These Surprising Ways Companies Are Giving Back to Schools 

Jun 18, 2020 by

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Corporations sometimes get a bit of a bad rap in America. Because they are in the business of making money, they get accused of being greedy. However, in a capitalistic society, the more greenbacks a company has, the more good that it can do. 

These organizations need to turn a profit to continue their acts of charity. That means they need your support — but you can’t do that if you don’t know who they are. The following ten companies go the extra mile to give back to schools, so if you care about education, consider patronizing them the next time you shop. 

1. Expedia 

Mark Twain once wrote that travel is fatal to prejudice. However, not everyone has the budget — or the paid leave — to take a vacation. That’s why the plane and hotel giant Expedia gives to schools so that students who lack economic flexibility can explore the world through their learning. 

Expedia Cares partners with nonprofit organizations in America and worldwide. They allow employees in each office branch to select local charities, and schools are some of the most frequent recipients. They fund items like school trips and professional theater productions, and offer in-class writing instruction programs and teacher grants. 

2. GrillaGrills

If you think back to elementary school, you’ll know that recess — or any opportunity to be outside — was your favorite part of the day. GrillaGrills allows students and teachers to combine the efficiency of classroom learning with the fun of soaking in the fresh air and working with their hands. 

GrillaGrills partnered with Central Noble Elementary School in Albion, Indiana, to create a new type of educational experience. The goal is for students to create a unique barbecue company. In the process, they gain economic knowledge, computation skills and the old-fashioned ability to cook. 

3. Oriental Trading 

Teachers love Oriental Trading for their rock-bottom prices on some of the savviest school gear you can find. From brightly colored pencils featuring cartoon characters to stylish erasers and bulk orders of scissors, they have classrooms covered with the supplies students need to learn. They also offer a host of groovy toys for pennies apiece, making it affordable for teachers to buy rewards for positive behavior and exemplary efforts. 

Oriental Trading supports organizations and programs in education, healthcare and human services, emphasizing those that benefit youth. To be eligible for donations, an organization must be a 501(c)(3) nonprofit under the IRS code or a public school or university. Interested parties can submit donations requests online, and the company typically responds within four weeks. 

4. Disney 

What kid doesn’t love the magical mouse? The Walt Disney Company has donated 23.1 million books within the past four years. They’ve also given over $300 million to nonprofit organizations that help kids, families and communities in need in the form of scholarships and cash awards. Conservationists will be pleased to note that they also have a conservation fund that has dedicated $100 million to save the planet and its resources. 

5. Target 

If you want to patronize a responsible and affordable retailer that supports education initiatives with your back-to-school shopping dollars, take aim. Target recently reached its goal of donating $1 billion to schools in the form of books, supplies and field trips across the U.S. and the world. 70% of the funding went to reading and literacy programs. 

6. Google 

Google has committed more than $250 million since 2005 to address the global disparity in education. Their mission is to help those students in underserved communities have equal access to technology in the classroom. They also provide Google Education services to schools. 

7. Verizon 

Verizon began serving underserved schools in 2012 and provides tablets and data plans to students and teachers. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, they tripled the data allowance through their Verizon Innovative Learning Schools program. They also committed $10 million to nonprofits aimed at supporting students and healthcare workers. 

8. Logitech

The coronavirus pandemic highlighted the vast disparities between Americans in terms of income and access to resources like computers and internet access for at-home learning. When the news broke, they launched a K-12 education donation program to provide free webcams and headset bundles. 

9. Audible 

The Audible Cares program strives to be a part of improving the lives of everyone, particularly students. Their projects include engaging students in literacy and STEM activities, beautifying learning environments and conducting workshops where students learn real-world skills like how to code. They also participate in Reading Pals, an elementary school literacy program that aims to increase reading comprehension in Newark students. 

10. Starbucks 

You might know Starbucks as a desirable employer for those who seek help with college tuition. However, the coffee giant has ample love for younger learners, too. The Starbucks Foundation gave $6.9 million in 2015 alone, including $1.5 million in social development grants that benefit underserved communities. They also provide generous cash donations to various educational causes. 

Do Your Back-To-School Shopping at These 10 Retailers

When you shop for your kids as fall approaches, make sure to spend your money wisely. The ten retailers above do more to invest in education — repay them with your patronage. 

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