Cummins Foundation Grants Support Employees Building Stronger Communities
AS A HUMAN RESOURCES MANAGER IN THE CUMMINS DISTRIBUTION BUSINESS IN BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINA, NATALIA GIQUEAUX KNOWS HOW IMPORTANT PROPER JOB TRAINING CAN BE FOR SUCCEEDING IN A CAREER.
So when she and her colleagues saw people in their community struggling to get jobs, they put their skills to work to make a difference.
Working with Lorena Gimenez, Cummins' Community Involvement Team Leader in Argentina, Bolivia, Paraguay, and Uruguay, the employees partnered with the nonprofit TECHO Argentina to help unemployed community members receive job training and other skills.
With a $20,000 Community Development Grant (CDG) from the Cummins Foundation, the partnership reached some 250 people with classes in areas such as electricity, plumbing and more. Cummins employees participated in mock interviews and other activities to help participants prepare for the job market.
“I felt very proud to work with TECHO, which gave me the opportunity to interact with people I didn’t know,” Giqueaux said. “I love encouraging young people to pursue their dreams, whatever those may be, and showing them how we achieved ours.”
The CDG program funded projects like Giqueaux’s in more than 25 countries around the world in 2016, including four that received support for the first time. Grant requests are made by Cummins employees on behalf of a community partner, providing opportunities for employees to engage in a more meaningful way.
All CDG projects must be located in communities where Cummins employees live or work. The company believes strongly that the grants should support employee efforts to build stronger communities. A key question in the CDG process involves the level of employee support for a particular initiative.
In 2016, Cummins gave $13.9 million through CDGs and other strategic community investments to support employee led projects such as refugee language immersion, educational greenhouses, revitalizing food pantries, clean-up of polluted rivers, leadership training for children with disabilities and much more.
The projects aligned both with the company’s global priority areas of education, environment and social justice/equality of opportunity, as well as defined regional or site strategies for corporate responsibility.
Cummins’ leaders frequently play an important role in CDG projects, working with employees to set priorities and address obstacles. For example, Pedro Zermeno, General Manager in the Latin America Distribution Business, was instrumental in the Cummins-TECHO project.
Giqueaux said she felt tremendous satisfaction in addressing a community need in such a meaningful way.
“TECHO provides educational assistance, psychological support and job training programs, like our Cummins job program,” she said. “Partnering with them meant we could help families get a home or help community members gain access to water or other vital community services. That is very rewarding to me.”