Investing in Placemaking

Heart of the Community is a signature outreach program of Southwest Airlines with a mission to build connections that bring people together and strengthen communities for a more resilient future.

Launched in 2014 with lead partner, Project for Public Spaces, the Heart of the Community grants provide financial and technical assistance to local community partners who seek to bring new life to their public spaces.

Southwest Airlines is in the business of connecting people to what’s important in their lives, whether it be to people or to places. By supporting central, vibrant, active public spaces, the Heart of the Community grants facilitate connections, which are the foundation for more resilient communities.

The goals of the Heart of the Community grants are to:

  • Help communities bring new life to their public spaces, transforming them into vibrant places that connect people and strengthen communities
  • Raise awareness of Placemaking as a mainstream approach and a catalyst for building sustainable, healthy, inclusive, and economically viable communities
  • Encourage activation, participation, and volunteerism in public spaces to benefit local communities

A Breakout Moment

At Project for Public Spaces, we have been helping people create and sustain public spaces that build stronger communities for almost 40 years. Over that time, we’ve seen Placemaking grow into an international movement. It’s a movement that needs the energy and input of people in all walks of life to get us to the point where every community is empowered to shape its own public spaces.

The Heart of the Community program is a breakout moment for Placemaking, and the partnership was highlighted in the 2015 United States Conference of Mayors Business Council Best Practice Report: Mayors and Businesses Driving Economic Growth. By investing in Placemaking, supporting important research, and engaging their thousands of Employees in Placemaking volunteer efforts, Southwest Airlines is making a bold statement about the vital role public spaces play in our communities.

Application for 2018 Grants

The 2017 Southwest Airlines Heart of the Community grant application is closed.

Have questions about the program or interested in applying? Please refer to our program explanation and eligibility criteria page.

If you want to be notified about the next grant cycle, please Subscribe to our mailing list.


Please watch the live webinar recording to learn more about the Heart of the Community grants – an exciting opportunity to create a vibrant, active space at the heart of your community!

In the webinar, we covered:

  • Grant information and process
  • Goals of the Heart of the Community Grant
  • Eligibility criteria
  • Technical assistance
  • Timeframe
  • Application process and key dates
  • Frequently asked questions

You can download webinar slides and materials here.