OVERVIEW: Philanthropy at Goldman Sachs, the international financial behemoth, is anchored by its Office of Corporate Engagement. Giving takes a various forms through a variety of programs, but the commonality is a commitment to community development and community engagement around the world. Its four main giving areas are in education, community-building, support for veterans, and job growth/economic development.
IP TAKE: Goldman Sachs has firmly declared its commitment to education, both nationally and internationally, through its Goldman Sachs Gives initiative. This is a program that gives big and promotes big—and therefore expects its partners to have a big presence and big plans.
PROFILE: On the Corporate Engagement page of the Goldman Sachs website, the company shares that, since 2008, it “has committed in excess of $1.6 billion to philanthropic initiatives,” including support of K-12 education throughout the world.
All philanthropic initiatives for Goldman Sachs flow through its Office of Corporate Engagement. Within that umbrella are multiple programs (including the Goldman Sachs Foundation). K-12 education falls under its Goldman Sachs Gives program, which was established in 2007, and is a donor-advised fund wherein “current and retired senior employees can recommend grants to qualified non-profit organizations.&rdquo Goldman Sachs states that since 2010, it has given $1.25 billion to this program.
“Diversified” and “impactful” are the two key words used to describe the giving mission of this program.
Goldman Sachs Gives focuses on four areas of giving. The first on its list is Increasing Educational Opportunities, which it defines as aiming to “to facilitate the promotion of innovation and excellence in education worldwide, especially for the underserved.” In addition to diversified and impactful, for its education giving, “access,” “innovation,” and “excellence” are also added to the mix.
Goldman's other giving areas are in community-building, support for veterans, and job growth/economic development.
Like many givers in the K-12 education realm, Goldman Sachs seeks to enrich the opportunities for underserved populations and low-income communities. It seeks to support the creation of -- and student access to -- high-quality schools, as well as after-school and community-based programs.
It’s the scope of its support that distinguishes Goldman Sachs from the rest of the philanthropic K-12 education marketplace. Its giving is big-ticket both domestically and abroad, including:
- $20 million for the construction of the Promise Academy Charter School, a project of the Harlem Children’s Zone (New York, NY);
- $2 million to Princeton Day School (Princeton, NJ) to endow its need-based financial aid program; and
- serving as a founding consortium member (and presumably hefty donor) for Women Enhancing Technology, including establishing a program that builds a pipeline of girls entering into Information and Communication Technology by launching afterschool activities, exposing girls to role models, and engaging parents and teachers.
As to be expected, the Goldman Sachs Gives program does not have a formal application process. As stated above, the program takes recommendations from current and retired Goldman Sachs senior employees.
In that context, it wouldn’t hurt to learn a bit about the passions of Dina Habib Powell, the highly visible head of Goldman Sachs’ Office of Corporate Engagement. You can also learn more about the groups Goldman Sachs has been supporting of late by visiting its Meet the Grantees page.
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