Creating positive global change starts in the places we call home. We’ve seen it firsthand, through the colleagues who help amplify our global citizenship efforts and bring home community-driven solutions in the places where we work and live.
Today is International Day of Charity. Annually, it celebrates all who invest in charitable work and who are addressing society’s challenges at the local and international level. At Dow, our people are at the heart of our commitments to advance sustainable solutions, build inclusive communities and develop tomorrow’s innovators through STEM.
Here are some examples of how Team Dow is making an impact in our communities.
Our signature ALL IN ERG Fund competitive grant program engages our Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) to champion projects that advance inclusion in our communities. In 2020, $250,000 in seed funding was granted for community projects. This year, we are dedicating $350,000 in funding to these inclusion projects.
For example, in South Africa, Sharon Singh, a Dow Packaging & Specialty Plastics customer manager and member of Dow’s Disability Network, championed the Plastics for Wheelchairs project after her experience with a family member who was disabled. Singh worked with multiple Dow ERGs and the Sweetheart Foundation’s Tops & Tags program. Through this program, schools, students and volunteers worked together to recycle plastic bottle tops and bread tags to exchange wheelchairs for those in need.
As part of our commitment to advance sustainable solutions, we continue to encourage responsible waste management in our communities through the #PullingOurWeight cleanup program. In 2020, more than 6,400 employees, family members and customers collected 1,208,100 pounds of waste across 28 countries.
Much of that waste was collected in cleanups in and around the company’s hometown of Midland, Michigan, which was devastated by a 500-year flood after local dams broke. Teams of employee volunteers joined the efforts to pick up debris and help restore the impacted communities.
So far in 2021, more than 85 #PullingOurWeight events have taken place and we continue to collaborate with new partners and customers across the globe to make an impact.
Dow is investing more than $5 million to Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) for programming, partnership and support to enhance the Black STEM talent pipeline. We are proud to partner and invest at Florida A&M University in Tallahassee, Florida; Howard University in Washington, D.C.; North Carolina A&T State University in Greensboro, North Carolina; Prairie View A&M University in Prairie View, Texas; and Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
Our partnership aims to inspire and attract underrepresented minorities into STEM disciplines; retain and develop Black students in STEM; build the Ph.D. pipeline of Black student talent by supporting undergraduate, graduate, and faculty research programs; and underwrite the education of some students pursuing STEM degrees at HBCUs, through the Future of STEM Scholars initiative (FOSSI).
We recognize the importance of working alongside our community partners and using the power of partnership to drive positive impacts. In 2020, Dow received hundreds of requests for COVID-19-related assistance from our communities. In response to community requests, Dow produced hand sanitizer at multiple manufacturing sites and collaborated to develop and donate Level 2 medical isolation gowns, among other actions.
Dow people also are building their leadership skills and expertise by providing guidance to various nonprofit organizations on boards and advisory committees. In 2020, more than 63% of our executive leaders and direct reports sat on boards of multicultural organizations with most involved in community inclusion and sustainability efforts related to their board positions. We launched a partnership with BoardSource to provide ongoing support and education to help employees serve with confidence.
We know employees value their participation with our ERGs and are passionate about volunteering in their communities.
Studies, including our annual employee VOICE survey, have found supporting a culture of corporate volunteerism can build and strengthen trust, leadership skills, employee and customer engagement and retention, in addition to stronger communities.
To further support and encourage our employees to give back to the communities in which they live, we announced earlier this year our intent to launch our first-ever Volunteer and ERG Participation Policy. It will allow our employees paid time-off to volunteer and engage in ERG activities.
To learn more about how Dow is creating positive social change through community investments, global and local partnerships, and engaging our employees, see our Dow 2020 Environmental, Social and Governance Report.