2009 PR News CSR Award: Diversity Communications

Impact*—A Commitment to Taking Bright Minds Further PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP (USA)

Research studies paint a grim picture of the state of diversity within institutions of higher education. According to 2007 from the U.S. Census Bureau, only 19% of the country's African American population had a bachelor¹s degree, compared to 32% of the non-Hispanic white population. As a result, university admissions offices nationwide are continuously looking for ways to identify minority members as potential students. The statistics also prompted PricewaterhouseCoopers to turn its attention to create Impact*, an educational development program that would inspire African-American high school students to pursue a post-secondary education.


To set the program's wheels in motion, PwC executives established a team comprised of leadership from the company's Office of Diversity, as well as an independent certified educational consultant to provide input into the development of program curriculum, mentor training and workshop materials. Then, the team launched a targeted integrated multimedia promotional campaign designed to raise awareness about and generate recruitment for the Impact* program, which, among other things, helps participants navigate the college application process. The components of this multimedia campaign included:

  • PwC PR team support;
  • Customized mailings;
  • Internal support;
  • PwC-branded Impact* marketing collateral;
  • Web site (www.pwc.com/impact ); and,
  • Branded giveaways.

In less than one year, the PwC Impact* program was rolled out in four major cities: Boston, Philadelphia, New York and Washington, D.C.—and reached approximately 155 high schools and community and faith-based organizations that serve the program's target population. Additionally, 56 high school juniors were selected for the inaugural class of Impact* scholars, each of whom were paired with PwC employee mentors.