On this #GivingTuesday, I’d like to reflect upon and share how proud I am of the generous contributions that our employees made this year to help those in need. We mobilized as a team following the devastating series of hurricanes that hit the U.S. and Caribbean, donating money and time to help the thousands in need.

We partnered with the Houston Food Bank to double employee contributions following Hurricane Harvey, and a group of employees drove into Houston to assist in the ongoing clean-up effort. After Hurricane Maria caused catastrophic damage in Puerto Rico, Blackboard made a corporate donation to Unidos por Puerto Rico (United for Puerto Rico), and provided our Blackboard Offline solution free to clients on the island. Additionally, we launched our annual First Book Virtual Book and Supplies Drive, enabling employees to donate to provide books and supplies to communities in need. Thanks to the generosity of our employees, we are donating more than 800 brand-new books to communities across Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico.

Blackboard Charitable Giving Program 

Another way we help give back each year is through our Charitable Giving Program. The program supplies grants to eligible organizations globally to help foster educational initiatives in their local communities. Today, I’m honored to announce the recipients of the 2017 Charitable Giving Grant:

Digital Harbor Foundation
Digital Harbor’s vision is to create productive, economically sustainable youth through both its direct-service youth programming and educator capacity-building. To achieve this vision, it focuses on increasing access to high-growth technology education, dual-enrollment, and employment opportunities; encouraging development of career-readiness skills; building the capacity of other educators to offer high impact technology programming through in-person and online offerings; and increasing direct impact through its Rec2Tech model to create new Tech Centers in Maryland and around the country.

For Love of Children
The organization’s mission is to provide free educational services beyond the classroom to help low-income students succeed from first grade through college and career. It brings together students, families, volunteers and community partners in proven programs that teach, empower and transform. Since its founding in 1916, the organization has served more than 10,000 youth.

Hopecam, Inc.
Hopecam’s mission is simple – to use technology to overcome the social and academic isolation of children homebound and hospitalized because of their cancer diagnosis.  When Hopecam founder Len Forkas’ son Matt was diagnosed with Leukemia 17 years ago, one of the first side effects was that Matt could not go to school. Forkas put a computer and a webcam in his son’s third grade classroom and another in his bedroom.  Seeing the remarkable change in Matt’s demeanor persuaded Forkas to found Hopecam in 2003 so that other children could stay connected while being treated for cancer.

International Minority Hub
Created in 2014, International Minority Hub seeks to empower a successful integration for refugee communities, serving as a one-stop shop for families. Recognizing that lack of knowledge and access to opportunities limits success, it provides over 15,000 connections to employment, education, health and basic needs services. The organization acts as advocates and teachers to and for refugees. Over 1500 people have been served in just the Manchester/ Concord areas in only 3 years!

John W. Knight Curiosity Lab
The John W. Knight Curiosity Lab is an initiative to spark and support curiosity, creativity and entrepreneurship for youth of all ages, from toddlers to high school. Founded by Erin Knight, and inspired by the limitless curiosity and innovative spirit of her late husband and engineer, John Knight, it works to create cutting-edge, responsive learning environments and experiential, 21st century educational opportunities for learners of all ages. Its mission is to provide learners with access to the tools, materials and permissions necessary to make and break things, to tinker and explore, to play with ideas, to question and reimagine everything and to feel empowered to act and pursue their emerging curiosities.

STEM for Her
STEM for Her is a non-profit foundation that promotes education to empower girls to change the world through science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) related careers. By providing financial support to programs that foster interest in STEM, the foundation works to create awareness, excitement and opportunities for girls and young women throughout the DC Metro region. Founded in 2003 by Women in Technology, it works with organizations throughout the region to provide STEM-related programs to girls ages 12-25.

Each year, I continue to be inspired by the generosity of our global workforce and proud of the way we are supporting organizations like those listed above who are dedicated to doing important work. I look forward to seeing the great work from our grant recipients and employees in the new year.


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