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Balancing local and global impact through our employees and partners

By Ellen Sandberg, VP of Community Investment and Executive Director of the CH2M Foundation

Collaboration is the tipping point where change happens, and through partnerships, there’s a significant opportunity to impact communities locally and globally.

At the CH2M Foundation, we establish partnerships with organizations around the world to encourage science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education and who strive to build sustainable communities. By collaborating with organizations close to the communities in which we live and work, and those that are further away, we have a unique opportunity to lay the foundation for human progress on a global scale. By partnering with the Emirates Foundation in the United Arab Emirates, the Social Mobility Foundation in London, England and the Summer Engineering Experience for Kids (SEEK) in Denver, Colorado, USA, among others, we’re able to support local communities and connect employees to these mentorship and volunteering efforts right in their locations.

Leading the CH2M Foundation efforts at a global engineering company, we see an exciting opportunity to foster relationships between our talented employees and extended communities where we can support basic infrastructure needs through skills-based volunteering. The CH2M Foundation’s longstanding partnerships with Water For People, Engineers Without Borders, and Bridges to Prosperity have provided ample opportunities for employees to utilize their skillsets to solve global infrastructure challenges. Inviting teams of employees from around the globe to participate on these trips gives employees the chance to meet new colleagues, experience a new culture and volunteer their knowledge (and often times, the hard work of physical labor) to enhance infrastructure needs in these developing communities--a life-changing experience in several aspects. 

The CH2M Foundation supports programs that are sustainable, scalable, replicable, and that provide meaningful opportunities for employee engagement. Thus, our commitment is centered on three focus areas including STEM education, sustainable communities and employee engagement. Since relaunching the CH2M Foundation in 2013, we’ve awarded more than US $3 million in grants in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom and United Arab Emirates. CH2M’s employees in every operating region are able to volunteer with organizations that are within their regions and those that are international. 

At the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation Corporate Citizenship Center’s annual conference, global business leaders are invited to network and share strategies and goals in order to “Connect the Dots” to create lasting impact. This year’s conference focused on how businesses build engagements that align local impact to global strategy. I had the pleasure of serving as a panelist for a discussion regarding how to balance community solutions that are global in scope or tailored to local needs. As an individual who truly believes in the CH2M Foundation’s opportunity to influence, I was honored to speak on behalf of CH2M and share our approach to connecting the dots between our employees, our partners and balancing local and global impact. 

I invite you to explore key takeaways from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s conference here.

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Ellen Sandberg

Executive Director of the CH2M Foundation
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