New York Based Jamaican Charity COJO Benefits From Airline’s Philanthropic Spirit

Author:  Marcia Erskine
KINGSTON – October 16, 2017 – It is no coincidence that the New York based non-profit Children of Jamaica Outreach (COJO) Inc. has enjoyed the partnership support of the JetBlue Airways for more than a decade.  The airline and the charity both share a culture of giving.

Icema Gibbs Director Corporate Social Responsibility JetBlueLong before the airline began flying to Jamaica, COJO has been a beneficiary of the airline’s CSR initiatives. That investment has paid huge dividends and Jamaica is a favorite destination for JetBlue passengers with the Caribbean and Latin America region now accounting for approximately one third of the airline’s network, according to Icema Gibbs, Director of Corporate Social Responsibility at JetBlue. 

She noted that the airline which began service to Montego Bay in 2009 and later that year added Kingston, is now “the largest airline to fly from and within the Caribbean.” 

Currently providing daily service to Montego Bay and to Kingston from New York City, Gibbs said that “when you think of an exotic Caribbean vacation, you think of beautiful beaches and delicious cuisines and Jamaica offers all this and more.”

Icema Gibbs, Director Corporate Social Responsibility, JetBlue

She said that JetBlue is committed to helping to preserve Jamaica’s beauty too.  The airline has worked with the US Fish & Wildlife Service to start dialogue about responsible tourism and educating travelers about how to “buy informed” and travel smart to the Caribbean.

The airline produced PSAs featuring local Caribbean conservation heroes to arm travelers with the right questions to ask when purchasing wildlife and plant-related products like coral and shells.

In Jamaica, airline representatives met with Wolde Kristos, founder of the Bluefields Bay Fishermen’s Friendly Society, which focuses on sustainable fishing practices and coral reef cleaning.

JetBlue also supports local causes which benefit Jamaicans.  They are sponsors of a number of initiatives in the Diaspora including the New York based non-profit organization dedicated to improving the health, education and general well-being of underprivileged children on the island - Children of Jamaica Outreach (COJO) which in September 2017, presented scholarships valued at over US$20,000 to six former wards of the state to pursue tertiary studies.

ibbs said:  “We are excited to continue our support for COJO.  Giving back is part of JetBlue’s DNA and is core to our mission of inspiring humanity.  We focus our efforts on the areas that are most important to our customers and crew members – community, youth/education and the environment.  Our support for education focuses on providing access and opportunity to those who are traditionally underserved or overlooked.”  JetBlue, she said, committed to helping to provide better educational opportunities for deserving children in Jamaica”

 

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