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Companies that Give to Education

Several high-profile companies have committed themselves to donating generous funds to education to promote its quality, longevity—and, most importantly, its accessibility. Among these companies are private equity firm KKR, who have made significant contributions to schools through the Sponsors for Educational Opportunity programs, and Google, who is donating Chromebooks to incoming refugees to help them settle into their new homes and to provide refugees with a reliable educational platform. Additionally, car company Fiat Chrysler now offers free college educations to its employees. Though the donations and efforts look a little different, these companies are all working to support education.

KKR has given support to the Sponsors for Educational Opportunity (SEO) for years. SEO Scholars is an eight-year academic program that helps underprivileged public high school students all the way through college, supporting them for a significant portion of their lives. KKR cofounder Henry Kravis and KKR global head of public affairs Ken Mehlman attended the program’s 13th Annual Awards Dinner recently. “Since becoming Chairman of SEO’s Board of Directors, I’ve continued to be inspired by the determination of the young people we serve,” Kravis said.

Google is also doing its part to make sure people of all ages are getting access to information and opportunities they need. The tech company is donating $5.3 million to provide nonprofits with Chromebooks for Syrian refugees to help them learn new work skills, a local language, and to help them continue whatever studies they left behind. Chromebooks are an excellent low-cost option for nonprofits that can help needy people settle in to a new culture.

“[Chromebooks] can run an educational game for children, a language course for younger adults, or even feature information about the asylum application process on a pre-installed homepage,” said Jacqueline Fuller, director of Google.

Perhaps the only option better than a Chromebook is to simply offer free college education to those who want it. That’s what Fiat Chrysler is doing: the company is offering “no-cost, no-debt” college educations through Strayer University. The college offers Associate’s, Bachelor’s, and Master’s degrees in 40 different fields. In Florida, Georgia, the Carolinas, Alabama, and Tennessee, 356 dealerships have opted in to participate in the program. Any employee can enroll. The company hasn’t announced how the program is paid for, but it is likely that a deal between the two institutions has been reached. Fiat Chrysler’s program, called Degrees@Work, contributes to the overall wealth of knowledge its employees have that they can then pour back into the company.

Through these measures, these three companies are contributing to the world’s shared knowledge, empowering workers and educating people for the better.