BlackBerry seeks to make a positive impact in our communities, engaging the talents and resources of our people and partners to harness the power of technology. BlackBerry strongly believes in the importance of education and works to inspire the next generation of minds, particularly in the areas of science, technology, engineering and math. Outreach efforts are concentrated on students at public elementary and secondary schools.
BlackBerry supports employee efforts to give back to communities through Proud2Be, a set of internal programs which present several opportunities to support our communities through fundraising drives and volunteerism. Through the Volunteer Recognition Program and the Child and Youth Active Living Program, BlackBerry donated to 294 organizations around the world. Through these programs and a variety of corporately supported events and activities, employees volunteered more than 14,800 hours in fiscal 2012.
Junior Achievement Europe innovation camps
As part of our commitment to furthering science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), BlackBerry has partnered with JA-YE Europe, Europe’s largest provider of entrepreneurship education programs. Our partnership has supported the facilitation of one-day STEM innovation camps, which have provided real life technology based business challenges for the students to tackle with our employee volunteers. Over 900 students and 70 employees in Italy, Spain, South Africa, France, Sweden and the UK have all had the chance to participate in these forward-thinking innovation camps.
An employee volunteer from Italy explained: “It was a fantastic experience, seeing how these young people were so engaged and energized. They loved to learn about BlackBerry and were able to use their creative skills to come up with some brilliant innovations. And for me personally, I really enjoyed being able to play my part in helping guide these students and see them gain confidence and get excited about innovation for the future”.
Science, technology, engineering and math
BlackBerry successfully reached over 1.5 million students over fiscal 2012 to encourage their interest in (STEM) through programs such as the Canada Wide Science Fair, FIRST Robotics, and the BlackBerry Hands On Workshops (BBHOW) series. The BBHOW program teaches 11 to 17 year olds the science behind mobile technology and explores careers in technology. Fiscal 2012 saw the expansion of this program into the U.K., with employee volunteers delivering workshops to eager students. In all, more than 9,000 students were able to participate in this learning program.
BlackBerry and Free the Children
BlackBerry is proud to partner with and help build on Free The Children’s record of local and global youth engagement to take action towards an inspired vision for tomorrow.
Free The Children has taken the unique notion of “children helping children” to affect social change around the world. Its work has resulted in significant changes in two distinct areas, both of which BlackBerry is proud to support. The first and most direct is access to education. The second is an increased level of awareness and engagement that changes the way the youth who volunteer view themselves and the world around them—a mechanism for shaping the leaders of tomorrow.
Through domestic empowerment programs and leadership training, Free The Children inspires young people to become socially conscious global citizens as well as agents of change for their peers worldwide.
BlackBerry Build A Village Awards
Going into its second year, the BlackBerry Build A Village Awards program sent 50 students to India and Kenya in July and August 2012. These students helped provide access to basic needs in the context of Free The Children’s four pillars of community development: healthcare, water and sanitation, education, and alternative incomes. They also had the opportunity to see the development projects that last year’s award recipients completed, including the schools and classrooms that are now open and the water and sanitation stations which are so vital to improving quality of life in Eor Ewuaso, Kenya and Bagad, India.
The school that BlackBerry award recipients helped build in Eor Ewuaso was honoured by Free The Children for several academic achievements. More than 1,000 students, teachers and parents attended the award ceremony which celebrated achievements from the previous year. Eor Ewuaso won eight awards, including best school overall.
We Day Waterloo
The third annual We Day Waterloo took place on Wednesday, November 14, 2012. Close to 6,000 students from throughout southwestern Ontario came together to experience an event like no other. Free The Children co-founders, motivational speakers, and celebrity guests helped rally these young people to take on leadership roles in their communities.
With the help of social strategy consulting firm Mission Measurement, Free The Children was able to capture unprecedented insight into the impact of our last We Day Waterloo upon students, educators, and their schools. Highlights include:
- 97% of students believed they could make a meaningful difference, up from 66% last year
- 85% of students felt more educated about social justice issues
- 96% of students planned to lead or play an active role in a social justice initiative
- More than half of the educators in the audience returned to their schools with a renewed sense of purpose and enthusiasm for teaching
Corporate Philanthropy application
The grant application period is now closed. The 2012/2013 application deadlines will be announced in the coming months.