2011 CSR Awards: Community Affairs

Winner: Siemens Foundation/Discovery Education - Siemens We Can Change the World Challenge

Now in its third year, the Siemens We Can Change the World Challenge partnership encourages students to become agents of change by giving them the tools to develop solutions to environment problems in their schools and communities. Partners the Siemens Foundation and Discovery Education, along with the National Science Teachers Association, initially designed a program that leveraged dynamic, high-quality online digital content to engage students in sustainability issues.

For the second year of the Challenge, three grade bands (K-2, 3-5 and 6-8) were offered a wide range of virtual labs, e-books, lesson plans, videos and quizzes. Participants were asked to choose and research a particular environmental issue and create a replicable green solution using Discovery Education’s Web-based curriculum tools. A panel of environmental experts and science educators selected the top projects, which were announced via national press release and customized announcements for local markets.

Leading up to the announcement of the winning projects, national and local press releases for all Challenge milestones, along with outreach to environmental and scientific media outlets and bloggers, helped boost teacher and student participation by 14%. More than 13,000 competed in the 2009-2010 Challenge across elementary and middle school levels. The third Challenge running through 2011 has been expanded to include high school students. —Steve Goldstein

Honorable Mentions:
Alyeska Pipeline Service Company - Prince William Sound Traveling Health and Safety Fair:
Last year marked the tenth anniversary of Alyeska’s Traveling Health and Safety Fair, in which the company and 12 healthcare providers visit five isolated communities in Prince William Sound off the coast of Alaska. Many of the villages have no vision or dental care available; some of them also lack access to modern-day health screening equipment such as mammogram machines. Bringing such services year in and year out has helped Alyeska forge good relations in this region, which is populated by a large percentage of Alaska Native people.

Entergy Corporation - Entergy’s Pre-K Program: In Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas, where 20-30% of people live below the poverty line, Entergy has, over the past decade, become a major fundraising player and advocate for state-funded pre-K education. In 2009 alone, Entergy awarded a $300,000 grant to fund Mississippi Building Blocks, a statewide pilot demonstration project for high-quality pre-K.

First Choice Power: Food First: Texas electric provider First Choice Power focused on a single cause to create a unified brand image—hunger in Texas communities. Among its efforts in 2010, First Choice partnered with the East Texas, West Texas and Rio Grande Valley food banks to design and procure biodegradable bags for the banks to use in distributing nutritious meals for children to take home on weekends; First Choice also worked with partners to develop a delivery method for the food bags.

Oracle Corporation - Oracle Education Initiatives: In fiscal year 2010, Oracle’s Education Initiatives supported more than 1.5 million people in 95 countries with in-kind grants valued at more than $2.3 billion, representing a 24% boost over the previous year. More than 500,000 students participated in the Oracle Education Foundation’s ThinkQuest free online learning platform, and 1 million students completed the Oracle Academy’s software curriculum.

Turkish Catastrophe Insurance Pool - Trailing Earthquake Faults for Public Awareness: In Turkey, 98% of the population lives in active earthquake zones. The Turkish Catastrophe Insurance Pool sought to raise public awareness of earthquake preparedness by giving seminars in cities and towns on the North and West Anatolian Faultlines. TCIP took this on as a social responsibility project after a survey a revealed a lack of knowledge about both the dangers of earthquakes in the region and the country’s compulsory earthquake insurance system.

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