Cummins employees serve community through assistive technology

Dempsey smiling

Dempsey Becker, a five-year-old boy living in Minneapolis, MN (USA), relies on toys for more than just entertainment. 

He uses them as a critical part of his occupational therapy at Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute, a state-of-the-art rehabilitation and resource center for individuals with disabilities and complex or chronic medical issues. 

Cummins employees in the Greater Twin Cities have partnered with Courage Kenny since 2006 to adapt, customize and invent both mechanical and electronic devices for children, like Dempsey Becker, and adults with disabilities using broad engineering and technical skills through design work known as assistive technology. 

To date, they have modified more than 7,000 toys and devices for Courage Kenny clients. Last year alone, when they reached a record level of involvement with the center, Cummins employees used their technical skills to modify more than 1,100 toys for children, making the toys more accessible and better matched to their abilities. These toys also serve as therapy enablers, encouraging children to continue developing physical and motor skills when possible. 

Dempsey, who primarily uses a wheelchair, enjoys being transferred to a battery-powered car during therapy sessions. He uses switch activators mounted to its headrest to drive it around the Courage Kenny facility. It’s more than just a thrill ride, though; this gives him practice controlling his head movements and strengthening his neck muscles. His favorite toy is a puppy guitar that was modified with bright lights to accommodate his vision impairment. 

“He lets us know how much fun he’s having by kicking his feet and giving a good belly laugh,” said Dempsey’s mother, Kelly Becker. “He doesn’t realize he’s working; he’s just having fun playing with toys.”

It’s fun for the volunteers, too. Brian Haupt, Cummins Electrification Integration Software Engineer said, “I like volunteering with Courage Kenny since it uses my skills as an engineer and doing things I already enjoy doing. I also like that it is helping people who otherwise can’t achieve the same quality of life without what we provide or contribute.”

“Working in the Adaptive Devices lab is a great activity because it allows me to put problem solving, design and fabrication skills to use,” shared Conor Youngblood Bruce, VPI Service Senior Engineer at Cummins. “There are all kinds of opportunities to make someone’s life easier by creating something unique and simple that can make a difference. Sometimes it’s simple, like a bracket to mount a cellphone to a wheelchair, or sometimes it’s more complicated, like a flexible stylus to make a smartphone easier to use.”

This work expands beyond the Minnesota-based team. They join Cummins colleagues in Dubai, Singapore, and the United Kingdom by sharing assistive technology designs to partner with organizations and serve individuals with disabilities. 

“Our relationship with Courage Kenny is really special,” shared Gary Johansen, Cummins Power Systems Engineering Executive Director. “Through our partnership over nearly 15 years, our employees and the clients and staff at Courage Kenny have shown us what a true community partnership can become when we combine our heads, hearts and hands.”

Kids like Dempsey would agree about the success and strength of this partnership. 

Cummins Office Building

Cummins Inc.

Cummins is a global power leader that designs, manufactures, sells and services diesel and alternative fuel engines from 2.8 to 95 liters, diesel and alternative-fueled electrical generator sets from 2.5 to 3,500 kW, as well as related components and technology. Cummins serves its customers through its network of 600 company-owned and independent distributor facilities and more than 7,200 dealer locations in over 190 countries and territories.

Cummins employees chose to challenge gender inequality and bias on International Women’s Day

More than 5,000 employees participated in 47 conversations hosted in 22 countries around the world on choosing to challenge gender bias and inequality on International Women’s Day (IWD) 2021.

The goal of having 24 hours of continuous conversations on gender equity – organized by the Women’s Empowerment Network, Leading Inclusion for Technical, Global Inclusion Leadership Council and Cummins Powers Women – was exceeded in number of events and incredible engagement across the company. 

Those who signed up to host a conversation were not given prescriptive instructions, which allowed for customization and authenticity. Some took the form of a moderated question-and-answer session with leaders; some focused more on sharing the internal and external progress Cummins has made on gender diversity; and others were a unique combination of the two. Each was powerful and engaging for Cummins employees around the world. 

"The COVID pandemic brought us a lot of pain. Through IWD’s discussion sessions, I realized the challenges the pandemic imposed on each of us and they helped to surface a lot of the existent, but invisible to many, gender inequalities. I felt each of us developed more self-awareness, awareness of others and empathy. This will expedite our advance towards a gender equal world," said Adriano Rishi, Executive Director – Engineering Latin America ABO. 

Cummins employees and leaders took the #ChoosetoChallenge pledge

Cummins employees and leaders also took the #choosetochallenge pledge. 
 
These are incredibly important discussions and actions that are critical to Cummins’ goal of advancing gender equality. By partnering with expert nonprofits and leveraging the unique skills and talents of Cummins employees and leaders, Cummins Powers Women has also enabled rights and opportunity for 98,000 women and girls in 18 countries in just three years. Learn more about the work Cummins is doing to further gender equality in our communities. 

Avril Schutte

Avril Schutte is the Global Programs and Engagement Director for Cummins Inc. 

Cummins Powers Women continues to challenge gender inequality and bias

Cummins Powers Women
Cummins is helping to empower a global community that needs support – women and girls.

 Note: this photo was taken prior to COVID-19

By partnering with expert nonprofits and leveraging the unique skills and talents of Cummins employees and leaders, Cummins Powers Women has also enabled equal rights and opportunity for 98,000 women and girl in 18 countries in just  three years. Launched on International Women’s Day in 2018, the now $20 million community initiative has achieved significant results including 14 gender equality law and policy changes positively impacting more than 17 million women and girls around the world that stemmed from nearly 100 advocacy grants issued through the Cummins Powers Women program.

Cummins Powers Women

“Last year was an incredibly challenging one on so many fronts, and women and people of color were among the most significantly impacted,” said Mary Titsworth Chandler, Vice President of Community Relations for Cummins and Chief Executive Officer of the Cummins Foundation. “Many of our Cummins Powers Women nonprofit partners shifted their work quickly to address urgent needs that arose from the pandemic, such as the increase in domestic violence and need for personal hygiene supplies, while also adapting their longer-term efforts to advocate for girls and women to the new realities presented by the global pandemic.”  

As the program continues to grow, Cummins has been adding new nonprofit partners and issuing new grants to existing partners. The most recent partnership addition is with Promundo, an organization focused on engaging men and boys to advance gender equality and create a world free from violence. 

"On International Women's Day – we celebrate women's leadership, and continue to affirm that men must be full partners in achieving gender equality, including by taking measures to end sexism and discrimination, remove barriers to women's advancement, and equitably share the responsibilities of raising children and taking care of our homes," says Gary Barker, President and CEO, Promundo-US. "Along with our partners at the Kering Foundation, we're thrilled to partner with Cummins to help advance this vision and look toward the future – focusing on creating change early in boys' lives, by shifting the ways in which we're raising them. By supporting boys to embrace connection, reject sexism, and break free from harmful stereotypes, we're hoping to set the stage for a more equal future."

“We chose to support Promundo because of our shared belief that working with men and boys to change harmful gender norms and unequal power dynamics is a critical part of the solution to achieving gender equality,” said Antonio Leitao, Vice President of Cummins’ Europe Area Business Organization. 

The Cummins Powers Women nonprofit partners offer programs focused on gender equality such as on-the-ground mentoring and teaching of women and girls, to financial empowerment through entrepreneurship, to leadership development and advocacy at the regional level. Not only does Cummins Powers Women help to fund these efforts, but more than 1,300 company employees volunteered about 3,000 hours to directly helping our partner nonprofits. The program has made strides in accelerating gender equality, and Cummins remains committed to this work. 

Interested in learning more about how your company or organization can get involved with gender equality efforts?

Contact us 

Cummins Office Building

Cummins Inc.

Cummins is a global power leader that designs, manufactures, sells and services diesel and alternative fuel engines from 2.8 to 95 liters, diesel and alternative-fueled electrical generator sets from 2.5 to 3,500 kW, as well as related components and technology. Cummins serves its customers through its network of 600 company-owned and independent distributor facilities and more than 7,200 dealer locations in over 190 countries and territories.

Greater Indianapolis Progress Committee releases police reform report

A community partnership in Indianapolis that includes several Cummins Inc. employees is calling for new approaches to community policing in the aftermath of the killing of George Floyd.

The Greater Indianapolis Progress Committee (GIPC) released a report entitled “Police Reform: Equal Treatment of Black Americans,” the culmination of months of work by a legal Structural Reform Team formed in the summer of 2020 and charged by GIPC to research, benchmark, and make recommendations on the most critical police reforms needed.

Cummins has pledged to play an active role in police reform and other issues involving social justice as part of the company’s Cummins Advocating for Racial Equity (CARE) program unveiled in October 2020. The new report also calls for increasing public access to misconduct investigations and improving police training and certification.

“Our cities cannot advance for some and not for all,” said GIPC Board Chair and Cummins Executive Mary Chandler. “U.S. cities are now engaged in a long-overdue reckoning about systemic racism and inequality that have left many Black Americans behind, and Indianapolis is no exception.” 

“We must search inward to understand the Black lived experience in our city, and outward to define the policies and actions necessary to achieve racial equality and justice,” added Chandler, who is Vice President of Corporate Responsibility at Cummins and CEO of the Cummins Foundation. “This was our purpose in convening the Structural Reform Team.”

As a not-for-profit organization, the Greater Indianapolis Progress Committee issued the report with the understanding that others will carry this work forward to effectuate meaningful change at the local, state, and federal level.

The Team was chaired by Dean Karen Bravo of the Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law and led by John Gaidoo, Assistant General Counsel of Cummins Inc., and Joe Smith, partner of Faegre Drinker Biddle & Reath.

The full report can be found at indygipc.org/initiatives/race-and-the-legal-process-working-group/structural-reform-team-recommendations.
 

James Wide - Cummins Inc

James Wide

James Wide is a copywriter and copy editor on the External Communications team at Cummins Inc. He joined the company in 2018. 

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