Scholarships: Your Company’s Most Impactful Investment

Scholarships: Your Company’s Most Impactful Investment

By Matt Konrad

For companies of all sizes, leading with purpose—that is, working toward a mission and considering corporate social responsibility (CSR) in decision-making—has never been more important. 78% of Americans “believe companies must do more than just make money; they must positively impact society as well,” and companies that put their corporate responsibility goals front and center are more likely to recruit and retain employees, create consumer loyalty and build trust across all types of stakeholders.

Of course, leading with purpose requires investing in the people, programs and initiatives that make it possible. And when it comes to that investment, there’s no better way to make a lasting and targeted impact than with a scholarship program.

Scholarships are an investment in your future workforce.

No matter what your company does, one thing is always true: your success comes down to the people doing the work. Whether you’re a family plumbing company, a regional retailer or a Fortune 500 finance firm, you’re relying on a trained, skilled and committed workforce to be at your best—and finding and maintaining that workforce is historically challenging right now.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that there are nearly 10 million job openings in the United States, and only around 6 million unemployed workers. Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic and its follow-on effects, economists predict that the current labor shortage may last for several years, leaving companies struggling to find staff.

Investing in education can make an immediate difference, helping your current employees or others in your industry boost their skills and advance their careers, like the United Health Foundation’s Diversity in Health Care Scholarship. And it also means you’re creating a pipeline of diverse talent for the future, by identifying and supporting the next generation of makers, doers and leaders in your industry or community, as is the goal of the Amazon Future Engineer Scholarship. As companies look for sustainable ways to create diverse talent pipelines, there’s no smarter way to do so than by investing in education.

Private scholarships give students the freedom to pursue what works for them.

Of course, there are lots of ways to make your educational investment—and many corporations and foundations have traditionally done so by supporting colleges and universities.

But while a gift or an endowment can help leave your mark on your community or alma mater, the truth is that giving directly to a single school doesn’t allow your dollars to make the biggest possible impact. Those funds can only go to a student who opts to attend that school, and are distributed at the college’s discretion. The student who receives them may or may not ever have a connection to your company, and they may not even need the support in the first place.

On the other hand, funding a private scholarship ensures that your dollars support the exact population of students you care about. Scholarship dollars follow the student who earns them, wherever their academic journey takes them. And that means you follow that student, and can provide them with access to mentoring, internships or other supports as they move from college to the workforce.

Scholarship partnerships bring you closer to the communities and people that matter to you.

As a result, the connection you build with students through scholarships goes much deeper than a check and a handshake. By investing directly in the communities you care about, you’re putting your company’s money where it matters. And by making a commitment to students in need, you’re telling those students and their families that you’ve got their backs—an investment that means so much more than a company logo on a plaque at your local college.

The world of higher education stands at an inflection point right now. Schools are settling into new post-pandemic realities; the Supreme Court’s decisions on affirmative action and student loan forgiveness are reverberating through historically marginalized communities; upcoming changes to the FAFSA will impact how students in need access federal help.

As students begin and continue their college careers in the face of this generational change, the generosity, flexibility and impact of private scholarships are more vital than ever. Together, we have the chance to lead with purpose, build the future workforce and change lives for the better. If you’re ready for your dollars to make the biggest impact they can, get in touch and let’s talk about making an investment in students.

Get in touch. Boost your impact.