Billion-dollar company budgets are virtually impossible for us teachers to fathom, as we collect book order money or balance our personal classroom purchases against our home budgets. But some big businesses are also giving back in big ways to our schools. Read on for ways that these companies with products you use every day are putting their profits back into education.
Mark Zuckerberg and wife Priscilla Chan founded the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative as Facebook’s nonprofit foundation with a “mission and a commitment to a better future for our children.” Science and education are the foundation’s two major focus areas, with a goal of helping today’s children learn at the greatest possible rate. They have thus far donated hundreds of millions of dollars to school districts nationwide, as well as millions to education-focused organizations such as Code.org.
The non-profit arm of Microsoft is the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. One of their many grant focuses is K-12 education in the United States. The foundation invests in programs that strengthen the connection between teacher and student. In addition to direct donations to schools and districts, the foundation works with educators, policymakers and communities to identify new and innovative solutions that can help unlock students’ potential, and expand and accelerate exisiting programs that are succeeding for students.
In 2012, Verizon began helping underserved schools and now heads the Verizon Innovative Learning schools program. They provide tablets with data plans to schools and students, as well as free learning programs for students and teachers through their Mobile Learning Academy.
The Coca-Cola Company is committed to giving back 1 percent of its prior year’s operating income annually through The Coca-Cola Foundation. The foundation’s priority areas include global initiatives to empower women and help communities get clean water, as well as education grants stateside. Through the Coca-Cola Matching Gifts Program, eligible employees make personal contributions to qualified organizations such as schools and education-focused non-profits, and The Coca-Cola Foundation matches those contributions 2-to-1.
In addition to providing Google Education services to schools, Google.org works to provide grants to schools across the globe. Google.org tends to focus on major world problems in education that need a hand, but they also provide community grants to impact local schools and communities.
The Walt Disney Company gives back to education through book donations, donating 23.1 million books to children and schools in the past four years, as well as $333.3 million to nonprofit organizations helping kids, families, and communities in need through scholarships, grants, cash awards and more donation channels.
Expedia empowers its employees in each office to select local charitable organizations for donations, and American schools and education programs for children in need are the some of the biggest recipients. In-class writing instruction, professional theatre performances, children’s museum field trips and teacher grants are some of the ways Expedia’s charitable arm, Expedia Cares, gives back.