An Early Holiday Gift•
It’s humbling to think that just over a year ago Opportunity Nation was nothing more than an idea. What a difference a year makes. In the last year we’ve convened a Summit for 1,200 leaders and young people that sparked a national conversation about creating new pathways for Americans to move up the economic ladder. We released the 2012 Opportunity Index, a tool that nearly a dozen of areas across the country have adopted to measure their progress towards creating more opportunity for their citizens. And with input from our network of 250 coalition members, 130 Opportunity Leaders and Scholars, and 125 leading Americans on our Leadership Council, we unveiled our Shared Plan to jumpstart the American Dream.
These actions would not have happened without the support and advice from leaders like you. There’s plenty more work to do and we have a robust and aggressive battle plan for 2013, but we could not continue our work to close the skills gap and reinvigorate the American Dream without the support of passionate and dedicated individuals and organizations that lend their time, expertise, and financial support to our efforts. Staples, Inc. is one such partner, and I’m excited to share with you that Opportunity Nation has been awarded a grant by Staples Foundation, the private charitable arm of Staples, Inc., to help advance education and job skills in America.
The grants are part of a new philanthropic initiative created by Staples Foundation which allows Staples associates around the world to direct funding to non-profit organizations that are focused on education or job skills. The program encourages local community engagement by awarding larger grants to organizations where associates are highly engaged in volunteering or fundraising – up to $25,000 per organization.
In 2012, associates directed more than $1.4 million of Staples Foundation grants to 434 local non-profit organizations. The new program, called 2 Million & Change, will award additional funds to organizations around the world, reaching more than $2 million in grants for the year. Through its community and giving efforts, Staples and Staples Foundation have helped more than 6,000 organizations in 2,000 communities across 27 countries.
We consider ourselves extremely fortunate to be the recipient of a Staples grant. These funds will help bolster and invigorate our 2013 efforts and see that our plans for broader community engagement in the pursuit of advancing opportunity can become a reality.
It’s important to look back to know where we’ve come from, but the entire Opportunity Nation team has our eyes clearly set on the future. Who knows where will be next December? There’s plenty more to come from us, and with your continue partnership and support I know that the future is bright.
Our thanks again to Staples Foundation for their generous contribution and to you for being a valued member of the extended Opportunity Nation team.