November 2004 
Volume 03, Issue 7 
Special Features

EIP dollars help fund a tour of colleges

Mel Fortson (right) used his Employee Incentive Plan dollars to help pay for a tour of historically black colleges and universitiesFifty high school kids, eight adult chaperones, 20 colleges in two weeks. That describes how Mel Fortson, a 26-year Boeing employee who's part of the Global Diversity and Employee Rights team, spent his spring break earlier this year.

Sponsored by Northwest Black Pioneers, this tour of historically black colleges and universities helps get Puget Sound-area students—particularly minorities—interested in and thinking about college. Fortson's daughter Monica took the trip four years ago; earlier this year Fortson joined his son on the tour. And Fortson used his Employee Incentive Plan dollars to fund his son Christopher's costs for the trip. The EIP provides cash bonuses to eligible nonunion employees if the company achieves its annual financial goals.

"I knew my son would need help raising money to take the trip, so I was able to set aside some of my EIP payout to help him out," Fortson said.

The kids started preparing for their April 2004 trip in June 2003. They met regularly to volunteer, do fundraising activities and attend educational sessions on topics ranging from careers to packing for the trip.

On the departure date, the group flew to Washington, D.C., and spent two weeks on a bus visiting colleges along the East Coast and in the South.

"The kids get to meet people like themselves and see them in a college environment," said Fortson, who enjoyed the experience so much that he is planning to be a chaperone again in 2005.

"What's most inspiring is seeing the kids get so excited. They walk on these campuses and realize they can achieve a college education. Donating my EIP dollars was well worth it."


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