Creating opportunity
Businesses Backing Education
Free Enterprise Staff | September 26, 2016

–Cross-posted from the Corporate Citizenship Center

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation Corporate Citizenship Center tells the stories of the positive social, economic and environmental impact of business. Since 2000, the Center’s Corporate Citizenship Awards have showcased how businesses make the world a better place. Every day, businesses serve as a powerful force for good in communities across the United States and in countries around the world. They solve today’s greatest challenges through innovation, expertise, efficiency, capital, and collaboration. Awards are given in eight categories, and we will feature the finalists in each category separately.

The Corporate Citizenship Award for Best Commitment to Education Program recognizes initiatives to improve educational outcomes for students. The 2015 finalists show the significant, positive impact businesses have around the world. The finalists are:

GE Foundation

GE Foundation’s Developing Futures™ in Education Program supports quality K–12 public education in the United States. Focusing on school systems in need of reform, the GE Foundation’s Developing Futures™ program seeks to transfer proven GE business philosophy to American teaching and learning practices. Its goal is to ensure that Americans graduate from high school, college- and career- ready, with a special emphasis on developing STEM capabilities. Since its launch in 2005, Developing Futures™ has invested more than $225 million and thousands of hours to support student achievement and professional development for teachers in K–12 public schools across the country. The program has reached more than 10,000 educators, 1,450 business leaders, and 1.3 million students spanning more than 2,000 K–12 public schools.

Ernst & Young

Today one in three young people will reach the age of 19 without having had an adult mentor of any kind. EY believes that the business community can play an important role in filling the mentoring gap. Engaging in mentorship enables EY to build not only a high performance culture but also a future workforce while making a positive impact on a youth’s future. As a result of collaborating with FSG Social Impact Advisors, EY created its College MAP (Mentoring for Access and Persistence) program in 2009. College MAP leverages a robust operating model to empower local teams. In addition to a full cohort of mentors, each active College MAP city has its own leadership team composed of one executive sponsor, two program directors, and one persistence director—all EY volunteers. These teams partner with local high schools and work closely with a school representative to identify and meet the unique needs of their students and tailor their curriculums accordingly. Since 2009, EY has mentored more than 1,100 scholars, and 90% of College MAP students graduate from high school and go on to colleges and universities or promising trade and military careers. Additionally, in 2015, 100% of College MAP Scholars (370 Scholars in 21 cities) applied to at least six colleges or universities, and 97% of College MAP graduates have been accepted into a two-year or four-year college.

Accenture

In 2011, Accenture and the Knowledge is Power Program (KIPP) created Future Focus – a college and career readiness program that uses a blend of e-learning and classroom instruction to equip underserved students with career skills. To date, Future Focus has benefitted nearly 7,000 KIPP high school students and alumni, providing many of them with real-world experience through summer internships and applied learning opportunities. More than 175 organizations provided Future Focus students with internships in summer 2015.

Said Michael Pearson, a Washington DC-based KIPP intern, “Thanks to Future Focus and my internship, I learned valuable lessons on business etiquette—including how to carry myself in a professional environment—which some men do not learn until they are adults.” KIPP is a grantee of Accenture’s corporate citizenship initiative, Skills to Succeed, which is equipping more than 3 million people around the world with the skills to get a job or build a business.