Today, Symantec is announcing more than $1 million in grant funding to education-focused initiatives. Education – particularly science, technology engineering, and math education, as well as equal access to education around the globe – is a strong focus for Symantec. In addition to the corporate grants we are announcing today, employees at more than 26 office locations around the world are supporting local education initiatives – volunteering in classrooms, building libraries, acting as science fair mentors, and much more.
Some of these relationships are new ones for Symantec, reflecting our growth in this space and our maturation as a global company. Others are long-standing partners with whom we’ve worked for many years, establishing joint goals and executing programs around the globe. These latest grants give us an opportunity to deepen our engagement with these partners, to more fully apply our resources in terms of employee time and talent, and to expand our reach into new geographic areas.
The grants we’re announcing include:
- Teach for America (TFA), a national corps of outstanding recent college graduates and professionals who commit to teaching for two years in underserved urban and rural public school districts. Our grant will allow TFA to place more math and science teachers in these underserved districts across the United States. We also present Innovation Awards to TFA teachers in Los Angeles, the Twin Cities, and the San Francisco Bay Area, recognizing innovation, collaboration, and documented results in the classroom.
- Science Buddies, which helps children build their literacy in science and technology by providing web resources designed to inspire their participation in science fairs around the country, and by pairing them with science and engineering mentors. Symantec has been supporting Science Buddies since 2007, when we provided the funding to develop a computer science section on their website. Our employees have volunteered to develop computer science project “starter kits,” act as mentors to students, assist with the organization’s backend processes, and serve on the organization’s Advisory Board. This most recent grant will be used to expand the computer science content available on the site through the development of a prototype for a computer science project kit with hardware components, designed to complement online educational information for students, teachers, and parents.
- The World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS), the largest voluntary movement dedicated to girls and young women in the world. In January 2012, Symantec partnered with WAGGGS in the development and initial pilot phase of Surf Smart, an online safety curriculum. This curriculum provides skills and tools for young people to identify online risks and safeguards, understand online ethics, and recognize the wider impact of their own actions and other people’s actions online. The curriculum has been piloted in the United Kingdom, Germany, and France, with significant involvement from Symantec employees in those locations. The 2013 grant will support the expansion of the curriculum into Africa.
- Room to Read, a global nonprofit focused on literacy and gender equality in education across Asia and Africa. Symantec’s three-year commitment focuses on establishing libraries, supporting girls’ education, and expanding Room to Read’s programs to the Maharashtra district of India, where our Pune site is located. Maharashtra has long been a priority area for Room to Read due to its high rates of illiteracy – of the 759 million people in the world who cannot read or write, 35 percent live in India. It’s estimated that by the year 202, 50 percent of the world’s illiterate population will live in India.
- NPower, which brings the IT community together for social good through two core programs: Technology Service Corps (TSC), an IT workforce development program that responds to the needs of underserved, low-income youth and young adults; and The Community Corps (TCC), an online skilled volunteering portal that matches corporate IT employees with nonprofits and schools to address a variety of common but critical IT requests at no cost. Symantec has been a partner since 2009, providing both funding and employee volunteer time for both programs. This latest grant will sustain NPower’s general operations, and will also support the opening of its first TSC program to serve veterans in Dalla, Texas and the San Francisco/Silicon Valley region.
Finally, employee volunteers at Symantec sites around the globe are partnering with local education nonprofits to address specific education concerns in their own communities, through a combination of cash grants and volunteer time.
We’re proud to work with such dedicated education partners – watch this space over the next few weeks, as we’ll share some partner perspectives on these upcoming projects.
Cecily Joseph is Symantec's Senior Director of Corporate Responsibility and Compliance.