Driven by PwC US partner nominations, our Reimagine Grants program launched in FY18 to accelerate innovative educational opportunities for underserved populations in the communities in which we live and work. Whether teaching technology lessons or financial literacy to students of all ages, mentoring a first generation graduate to succeed in college and beyond, or supporting veterans transitioning to civilian careers, PwC people regularly engage with organizations in their communities with both their time and money, making a direct impact and helping to create a more equitable society.
Collaborating with local leaders, PwC partners identified nearly 100 charities to apply for and ultimately receive an average $65,000 Reimagine Grant in FY18. PwC people amplified these grants through volunteer work with these organizations. All Reimagine Grants were directed to programs intended to increase access to the education underserved populations need to qualify for more meaningful, higher-paying employment.
Our investments focused on access to employment pathways for underserved populations that can help change the trajectory for future generations in a community. Some of our FY18 Reimagine Grants recipients include:
Learning how to use the right tools in new environments can open up a world of opportunities and give all young people a chance to thrive. That is what the All Stars Project’s Development School for Youth (DSY) is doing in several cities nationwide. The DSY offers young people from Newark, Jersey City, New York, Chicago, Dallas, and the San Francisco Bay Area — most of whom are low-income minorities — the incredible opportunity that comes from professional development and internship placement, connecting them to the world of work. Youth, ages 16-21, enroll in the rigorous 14-week afterschool program to develop networking and interview skills, write a resume, and build relationships with diverse business leaders. Each week, the participants travel to a different corporate site for a volunteer-led workshop. Upon graduation from the DSY program, students are eligible for a six-week paid internship the following summer. PwC’s Florham Park office has an ongoing successful collaboration with the Newark DSY, and throughout 2018 led career planning and personal finance workshops for a total of over 150 DSY graduates.
“All Stars Project placed me as an intern in summer 2015. It was my first real business experience, and I learned many valuable skills such as professional decorum, how to work with others, meeting deadlines as part of a team, and how to navigate the culture of a large global company. Through my experience in the DSY program, I felt prepared for my work at my internship. I am now a Staff Accountant for the City of Newark and am thankful for my internship and All Stars Project for the opportunity I received at the beginning of my career.”
Photo credit: Alexander Denmarsh
“We rely on the community and connections like the one with PwC to support our mission...it’s the lifeblood of the school. Without our supporters pledging their time and money, we wouldn’t be able to serve these kids.”
If you remove barriers that prevent students from thinking about their futures, they can have a better chance at graduating and contributing to their communities. Pittsburgh-based independent school, The Neighborhood Academy (TNA), is designed to do just that. Serving students in grades 6-12, TNA uses a nurturing and holistic approach to prepare low-income youth, mostly from the African-American community, for college and citizenship. Pittsburgh is plagued by achievement and employment gaps — only 8% of African-American students in the state test as “college ready”1 and African-American household income in the area is only 46% of white households2. With a continuous 100% college acceptance rate, alumni of TNA are changing that narrative as they graduate from college at over three times the rate of other low-income students. The holistic educational approach employed at TNA — including counseling, mentoring and support for both basic and emergency needs — enables the students to engage fully with the comprehensive college-preparatory curriculum and hone the skills they will need to succeed in the modern workforce. TNA provides full scholarships to every student, so it relies heavily on the community and corporate supporters to advance its mission. The Foundation’s Reimagine Grant has enabled TNA to maintain the necessary resources for college and career counseling for its expanded student body size of 152 students. Throughout the year, PwC volunteers facilitate workshops for students in every grade, focusing on financial literacy, STEM/coding, stock market challenges, and career exploration/mentoring. Whether dreaming of being an auditor or becoming a global analyst, TNA alumni are discovering and pursuing their passions for a meaningful career and making strides in leveling the region’s inequalities.
How can you help an academically-average student achieve above-average results? One way is to make an investment in that student and their family through enrichment programs, as the Midtown Educational Foundation (MEF) does. Targeting low-income, academically-average students and their families, MEF mentors students and teaches study skills and habits that they will carry through in life, focusing on integrity, honesty, and accountability. The 80% Latino and 20% African-American students come from over 100 schools in Chicago to the Midtown Center for boys and Metro Achievement Center for girls. The Reimagine Grant is funding MEF’s College Orientation Program (COP) for low-income high school youth in Chicago. MEF relies heavily on volunteers to tutor and mentor students, and PwC has been a dedicated supporter in the suite of apprenticeship programs over several decades. MEF has an impressive 100% high school graduation rate, with 100% college enrollment, due to COP providing FAFSA counseling, college application assistance, and much more. This positive, safe learning environment allows students to thrive as they prepare for the next step: college.
“The Midtown Center has helped me since seventh grade. I had received an ‘F’ in science because of my procrastination, but with the help of the teachers and tutors at Midtown, I was able to improve my study habits and I earned an ‘A’ by the end of the year. Now I’ve been accepted into the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). The Midtown Center has convinced me that even though one day I might become a great engineer, I have to keep helping kids with humble backgrounds to get a good education. I want to be that type of person when I grow up.”
Charlotte Coker Gibson
Executive Director, Charitable Foundation, PwC US