Strategic giving is good business

By Heather Wilson, writer, Dell

Deb Bauer, Director of Global Youth Learning Strategy at Dell, has traveled the world in her job and has seen firsthand what it means for students to have computers for the first time, Internet for the first time – and even electricity.

“It’s the same everywhere – you give young people technology and they dive right in. They are transported from their classroom to the world beyond to learn about the world,” Bauer says. “We all want to be part of the wider world, and students just need access to join in.”

In the seven years in her role, Bauer has been witness to the big impacts a leading tech company can have when it applies its technology and expertise toward solving global challenges, like the lack of access to technology that millions of youth around the world experience.

As part of its Legacy of Good Plan commitment, Dell supports nonprofit organizations worldwide, not just through funding and new Dell technology, but also through its team members’ expertise and volunteerism. Bauer says Dell technology, when provided free-of-charge to its Youth Learning partners, is even more powerful when paired with the passion and expertise of volunteers.

“When our team members apply their energy and unique skills toward social change, it amplifies the impact of our grants and accelerates positive results in our communities. Community service also boosts team member happiness, morale and loyalty. And the new skills and insights that team members gain from volunteering often inspire new ideas for serving our customers,” Bauer says.

She adds that Dell focuses its corporate giving on education and childhood cancer, “because these are two major areas where children’s needs and our capabilities intersect.”

Susan McPherson, corporate responsibility expert and founder and CEO of McPherson Strategies, describes this sort of strategic giving as a “win-win for everybody.” McPherson says leading corporations have moved beyond just writing checks to apply their unique expertise in ways where they can make the most social impact.

As an example, McPherson points to Twitter and its NeighborNest, a learning center located around the corner from its San Francisco’s Market Street headquarters.

The microblogging site is applying its technology expertise, funding and employee volunteerism toward this family-friendly space that teaches tech skills to homeless and low-income families. According to its blog, Twitter is working with local organizations like Catholic Charities and Compass Family Services to coordinate child care, housing, and career help – even a program for school age kids who can learn to write code. Some of the teachers are volunteers from Twitter.

McPherson adds that by sharing stories – through videos, podcasts, and articles – companies can bring valuable awareness to global and local challenges.

“Every day, technology is playing a larger and larger role in our lives – professionally and personally,” McPherson says. “What I am seeing now is the lasting global impact a company can bring through awareness building. Without awareness, we would never know or begin to understand the challenges that are faced by those less fortunate. Through awareness, technology brings change.”

Bauer says Dell’s children’s cancer care initiative —one of Dell’s signature giving programs — is a prime example of Dell’s technology, expertise and volunteerism combining to create real positive change through what she calls, “shared value in action.”

Here’s an example of what she means by Dell’s “shared value giving model”:

  • Through its multimillion dollar, multiyear commitment, Dell designed and donated high-performance computing and cloud technology solutions that are dramatically accelerating children cancer patients’ paths to effective treatment.
  • The technology breakthroughs Dell volunteers made while designing this solution have already been applied to Dell offerings for its healthcare customers.
  • Through ongoing volunteerism with its nonprofit partners, team members are providing comfort and support to cancer patients and their families.

Dell has set two ambitious goals to drive its impact in communities as part of its Dell 2020 Legacy of Good Plan – the company’s long-term plan for putting its technology and expertise to work where they can do the most good for people and the planet.

One goal is to inspire more of Dell’s team members to use their passions and unique professional skills to serve their communities. The other goal is to connect the youth of today with a more promising tomorrow by improving access to technology.

Here, Bauer shares in a video interview what she and her colleagues are working on in order to leave a legacy of good in communities around the world.

To learn more about Dell’s progress s on its Dell 2020 Legacy of Good Plan, visit

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