December 06, 2019 The Corporate Social Responsibility Newswire

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Operation Growing Brain Cells: Impacting Education and Changing the World

Submitted by: Tony Ricciardi

Posted: Sep 21, 2015 – 06:00 AM EST

Series: Education for a Sustainable Future

Tags: education, csr, business, employee engagement


This is the most recent article in our series "Education for a Sustainable Future". For more articles, go to

At Listen Up Español, as in many other organizations and businesses, we have seen firsthand the benefits of corporate social responsibility. But for our team – everyone from c-suite executives to call center agents – the most important benefit of “doing good” is the knowledge that we can and do make a difference. The goal is that by using a strategic approach, our philanthropic efforts will allow our employees to experience firsthand the impact that we can all make as a dedicated team.

In the past, we have donated funds and volunteered time with buildOn to build a new school in the impoverished town of El Jícaro, Nicaragua. Going on this trip was one of the most important social responsibility initiatives we’ve had within our company. Through the partnership with buildOn, we funded the construction of a school in Haiti and supported two consecutive years of an after school program for underserved youth in Chicago. This year we are funding the third consecutive year of buildOn’s Youth Engagement Zone at Benito Juarez Community Academy and in December we will be funding construction and sending team members to build a second school in Haiti.

Education statistics in the communities we have helped are mind-blowing. Haiti’s illiteracy rate is at a high of 52% and 60% of children there do not attend primary school past the 6th grade. Nicaragua, in spite of economic growth over the last twenty years, is now the second poorest country in the Western Hemisphere behind Haiti. In Nicaragua, 79.9% of the population earns less than $2 a day, but imagine if education improved and people learned skills that could help them prosper. In the United States, the education crisis in urban communities has a dismal effect on our youths’ potential. They face poverty, violence and drugs in their community on a daily basis, all things that can increase dropout rates and reduce college attendance.

One of our company core values is “Growing Brain Cells” because we believe that inside every person is more potential than they even realize. We strive to help our staff, as well as youth around the globe, unlock their potential. For youth in Haiti, Nicaragua, and even developed communities like Chicago, education can be easily forgotten due to things like lack of buildings, books, or family and community support. As a company, we aim to give people the support necessary to get a better education and improve their overall quality of life.

If your company currently practices social responsibility, here are three things to consider:

1. Involve your employees from the beginning:

Informing employees that their workplace efforts serve the greater good is an important factor for the success of community projects such as the ones we do with buildOn. For the construction taking place in December, we will send a team of company volunteers to help build the school they fundraised for; we did the same thing for the school built in Nicaragua. To get the employees engaged in the project, we hold a company-wide contest for agents and administrative staff who want to volunteer. Through this healthy competition, we are able to bring a high level of awareness to the projects we do. And although all team members are not able to participate in the actual construction, we take pride in sharing videos, like the one here, that show what we are doing rather than simply tell. We always want to make sure that everyone in the company understands the impact they have through our company’s social responsibility projects.

2. Align the company values with the causes you support:

By creating a common goal within the company which is focused on doing good, we are able to continue living our other company core value, “United as One”. Even though people at our company come from different countries and different backgrounds, working together to make a difference makes us feel that we can change the world one project at a time.

3. Find a credible nonprofit that can execute the mission:

Listen Up Español supports various philanthropic efforts, such as volunteering in soup kitchens, organizing clothing drives for orphanages and retirement homes, raising funds for animal shelters and more. However, education is extremely important to us. This is why we chose to partner with buildOn, a nonprofit that describes itself as “not a charity, [but] a movement.” Their mission is to empower U.S. urban youth to transform their neighborhoods and the world through intensive community service. And globally, they construct a new school every three days in some of the economically poorest countries around the world.

For our company and the individuals on our team, improving education is not only a passion but a duty we strive to fulfill daily. It’s not only the commitment we make to hone training and skills in-house, but also to promote education and knowledge in other areas of life. We understand that education breeds empowerment and can have life-changing effects in all communities; and this is the reason our biggest philanthropic initiatives focus on this cause.

This is the most recent article in our series "Education for a Sustainable Future". For more articles, go to

The opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by CSRwire contributors do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of CSRwire.

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