BlackBerry seeks to make a positive impact in our communities, engaging the talents and resources of our people and partners to harness the power of technology. The Corporate Citizenship strategy focuses on investing in strategic charitable partnerships, supporting employee charitable endeavors through Proud2Be Programs, and inspiring tomorrow’s youth leaders through BlackBerry’s partnership with Free the Children.
Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM)
BlackBerry has made investments in STEM education to inspire the young technical minds in communities around the world through partnerships with FIRST Robotics, the Canada Wide Science Fair, and others.
Strategic decisions continue to be made on charitable investments and how we best support the business moving forward. Recently, the fiscal year focus has shifted to better support our government and enterprise clients.
BlackBerry also sponsors 10 women as part of its BlackBerry Scholars Program - a global scholarship program for undergraduate students at accredited colleges or universities. The Program is designed to help increase the number of women studying and influencing the future
of mobile computing, including Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, and particularly those with an interest and/or aptitude in the mobile computing space.
Canada-Wide Science Fair: The BlackBerry Smartphone App Development Award was given to Noah Bergmann (far right) from Merritt, BC for his “The Musician’s Toolbox” app, Kieren O’Neil from Kamloops, BC for his “Deciphering Recycling” app, and Whitney Anderson from Prince George, BC for her “Tasker” app to prevent distracted driving.
Canada-Wide Science Fair
BlackBerry was a partner of the Canada-Wide Science Fair (CWSF) from 2008 to 2014, and was the presenting level sponsor from 2012 – 2014. Together, we helped to accomplish two primary goals:
- To help participants benchmark their scientific and technological achievements against those of peers and to create a positive scientific and social experience for all the young people involved.
- To expose other students in the CWSF’s geographic area to peer role models – the best young science and technology minds in the country.
The CWSF is organized by Youth Science Canada, a national charitable organization that awards the event to a different local host committee every year. The CWSF 2014 was held in Windsor, Ontario.
This past year, BlackBerry also sponsored a new award category at the 2014 Windsor Fair - The BlackBerry Smartphone App Development Award. Geared towards students interested in computer sciences or app development, the award recognized students that displayed their creativity and ingenuity in harnessing the power of smartphone technology to solve real world problems in the form of a mobile application.
FIRST Robotics Competition
BlackBerry has been a proud supporter of FIRST Robotics Canada from 2000 to 2014. FIRST Robotics’ mission is to inspire young people to pursue further studies and careers in the field of science, technology, and engineering.
In 2014 the BlackBerry-sponsored FIRST Robotics Waterloo Regional Competition took place at the University of Waterloo from March 20-22. The event attracted over 600 students to compete in the most intense robotics sporting event on earth. In 2014, BlackBerry was a gold level sponsor of all FRC Regional events – and specifically the Waterloo Regional competition.
BlackBerry employees volunteered in various roles including judging and engaging with competitors at the BlackBerry booth.
To learn more about FIRST Robotics Canada, visit their website.
Apps for Good
BlackBerry has proudly partnered with Apps for Good from 2011-2013. Apps for Good is a UK charity program that helps young people learn to design mobile apps that tackle real world problems. The organization aims to ignite a passion in young people to use mobile technology for the social good.
In 2013, more than 5,000 students from 97 schools took part in the program throughout the year. Their participation culminated at the Apps for Good Awards 2013, where they pitched their ideas to industry representatives. The winning application for the BlackBerry-sponsored Keep Moving Category was Pitch Pals, a tool that helps young people tune their musical instruments in a fun way. With help from BlackBerry developers, the students who created the winning app concept were able to produce and publish Pitch Pals. The app is currently available for download in BlackBerry World, where it has a 5-star rating and has received 235 downloads.
STEM Teacher Resources
As part of our partnership with Junior Achievement, teaching resources and materials have been developed to help teachers increase their comfort level in teaching STEM subjects and to inspire students to consider pursuing these subjects in future studies and career decisions. These resources were piloted with teachers who reported that they added value to existing curriculum (100% agreement) and that they were easy to use (95% agreement).
BlackBerry supports employee efforts to give back through Proud2Be, a set of employee programs which present several opportunities to support communities around the world through donating, fundraising and volunteerism.
Our current Proud2Be Program offering includes:
- Grant Program, an opportunity for active volunteers and fundraisers to be rewarded for their efforts. This past calendar year, employees donated $140,500 to 200 organizations around the world. Employees volunteered more than 5000 hours of personal and corporate time.
- Spreading Cheer Program, an annual holiday campaign supporting team work among employees and encouraging them to give back to the community. This past holiday season, the program achieved a strong global participation rate with over 300 employees from 10 different global operating locations donating $10,000 and over 1000 food and clothing items to charities worldwide.
BlackBerry and Free The Children
BlackBerry is proud to partner with Free The Children’s record of local and global youth engagement to take action towards an inspired vision for tomorrow. Free The Children has taken the unique notion of “children helping children” to affect social change around the world. Its work has resulted in significant changes in two distinct areas, both of which BlackBerry is proud to support. The first and most direct is access to education. The second is an increased level of awareness and engagement that changes the way the youth who volunteer view themselves and the world around them—a mechanism for shaping the leaders of tomorrow.
Through domestic empowerment programs and leadership training, Free The Children inspires young people to become socially conscious global citizens as well as agents of change for their peers worldwide.
BlackBerry Build a Village Awards
Since 2011, the BlackBerry Build a Village Awards program has sent 150 students to India and Kenya to help provide access to basic needs in the context of Free the Children’s five pillars of community development: education, health, clean water, agriculture and food security and alternative incomes. Each year, 50 students have the opportunity to see the development projects that the previous year’s award recipients completed, including the schools and classrooms that are now open and the water and sanitation stations which are so vital to improving quality of life in Eor Ewuaso, Kenya and Bagad, India.
BlackBerry Build a Village Award (BAV) Winners pose outside a school building they helped construct in Kenya on the summer 2013 BAV trip.
BlackBerry’s partnership with Free the Children yielded some tremendous impacts on education in Eor Ewuaso and Bagad. Based on these successes, in 2013 BlackBerry committed to supporting the ‘education’ pillar across Free the Children’s eight countries of operation (Nicaragua, Ecuador, Haiti, Sierra Leone, Ghana, Kenya, India, and rural China).
BlackBerry has also adopted two additional villages, Oloirien in Kenya and Verdara in India as a part of Free The Children’s Adopt a Village program.
Through BlackBerry's support for the community of Eor Ewuaso and Oloirien in Kenya there has been:
- 9 classrooms completed, 2 under construction
- 905 students currently enrolled in primary schools in both the communities combined
- Eor Ewuaso Primary School ranked 3rd among all Adopt a Village communities in Kenya
- 1 hand-washing station, 5 student and 2 educator latrine blocks constructed
- Deworming services provided at the school
- Community groups have benefited from health workshops
Positive impacts in the communities of Verdara and Bagad in India include:
- 5 classrooms completed in Bagad, 1 under construction
- Construction of new classrooms in Verdara to begin in mid-2014
- 146 students regularly attend primary school in Bagad
- Student latrines and hand-washing stations constructed at the primary school
- Vaccinations given to 13 children and 12 pregnant women during a vaccination day in January 2014
- Mobile clinic camps have been set up for community members to access healthcare services
BlackBerry’s Investment in Education
In addition to investments made in its adopted villages, BlackBerry has made commitments towards Free The Children’s efforts in education. BlackBerry’s contributions provide accommodations for teachers, school supplies and high quality programming to villages in Haiti, China, Kenya, India, Ecuador, Nicaragua and Sierra Leone.
The following are the impacts the investment in education has had on BlackBerry’s supported communities:
- The most rural and isolated community in Haiti, Manac, has benefitted with 1 school block (2 classrooms) built in March 2013.
- The school blocks have increased enrollment at the Manac primary school from 270 to over 475 students
- BlackBerry has committed 4 classrooms and 1 teacher’s office to the village of Guang Ming, China
- Construction of first school building is underway
- Government of China has committed to providing two new, trained teachers upon completion of these classrooms
- BlackBerry’s commitment of 2 classrooms in San Miguel, Ecuador will help bring education to 375 children in the community
- An investment of 2 classrooms in Los Campo, Nicaragua will allow 30 grade 1 students the opportunity to receive an education
- BlackBerry’s support of education in Magburaka, Sierra Leone will lead to the construction of 1 school block (4 classrooms)
We Day is the signature experience that brings together a generation of youth to be engaged in changing the world through an inspirational event and yearlong educational program. We Act is a year of action for students to accomplish 1 act of local good and 1 act of global good which earns them a ticket to We Day.Since 2011, BlackBerry has supported Free the Children’s We Act program as well as assisted in bringing together thousands of students and student leaders to be inspired at We Day Waterloo. Over 4 years, 27,000 youth and student leaders and 900 BlackBerry employees have participated.
Over the years, BlackBerry’s investment has seen tremendous impacts:
- 51,000+ students participated in campaign activities and events
- $700,000+ raised to local and global causes
- 285,000 documented volunteer hours
- 92% of teachers agreed that their students believe more strongly that they have a responsibility to address social justice issues
- 98% of teachers agreed that their students were inspired by We Day to take action immediately
After 4 phenomenally successful annual We Day events in Waterloo, BlackBerry continued to support this tremendous youth awareness campaign in 2013 by providing sponsorship, in-kind donations and employee volunteers in five We Day events across Canada:
“The youth of today provide us with such promise for tomorrow. I am so grateful and blessed to have been part of this experience. Thank you BlackBerry for supporting such a beautiful and important purpose. We have the power to change the world.”
- We Day Waterloo volunteer
BlackBerry strives to make a positive, long-lasting impact in the communities it operates in. The Corporate Citizenship team builds meaningful relationships with community groups including chambers of commerce, technology associations and economic business groups. Maintaining BlackBerry’s membership with these organizations ensures that we play our part in assisting with the evolution and growth of communities through supporting events and opportunities such as tech leadership conferences, award ceremonies for small businesses and networking events with industry and government officials.
For more information about Corporate Citizenship at BlackBerry, contact email@example.com.