Sometimes, a school or city can benefit from a company looking to make a donation. Sure, it's just a tax write-off, but it can still be used to benefit your organization or city. Take the JetBlue Soar With Reading contest, for example. The program was launched about a month before it released plans to cut $300 million over two years, which includes laying off 13% of its workforce. While your city might be losing some JetBlue jobs, at least you can vote to get $30,000 for some new books. 

I'm sure some of the people losing their jobs will see it as ironic that the company has money for helping non-profits when it can't pay their salaries, but $30,000 is really a drop in the bucket compared to the $300 million the company is trying to save, and the contest is being run at just the right time to try to save some face. From reading the rules of the contest, it appears all 15 of the non-champion cities on the finalist list will receive $5000, which should take the total of prizes to just about $105,000. Not a small amount, but really about the amount the airline might pay one pilot for a year. 


It's really about the image, and donating books to kids can probably work to alleviate some of the negatives of laying people off, at least in the 16 finalist cities. What this means is that you should go ahead and vote for your city to win the grand prize, even if you're angry that your friend is losing a job with the airline. Even if you think it's a publicity stunt. Even if you don't believe in free lunches. I live in Jacksonville, FL, and I'll be voting for this and other similar donations for my own city. And if your own city isn't on the list of finalists, vote for JAX and then sign your own community up for some kind of similar funding stream. 

Yes, I know this is all advertising disguised as charity, but it's still free, and someone has to get that free lunch.