Making New Advances in Social and Community Investment with Applied Materials, Ecolab and Travelers

Northampton, MA –News Direct– Applied Materials

Societal and community investments provide individuals and organizations with tools and skills to improve the quality of life for themselves, their families and their communities. For many people living in underserved communities, some initiatives are also pathways to home ownership, job creation and small business development. This can include organizations working with low-income communities to create school-to-career pathways by helping students develop certain in-demand industry or technology skills. Companies can also make a positive impact through product donations, cash grants and employee volunteering.

This corporate spotlight identifies three companies that are making new strides in societal and community investment. Applied Materials, Ecolab and Travelers all remain committed to finding unique ways to help those who have traditionally been denied access to opportunity.

Applied materials

All children, regardless of gender, race or income level, should be able to pursue their dreams. Generation Girl®, an initiative of the Applied Materials Foundation, works to ensure that all girls[1] can reach their potential.

Built on three important pillars – philanthropic funding, volunteer employees and a commitment to organizational capacity – Generation Girl expands opportunities for girls to lead. With an access commitment in mind, the initiative intentionally prioritizes programs for Black, Latina, and Native American girls, as well as girls from low-income backgrounds – groups currently underrepresented in tech. .

In the first three years of the initiative, more than 25,000 girls across the country have participated in programs funded by Generation Girl, according to the company’s external evaluation.[2]. Although the COVID-19 pandemic caused various barriers to participation over the past year, girls participating in funded programs reported strong results in key areas, including growth in self-confidence (83%), proficiency in STEM (73%) and interest in pursuing post-secondary education (84%). And while the COVID-19 pandemic has had a disproportionate impact on communities of color, nearly 70% of girls in funded programs identified as black, Latina, or Native American, and 64% of girls were from low-income backgrounds. .

The second not-so-secret ingredient of the Generation Girl initiative is employee engagement. In 2021, Applied Materials volunteers from across the country invested their time and talent by participating in mock interview workshops, career talks and hands-on activities to introduce girls to the semi-industry. -drivers and encourage them to dream big.

These activities are mutually beneficial, as the girls have access to female role models in the field of technology and the employees are inspired by this new generation. As one recipient recently shared, “Thank you for this wonderful, non-threatening introduction to engineering and STEM, and a FUN way to broaden the visibility of these budding leaders!” The response from the volunteer employee of Applied? “Working with the girls was so much fun and I loved the energy of the team – it was inspiring!”

The third and final component of this work focuses on building the capacity of the nonprofit sector serving girls. Organizations focused on girls’ and women’s programs are chronically underfunded, with less than 0.1% of 2017 philanthropic giving focused specifically on underrepresented women and girls of color. Through a bi-monthly Community of Practice, the Applied Materials Foundation facilitates conversations among its more than 30 nonprofit grantees. Sessions to date have focused on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on girls, tactics for creating trauma-informed programming, and how to engage young people in courageous spaces.

Through philanthropic funding, employee volunteerism, and nonprofit capacity building, the Applied Materials Foundation is committed to developing the next generation of diverse women leaders.

Learn more about Generation Girl® here.

[1] “Girls” refers to broad gender youth (cis girls, trans girls, non-binary youth, gender non-conforming youth, gender queer youth and any youth who identify as a girl). This definition was developed by and is used with permission from

[2] Evaluation results relate to the program period September 2020 to August 2021. Measurements and results are provided by grantee organizations with analysis led by an external evaluator, Learning for Action.


As we all continue to experience global crises, including the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, the growing effects of climate change and, most recently, the war in Ukraine, businesses must remain resolutely committed to supporting communities around the world. whole world.

For nearly 100 years, Ecolab has supported communities close to home and around the world. In 2021, Ecolab responded with its largest donation of the year to date, valued at more than $40 million, working hand-in-hand with nonprofit partners to make a positive impact through donations of products, cash grants and employee volunteerism. Highlights include:

  • Product donations: The COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically increased the need for cleaning and disinfection products. In partnership with humanitarian organizations World Emergency Relief, Good360 and Global Citizen USA, Ecolab has donated $32 million of its cleaning, disinfecting and public health products in 22 countries to help fight COVID-19.

  • Cash grants: Through more than $7 million in cash grants, the Ecolab Foundation has supported local organizations in the communities where its associates live and work. These organizations are making a difference in the areas of youth and education, civic and community development, arts and culture, environment and conservation, as well as organizations that provide resources to underprivileged communities. served.

  • Employee contract: Ecolab associates were also individually challenged to do their part. Their dedication of time and resources embodies Ecolab’s goal to help make the world cleaner, safer, and healthier, including supporting charities in their local communities through more than 3,600 volunteer events. in 30 countries. In addition, associates have made more than $3 million in contributions to more than 2,600 nonprofit organizations worldwide through Ecolab’s Community Giving Program, supplemented by matching from the Ecolab Foundation. For example, in partnership with Kids in Need, Ecolab associates in the Washington, DC area assembled more than 1,000 backpacks with supplies for local children to start the school year.

As the war in Ukraine continues, Ecolab is committed to finding ways to help those in need. As of June 2022, the company has committed more than $8.5 million worth of Ecolab products to support the humanitarian response to the conflict in Ukraine. Additionally, employees contributed their own funds, with the Ecolab Foundation offering a 50% match to all associates wishing to donate to relief efforts in Ukraine through Ecolab community giving opportunities.

For more information about Ecolab’s community giving initiatives and the Ecolab Foundation, visit the Community Involvement page.


A prosperous future begins in the classroom, but many students from economically disadvantaged communities struggle to gain equitable access to academic and professional development opportunities. This gap can in turn hamper a company’s ability to effectively attract and retain diverse talent.

That’s why Travelers, a leading property and casualty insurer, focuses a large portion of its annual giving to organizations and programs that help students in grades 5 through 12, as well as college students and young adults. looking for a career in insurance. In fact, the company’s flagship education program, Travelers EDGE® (Empowering Dreams for Graduation and Employment), is designed to increase graduation for diverse students while providing a pipeline of talent in the insurance industry. and financial services.

It was the Travelers Board of Directors who first imagined a program that would benefit the community and Travelers. After extensive research and conversations with multiple stakeholders, the company found that there was a significant gap in graduation rates between students from economically disadvantaged communities and those from more affluent communities. They also found that diverse students from disadvantaged communities have historically been underrepresented in the insurance and financial services industry. The company decided to address this disparity and Travelers EDGE was born.

Fast forward 15 years, and Travelers EDGE is a sustainable school-to-career model supporting underrepresented students from high school through college and the workplace in Connecticut, Georgia, Maryland, and Minnesota. Through partnerships with colleges, community groups and high schools, Travelers EDGE offers students a holistic support system that includes financial aid and access to mentors, internships, job shadowing and professional development workshops.

Since its inception, Travelers EDGE has helped more than 300 students earn a bachelor’s degree, and more than 100 of those graduates have gone on to work at Travelers.

Travelers understands the importance of providing educational and economic opportunities to its communities. With the help of programs like Travelers EDGE, the company continues to work to close the gap and help students thrive.

About the companyCompany Spotlights are created through a thoughtful process of information sharing and communications support led by CECP, determining companies through a review of our Pillars of Excellence: CEO Leadership, Partnership, Innovation, Measurement and integration into the company. Once featured in a Spotlight, companies are part of an ongoing outreach effort, which includes recognition on our website and at the CECP summit. Contact us if you would like to be considered for this Spotlight.

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Jill E. Washington