Supporting Education: Companies that invest in the future

In November 2009, President Barack Obama launched the Educate to Innovate initiative to move American students from the middle to the top of the pack in science and math achievement over the next decade. This campaign includes the efforts not only of the federal government, but also of leading companies, foundations, nonprofits, and science and engineering societies that have come forward to answer the president’s call for all hands on deck.

Few community investments have the potential to make as big a difference in the well-being of society and individual lives as supporting the education of young people. Education also happens to be a shared priority among a variety of stakeholder groups. As a result, many companies have identified this philanthropic area as an ideal balance of employee and community interest, an area where companies can make a big difference, and an issue of great importance to the future of business and society.

The Center for Corporate Citizenship August webinar will feature three companies committed to providing resources for education at a variety of levels. Their investments include signature programs, volunteering efforts, grants, and creative solutions to meet growing needs of educators and their students. During this hour-long discussion you will learn why they selected their chosen educational focus areas, how they provide support and what results they have observed. Here is a brief background of the company representatives from Con Edison, Dassault Systemes, and Lubrizol, and an overview of their philanthropic commitment to education:

  • Hilary S. Ayala serves as the Director of Con Edison’s Grassroots Management and Strategic Partnerships Programs. One such partnership is with FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) as sponsor of local high school teams competing in an annual robotics competition. Engineers from ConEd provide assistance to the students in the research, design, and building stages for the robots they build, and act as advisers and testing partners. ConEd hopes to encourage students who are interested in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) to consider pursuing a career in those fields.
  • Janet Nicholas is Director of Strategic Initiatives for Dassault Systemes, a $2.6 billion French software company that sells a portfolio of 3D experience solutions and is the leader in product lifecycle management. Dassault’s corporate citizenship commitment is to improve STEM education across North America. A persistent gap in the educational system appears in the resources available for teachers. Dassault’s approach is to supplement the education of those teaching STEM subjects in the classrooms of local high schools. The Teachers at Dassault Systemes (TADS) program focuses on equipping teachers with resources and insight into practical applications of the subjects they teach. Dassault brings teachers into the company’s work environment to get exposure to the careers and resources of a technology company and facilitate direct contact with executives of different departments. The program also helps teachers to create curriculum and hands-on classroom materials that connect students’ academic studies to what goes on in the real world at a tech company.
  • Dave Enzerra is responsible for Lubrizol’s corporate responsibility strategies, including community engagement, sustainable development and government relations. Lubrizol supports education in a multitude of ways, including its Annual Science Teacher Awards, tutoring programs, teacher sponsorship programs, facility tours, and student-specific programs. Lubrizol recognizes that “it has never been more important for America’s young people to be excited about and engaged in the sciences. What these students are experiencing in classrooms such as (2013 teacher award winners) Mrs. Hashier’s and Mr. Pira’s will pay dividends for many years to come,” Dave explains. Lubrizol also encourages student internships at the company, offering opportunities for real-project experience and networking with people well-established in their careers.

To hear our panelists discuss these programs and more, click here and sign up for the Webinar on August 7th. If you have a specific question you’d like any of the panelists to address during the webinar, please send them in advance to

William Butler Yeats said, “Education is not the filling of a pail, but a lighting of a fire.” These companies are helping to light the fire of imagination and opportunity in the students’ and teachers’ lives they touch.