This year, the Airbus Foundation is embarking on a new phase in its evolution, a journey that began nearly two decades ago in 2008. Julie Kitcher, Airbus EVP Communications and Corporate Affairs and newly appointed Airbus Foundation Board Chair, describes the new vision, as well as how it ties into Airbus’ overall purpose.
5 questions with Julie Kitcher, Airbus Foundation Board Chair
Q. You were recently named the Airbus Foundation Board Chair. What does your role entail?
My role is to help drive the Foundation’s mission forward. This includes making sure we’re reinforcing our commitments to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), as well as ensuring we have the framework in place to encourage an employee-centric approach designed to support local initiatives.
Q. What is the vision behind this new phase at Airbus Foundation?
We're not reinventing the wheel. Our goal is to continue to build on the incredible work—consisting of showcasing how Airbus people, products and business know-how can be a force for societal good—already done by the Foundation. At the same time, we want to incite a “grassroots” approach to enable the Foundation to become more “employee-centric,” facilitating volunteering and fundraising for all employees.
I believe there’s no greater catalyst for change than the power of a collective movement. Through the Airbus Foundation, we have tremendous potential to continue to foster inclusivity and education, while helping address the broader challenges within our communities.
- Julie Kitcher, Chair of the Airbus Foundation Board
Q. Can you explain these three pillars in more detail?
We’re refocusing the Foundation’s mission around the following three core pillars for corporate and employee activities:
Humanitarian: Emergency response will continue to be our main focus. This involves providing corporate support through our products and services for key “first responder” partners in the form of humanitarian relief flights, satellite imagery, and more.
Education: Promoting STEM topics to youth remains a key priority. But we’ll now focus on leveraging our “Discovery Space” digital platform to share engaging and innovative digital resources designed to inspire young people to get excited about STEM topics.
Environment: Given the increasing global challenge of climate change, the environment has become a new key pillar. Our efforts will focus on contributing to the climate strategies of our current partners, developing unique partnerships with environmental institutions and/or NGOs, and supporting a wider scope of employee-led environment initiatives within our communities.
Q. How is the current context reflected in the Foundation’s work?
We’re in the midst of an unprecedented health, economic and social crisis, which is creating historic levels of disparities. Nurturing partnerships with volunteer associations and international aid organisations, as well as increasing access to quality education opportunities and essential services through the Airbus Foundation will therefore be even more vital.
I’d also like to note that Airbus’ long-term commitment to society has never been more apparent than during the height of the COVID-19 crisis.
Key initiatives, so far, have included:
funding humanitarian flights between China and Europe to transport millions of masks for public distribution
working in partnership with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, Aviation sans Frontières and other NGOs to provide medical and education equipment around the world
launching the “Discover at Home” campaign, which promoted digital STEM content for children studying at home during the lockdown period
supporting innovation projects and employee initiatives through the Humanity Lab @ ProtoSpace.
Furthermore, the Foundation’s new roadmap includes establishing an advisory council to draw in additional support and provide expert advice and strategic direction on how we can best help the recovery from COVID-19.
Q. How does the Foundation support Airbus’ overall purpose?
The Foundation is a great example of how we use our products, services and business know-how as a force for good. For me, this goes hand-in-hand with our purpose of pioneering sustainable aerospace for a safe and united world. I also believe there’s no greater catalyst for change than the power of a collective movement. Through the Airbus Foundation, we have tremendous potential to continue to foster inclusivity and education, while helping address the broader challenges within our communities.