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Boeing pledges more funds for SC veterans, bringing total donated past $4M

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Boeing Co. has donated more than $4 million to veterans causes during its time in South Carolina. File/Staff

Boeing Co. has upped its investment in South Carolina's veteran community. The company announced Wednesday it is giving $765,000 to veterans organizations in the state.

The latest contributions, coordinated with Veterans Day, bring Boeing's total donations to veterans causes in the Palmetto State past $4 million, per the planemaker's counts.

Companywide, Boeing said Wednesday it is granting more than $14 million to veterans causes. An additional $4.5 million will be spent to start "Future Force," a workforce training program for veterans seeking careers in aerospace or defense that will be run in partnership with the Institute for Veterans and Military Families at Syracuse University. 

Boeing, which builds its 787 Dreamliner jet in North Charleston and, at the beginning of the year, employed about 7,000 South Carolinians, says veterans make up more than a fifth of its workforce in the state. 

It lists seven organizations and programs among its veterans-related grant recipients, including North Charleston-based Palmetto Goodwill, which aids veterans seeking jobs in the region, and the Palmetto Warrior Connection, a group that helps veterans transitioning to civilian life.

Two local outdoor programs aimed at helping veterans through recovery — local tour company Coastal Expeditions' kayaking resiliency program and Lowcountry Equine Assisted Psychotherapy, which brings horses and therapists together to help veterans on Wadmalaw Island — have also been supported by Boeing grants.

Like Boeing's $1 million contribution to the International African American Museum that's under construction in Charleston and its just-announced partnership with Allen University, the company says its grants to veterans groups are tied to its statement earlier this year about combating racism.

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Organizations getting funding will direct dollars "to programs that increase the number of underserved and minority veterans receiving support," the company said in its Wednesday announcement.

In September, Boeing also pledged to increase the representation rate of its Black employees in the U.S. by 20 percent.

Boeing has not disclosed how many employees who work at the company now at Black, but starting next year, the planemaker has said it will start reporting the racial breakdown of its U.S. workforce.

This year, Boeing's workforce in South Carolina has shrunk by an unknown number as it cuts jobs through buyouts and layoffs as it seeks to resize itself to weather the financial blow dealt to the industry by a steep drop in air travel during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Still, the state's aerospace sector is hopeful Boeing employment in the state will recover or even increase, following the news last month that all 787 jet production will be moved to South Carolina starting in mid-2021.

Reach Emily Williams at 843-607-0894. Follow her on Twitter @emilye_williams.

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