Did you know UPS was founded by an underprivileged teenager trying to feed his family? It’s true. Over a century ago, 11-year-old Jim Casey became the breadwinner for his family of six after his immigrant father became disabled following years of frontier Nevada mine work and an Alaskan shipwreck.
Forced to drop out of school and abandon dreams of a college education, the enterprising young Jim started a series of frontier messenger services before he ever had to shave.
His first venture morphed into a West Coast moving company that’s still in business today. The second ended when his young partner was randomly gunned down in the street. His third endeavor, which he started at age 19 in the basement of a Seattle saloon, would mature into UPS.
Jim’s humble bicycle delivery enterprise has grown into a $58 billion company that employs 400,000 people, reaches 220 countries and territories, and is one of Louisville’s leading corporate citizens. 108 years later, we are still guided by Jim’s fundamental values: determination, inspiration and service, both to our customers and our communities.
As Jim’s business prospered, he never forgot the struggles of his youth, and he directed company and personal charitable efforts toward education and helping children. Those causes remain at the forefront of UPS community activities today. This is certainly true here in Louisville, where UPS donated $4.5 million, and where our 20,000 employees volunteered 353,000 hours at local charities last year.
UPS chose to support the Fund for the Arts’ School’s Out = Art’s In program because it is a great example of promoting education to kids who need a little help. The program’s goal is to make the arts accessible to children attending summer camps at community centers in underprivileged areas of Jefferson County.
California, Newburg, Baxter, Southwick, & Shawnee were five of the neighborhoods where young people benefited from School’s Out = Art’s In. Campers ranging in age from 5 to 13 received hands-on exposure to theater, music and art. Their creative works centered on building a better community, improving the environment, and just having fun!
As kids who’ve had to grow up fast in challenging circumstances, the arts campers have a lot in common with young Jim Casey. We hope the camp attendees can do great things, like Jim did, by mixing inspiration, determination, and spirit of service with the creativity encouraged by School’s Out = Art’s In.