Jackie furrowed her brow and gazed out the window at the Miami skyline. She wanted to be proud of her company’s CSR program, but for the last year she had had a nagging feeling that it was falling short of achieving significant impact.
As head of North American CSR at SAP, Jackie knew that the organizations that SAP funded were grateful for the support. And many of them were doing work that improved the lives of people in their communities. But as Jackie read through the grants SAP had made in the previous year, she was struck by how disconnected they were: $10,000 to a soup kitchen in Atlanta; $30,000 to a school in San Francisco; $3,000 to match an employee donation to an animal rescue shelter in Dallas. In total, SAP gave grants to more than 200 organizations in North America. These funds were going to a variety of good causes. But Jackie was not convinced that they represented the best way for SAP to deploy its philanthropic dollars.
To increase clarity and strategic focus, Jackie engaged FSG to review SAP’s overall CSR portfolio and develop a new signature initiative in order to transform people’s lives.
But where to focus and why? Working closely with the SAP team, FSG identified potential options for SAP. Should SAP support veterans as they transition from military to civilian careers? Build interest among young people in becoming software developers? Work with community colleges to train aspiring professionals in the technology industry? After weeks of research and strategic analysis, an answer emerged: SAP would create pathways to careers in technology for high school students.
After they identified a strategic focus, Jackie and the FSG team carefully considered the range of approaches for creating pathways to technology careers. After additional research and deliberation, SAP decided to partner with a school district to create a high school that integrated technology into its curriculum. SAP would provide the school with start-up capital and would help link students with mentors at SAP and afford experiential learning opportunities at SAP and other technology companies. The opportunity to work with young people aimed to generate excitement among SAP’s workforce and ensure that SAP would take advantage of its non-financial assets of product and technology expertise.
The FSG team contacted stakeholders in New York City to gauge their interest in working with SAP to create a technology-oriented high school. The effort generated widespread excitement, and the City University of New York (CUNY) took the idea a step further by proposing that the high school also offer students the opportunity to earn an associate’s degree. To achieve that goal, CUNY contacted the New York City Department of Education, which was excited to join the effort.
The result was B-TECH (Business Technology High School), a partnership among SAP, the NYC Department of Education, and the Community College of New York that provides students the opportunity to earn both a high school diploma and an associate’s degree in a discipline related to business technology. B-TECH opened in the fall of 2014, and its first cohort of students will graduate in 2020. In addition to a high school diploma, these students will have a college degree, industry connections, and meaningful experiential learning opportunities at technology companies. Without SAP’s involvement, none of that would have been possible.
As market leader in enterprise application software, SAP (NYSE: SAP) helps companies of all sizes and industries run better. From the back office to the boardroom, warehouses to storefronts, desktops to mobile devices, SAP empowers people and organizations to work together more efficiently and use business insight more effectively to stay ahead of the competition. SAP applications and services enable more than 291,000 customers to operate profitably, adapt continuously, and grow sustainably.