Audit firms looks to fill gaps in education system

August 12, 2012

Major audit and consulting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers believes there are some gaps in the education system, and it’s looking to fill them. More than 100 employees from all levels in the firm’s Washington area offices recently took the day off to teach minority youth about money and business.

At the Town Hall Education Arts Recreation Campus in Southeast Washington, employees partnered with students for the day and attended workshops that discussed leadership, financial literacy, personal branding and fitness.

The students were from Maya Angelou Public Charter School, The Fishing School and the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Washington — organizations chosen by the local United Way.

The event is part of the new Earn Your Future program that PricewaterhouseCoopers announced at the Clinton Global Initiative conference. The firm plans to give $60 million in cash and $100 million in volunteer hours for student financial literacy and teacher training.

Most of the volunteer efforts are to include boot camps, classroom sessions and mentoring.

“Hopefully, we’ll have these kids say ‘I went to college because someone believed I could do it’ or ‘I made a career decision because someone exposed me to a profession,’ ” said Chris Simmons, managing partner of the firm’s local region.

Capital One, KPMG and PNC Bank have started or expanded financial education programs for youth in recent years.

“This is not a neighborhood that is home to many Fortune 500 companies,” said Pandit F. Wright, president and chief executive of Boys & Girls Club of Greater Washington. “These kids love to do one-on-one mentorship, which is something that is unique and positive.”

The local Pricewaterhouse offices also partner with Everybody Wins, a reading mentorship organization; Junior Achievement, a youth financial education nonprofit; and Youth for Tomorrow, a home and school for at-risk teenage boys and girls.

The company’s charitable arm is broader in focus, supporting, disaster relief, local donations and social innovation.

In a breakout session that encouraged students to create their own personal brand, Gabriella Dalmolin, a human relations executive, called attention to a shy, withdrawn student in the back of the classroom that has drawn a picture of a star to mark her personal brand. The class broke out into applause.

“I just always like to know that I’m making a difference,” Dalmolin said.

Vanessa Small covers philanthropy and nonprofits for Capital Business. She also spotlights newly appointed executives in the New at the Top column, which chronicles their journeys to the top. Small was raised in Orange County, Ca. and graduated from Howard University.
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