At Kronos, our corporate social responsibility program is called GiveInspired. We make a variety of grants each year, a number of which are more significant and ongoing partnerships. One of these is UTEC, a non-profit organization whose mission is to “ignite and nurture the ambition of Lowell’s most disconnected young people to trade violence and poverty for social and economic success.”
UTEC serves as a great example of the mutual benefits that corporate social responsibility programs can deliver as they make a real impact on their communities while also inspiring their employees. To help me explore this partnership, I interviewed Ed Frechette, UTEC Director of Social Enterprise Partnerships and Barb Vlacich, Kronos VP of Global Sales Operations and Strategic Programs. Barb initiated our partnership with UTEC a few years ago.
The UTEC mission statement refers to “Lowell’s most disconnected young people”, people who’ve often been involved in gangs or have done jail time and are ready to make changes in their lives. UTEC provides them with education support and workplace readiness training, as do many youth oriented non-profits. One notable difference with UTEC is that they are running multiple businesses in the community in order to prepare these young people for the workplace while also defraying some of the costs of the organization not covered through donations. The picture in this post is of the cafe they run in Lowell. One of the ways that Kronos and others support UTEC is to patronize these businesses – which also include mattress recycling, woodworking, and a commercial kitchen.
In this podcast, Ed talks about UTEC’s history, mission, programs and the young people they serve. We also talk about some of the creative ways that Kronos and UTEC have worked together to involve Kronos employees in the mission. Whether you already have a mature philanthropy program or are just getting started with corporate giving, Ed and Barb’s conversation with provide you with some fresh perspectives. You can listen in by clicking the podcast player below. And if you are as inspired as I am by UTEC, you can learn more about their initiatives and how to support them here.
Listen to my conversation with Ed here: