the program. The 2011 application is now available online and is due by Oct. 25, 2010. Apply today by visiting: www.southwest.com/cares
"The number of applicants to the program has grown exponentially since its inception three years ago," said Linda Rutherford, Southwest Airlines Vice President of Communication and Strategic Outreach. "Southwest's program is unique, and we want to provide help to more families in need through our 2011 grant program."
In 2010, Southwest increased its ticket allocation to medical organizations by 23 percent to donate $1.2 million in transportation to 29 institutions that then provided tickets to patients and family members in need. To see a full list of 2010 participating hospitals and medical organizations, please visit: www.southwest.com/cares.
To read an excerpt from a few of the families who received free transportation through a grant in 2009, visit Southwest Airlines Nuts About Southwest blog: www.blogsouthwest.com. To learn qualifications for travel assistance through the designated organizations, please contact the Social Work, Travel/Concierge Service, or Patient Assistance Department directly at each location, which each have unique guidelines for administration of tickets.
About Southwest Airlines
Southwest Airlines' "Share the Spirit" program embodies the Culture of positive impact in the communities it serves, demonstrated through Southwest's charitable giving, Employee volunteerism, and community relations programs. Southwest Airlines is one of the most honored airlines in the world, consistently appearing on FORTUNE Magazine's "Most Admired Companies" list. After 39 years of service, Southwest Airlines, the nation's leading low-fare carrier, continues to stand above other airlines – offering a reliable product with exemplary Customer Service. Southwest Airlines (NYSE: LUV) now serves 69 cities in 35 states. Southwest also is one of the most honored airlines in the world known for its commitment to the triple bottom line of Performance, People, and Planet. To read more about how Southwest is doing its part to be a good citizen, visit southwest.com/cares to read the One Report. Based in Dallas, Southwest currently operates more than 3,200 flights a day and has nearly 35,000 Employees systemwide who work hard each and every day to provide excellent Customer Service and make a difference in the community. To learn more about Southwest's community involvement, visit www.southwest.com/cares.
SOURCE Southwest Airlines