Impact Makers: Schneider Electric Foundation

Corporate Giving Powered by Employee Passions.

The Schneider Electric Foundation (under the aegis of the Fondation de France) uses social innovation and community engagement to invest in education, reduce the energy gap, and increase sustainability awareness. The Foundation marked its 20th anniversary in 2018. In a world where social and environmental challenges are more widespread and more urgent than ever, the Schneider Electric Foundation supports innovative and forward-looking initiatives to give as many people as possible the energy they need to succeed.

It is this pioneering spirit that the Schneider Electric Foundation is seeking to advance. They see their role as a catalyst for technological, social, and entrepreneurial innovation helping to close the energy gap and strives for a more equitable energy transition around the world. Ever optimistic, the Schneider Electric Foundation's aim is to help build a fairer, lower-carbon society to give future generations the keys to transform our world. And their employees are a critical part of achieving this vision.

For the Schneider Electric Foundation, employee engagement doesn’t stop at a participation statistic. The grants and employee giving programs are truly driven by the employees and laser focused on supporting organizations that employees are passionate about. Erin Gunning, North American Foundation Manager at Schneider Electric, is leading the charge for their employee driven programs and continually works to ensure the voice of the employees are ever present while aligning with the global mission of Schneider Electric. Even for their generous grants program, the North American Schneider Foundation focuses their funding on organizations employees have a vested interest in. 

Empowering employees to give to organizations with which they are actively involved and care deeply about, has been crucial in growing their corporate social responsibility programs. Employees know where their dollars are going and can see the impact they are making at a local level.

Schneider Electric Foundation is working to expand their culture of employee powered corporate giving programs. To drive awareness and increase employee engagement from day one, they have implemented a New Hire program. New employees are given $25 to donate to the charity of their choosing and have 20 paid volunteer hours to spend working with organizations they care about. 

The focus on giving back to the communities they serve and encouraging their employees to do the same has become an essential part of the employee experience. New hire participation has increased over 10% this year as a result of the new hire giving initiative. This number is only expected to grow year after year, back-filling an employee population that is aware and engaged in Schneider Electric Foundations corporate giving programs.

Erin is constantly looking for ways to improve and expand the foundation’s CSR programs, implement best practices and learn from other leaders in the industry. In fact, when asked how she came up with the idea for the New Hire program, Erin shared that it was at an industry conference where she first heard the idea for the new program. 

Stressing the importance of staying aware of what others are doing and hearing about how they are making an impact, Erin stated this was critical in  continually improving and growing your own programs. We asked Erin what advice she would give to others in similar positions, looking to increase engagement and expand impact, and she gave us 5 pointers.

Top Five Tips for Increasing Employee Driven Giving Programs:

  1. Foster a culture of giving that emanates enthusiasm, encouragement and support for causes closest to your employees.
  2. Don’t be afraid to utilize local delegates and passionate super users, those who are involved in their communities and excited about sharing with other employees.
  3. Coordinate with HR and the communications team to create a multi-channel communication strategy to give your giving initiative maximum exposure throughout the company.
  4. Keep programs fresh and engaging by attending industry conferences to hear what others are doing and learn best practices.
  5. Utilize your community, internally and externally. 

We congratulate the Schneider Electric Foundation for their forward thinking, and engaging employees with their CSR philosophy from day one. The Schneider Electric Foundation funds over 100 projects in more than 80 different countries, supporting almost 200,000 young or underprivileged people and employees who have participated in 5,691 days of volunteering. In total, more than €19.5 million has been invested to help local communities.


Want to experience collaboration, garner best practices and see how other leaders in the industry are driving impact?
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