The start of the New Year brings new energy, new resolutions and new strategies for many of us. In January 2020, the Corporate Responsibility team in Deloitte began their journey to reassess their community strategy to understand how they could make more of an impact with their community agenda through their charity relationships; were they making meaningful impact for those chosen charities and did their approach hit the mark for their people? The Deloitte team worked closely with their BITCI advisor, Marian Curry particularly in the early months of deconstructing their current programme of activities through the facilitation of workshops with key stakeholders of the agenda, employee focus groups and interviews and surveys with the charities they support. Marian played a vital role in steering the team and challenging them with their decisions and approach. Then COVID hit, but the team were undeterred and now feel that this even accelerated their journey to make bold and long-term changes. Deloitte like all companies had to pivot their model and their community impact was no different. We previously profiled how they lived their purpose during COVID 19 in an earlier article. Some of the significant global societal issues that came to the forefront in the past year through various activist campaigns also brought the responsible business agenda to the fore, where business was not only forced to respond or react, but expected to anticipate these issues and activate change. This along with strong support from leadership including CEO, Harry Goddard, enabled the team to make the leap to the next level with their agenda.
The new strategy is rooted in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, with Quality Education as the number 1 priority. One exciting new initiative that Deloitte will be backing is I Wish that has a clear education focus specifically supporting the STEM agenda. I Wish was established by Caroline O’Driscoll, Gillian Keating and Ruth Buckley and is a volunteer led community committed to showcasing the power of Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths to female secondary school students.
A further strategic decision was made to provide sponsorship to the DCU Educational Trust’s current study into effective virtual internship practices being led by Professor David Collings as part of the Access to the Workplace Programme. Deloitte are a long-time supporter of the Trust since making a philanthropic donation in 2007. The funds donated are used year on year to financially support students through their University years that otherwise would not have the means to do so. This commitment to the Access to the Workplace programme demonstrates Deloitte’s long-term and deep rooted commitment to making an impact in the community aligned to their education strategy.
People engagement continues to be high on the priority agenda too and there are a suite of volunteering opportunities for their people to engage in from I Wish mentoring to their Nurture Africa overseas programme that has pivoted to a remote programme working with the team in Uganda. There are also schools programme to volunteer on in collaboration with Junior Achievement and The Early Learning Initiative and not forgetting the newly developed Time to Talk programme in collaboration with BITCI supporting those on the EPIC programme with their conversational English.
The support for this new strategy was further demonstrated by leadership at Christmas time when the CEO and partner group made the extremely generous decision to redirect some of their usual Christmas party funds to a number of charitable causes. Bringing their people with them on this strategic journey was important to the team and so a survey on their fundraising approach was conducted to enable input from everyone across the firm. Three themes came out on top from their people: cancer, mental health and homelessness. A number of the Deloitte leadership participated in the Focus Ireland Shine a Light Night in October last year raising over €60,000. There were a number of other fundraisers focused on homelessness at the end of 2020 and over €100,000 was raised for this cause. So with the Christmas donations in mind, €80,000 was directed to two charities that work in the areas of cancer and mental health but who also have a clear alignment and focus in the education space. In addition a further €20,000 was put to a people’s vote where staff logged into a live webinar hosted by their CEO to vote on the causes they wanted to see supported at Christmas time.
The team were delighted to choose and support The Marie Keating Foundation and a Lust for Life as the beneficiaries of the €80,000 fund.
Deloitte’s ambition is to impact 50 million lives globally by 2030 through education, skills building and access to opportunity for those form marginalised communities and in an Irish context their goal is to reach 180,000 lives.
The funds will be used to support the further roll out of A Lust for Life’s Schools Programme, with the funding coming at a vital time for the organisation to secure the final funding required to roll out their strategic objectives.
The funds will be used to support the delivery of the Marie Keating Foundation School Cancer Awareness Programme enabling secondary school students and adult learners learn how to reduce their risk of cancer and how to spot the signs and symptoms early, in addition to funds for bespoke educational sessions with marginalised group’s all around the country.
Quote from MKF – Helen Forristal, Director of Nursing
“At the Marie Keating Foundation we target ourselves as part of our mission to make cancer less frightening by enlightening, to ensure that 30% of our work is targeted at groups who are too often marginalised and left out when it comes to access to healthcare. Cancer incidence rates are highest in underserved communities and we are passionate about ensuring that free access to information and advice on cancer’s earliest signs and symptoms and on the lifestyle changes everyone can make to reduce their risk of cancer, is available to everyone. We are so grateful to Deloitte for this generous Christmas donation and are excited to show the impact it will have in 2021 on our ability to engage and connect with these communities who need our support now more than ever.”
Deloitte was delighted to host the launch of the I Wish event with Minister for Education, Norma Foley TD, Jacqui Hurley and Lucy Mulhall (pictured in the photo) on the 2020 survey of female students’ attitudes to STEM. Reflecting on the impact of COVID-19 to progress around STEM, Deloitte partner and co-founder of I Wish, Caroline O’Driscoll said: “The pandemic has accelerated the pace of change of technology and scientific discovery. However, we must learn from the inequities this has exposed and work harder than ever to ensure that the next generation of girls are fully enabled to engage with Stem and participate in the economies of tomorrow”