It’s time for education to be more front and center when we talk about social development and progress. Aside from some massive systematic and institutional changes, education is also necessary to lift people out of poverty, per studies conducted by the United Nations.
This principle is especially true for developing nations. Still, countries like the United States could also benefit significantly from education being improved and promoted. This is applicable especially in a time like COVID-19 when many students underwent stressful transitions and changes. It can also make a difference with rampant misinformation and antiscience campaigns making their way through mainstream consciousness and caused division and, worse, death. We live in a unique time in America when education is a matter of life and death.
If your company is thinking of ways to bolster its corporate social responsibility (CSR), consider promoting education through various activities. Here are some ideas to empower students and champion education in your area of influence.
Due to the COVID-19 crisis affecting so many families’ financial conditions, many students now report not being able to afford to go to college despite wanting to do so. While it’s always bad to experience a pandemic, this one could not have come at a worse time because college or higher education costs have continued to increase as household incomes failed to keep pace.
A scholarship fund is one of the best and most helpful ways to use your company’s resources. You would be sending a handful of dedicated, intelligent, and deserving students to college or university, which they wouldn’t be able to do otherwise. Your company would help change many lives and, in turn, the future of this country. The next generation is responsible for the growth of our nation, and believing in them would allow your company to do its part in building a better future for our country as well.
Help with debt relief
Another way you can help empower students or those who have recently graduated is by assisting them with debt relief. The Biden administration continues to expand eligibility for student loan forgiveness. However, there are still many who are still financially crippled by their student loans. There are plenty of ways you can help students or fresh graduates find some relief from this financial trouble:
- Your company’s CSR program can help pay off a portion of their student loans so that they can truly be empowered to start anew.
- If paying off student loans is too much, you can also help connect them with a reliable bankruptcy or debt relief attorney to help them advocate for themselves and their future.
Launch a literacy program
While a scholarship program can help send already literate and educated people to school, a literacy program can help you reach out to members of marginalized communities or low-income neighborhoods who never had the opportunity to learn how to read and write.
The Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy commissioned Gallup to do a study. The latter found that the low literacy rate among U.S. adults could be costing our economy as much as $22 trillion annually. Another study by the U.S. Department of Education found that 54 percent of adults in the U.S. have the reading ability of a sixth-grader.
It’s no small wonder our economy is negatively impacted by this statistic. Literacy is closely related to outcomes involving people’s health, employment, and personal income. That is why our country’s economic growth is inevitably affected.
A literacy program is more than just teaching people how to read and write; you would also be empowering them to enhance their content area learning through a research-based strategy and practice that improves their reading comprehension. Here are some groups you can consider engaging through the program:
- Out-of-school youth
- Members of low-income households
- People experiencing homelessness
Donate supplies and gadgets
Your company can partner with other brands and companies that offer school supplies and gadgets, especially at a time when face-to-face classes can transition back to remote learning at any point. For the latter, you can also involve your entire community by asking them to donate gadgets that are still working wonderfully. Fundraising activities can also work well if you want your CSR to include the community at large and not just you and your employees.
If you truly want your company’s CSR activities to launch initiatives that will provide lasting change, focus on education. When you empower students and promote education, you will change lives and change the country for the better.