SF Achievers Charity Partnership: Engagement and Impact
Melissa Summer, The Myers-Briggs Company
7 min. read
Since becoming a Certified B Corp, one of the initiatives that The Myers-Briggs Company has taken on is engaging in a charity partnership program with a local non-profit. Our first partnership was with PACT, an organization local to our Oxford, UK office that supports adoption and families looking to adopt. You can read more about that engagement here and here.
More recently, we’ve wrapped up a fulfilling partnership with a non-profit organization local to our Sunnyvale, California headquarter office: San Francisco Achievers.
SFA is a non-profit that supports African-American young men in San Francisco Unified School District to lead and thrive in higher education and beyond by closing the opportunity gap. They do this through college scholarships, leadership training, and mentoring.
SFA’s mission resonated with many of our employees, and employees voted between multiple fantastic organizations on which to support for the 2021-2022 partnership term.
The mission of San Francisco Achievers is to support African-American young men in San Francisco Unified School District to lead and thrive in higher education and beyond by closing the opportunity gap. We do this through college scholarships, leadership training, and mentoring. Our students benefit from a community of support that starts with staff and extends to volunteers, businesses, and nonprofits throughout the Bay Area.
Throughout the 18-month partnership, The Myers-Briggs Company worked with SFA in a myriad of ways. Here’re some of the highlights:
Career panel workshops
Six employees from various departments of The Myers-Briggs Company and seven college students met over Zoom for a career panel we organized with SFA.
To get the ball rolling, The Myers-Briggs employees Andrei Anderson, Joyce Phillips, Sathyan Varadaraj, Caroline Fry, Ryan Ruiz and Lee Matthews introduced themselves, shared where they went to school, the focus of their studies and their current role in our organization. The students then made their introductions, sharing where they were attending college and their current majors.
The first question posed to the panel by SFA Program Manager, Danielle Adams, was “think back when you were 20 years old. What advice would you have given yourselves at that time?”
This question produced a lot of sharing from The Myers-Briggs Company employees, including encouraging the students to take this opportunity in college to learn as much as you can; to ask questions; and seek out help from professors and peers if you need it.
One panelist explained that the students shouldn’t expect to get their dream job right out of college, but to instead view it as more of a journey: take each job to learn as much as they can about their profession, but also to pay attention to what they enjoy and don’t enjoy in their jobs, to help them discover more about themselves and what their ideal job may be.
Other questions ranged from how to get internships and how to build your network and what type of roles may be available for them out in the workforce after completing college.
The first event was such a success that a second San Francisco Achievers’ Career Panel discussion was held with approximately 16 of the SFA senior high school students on-site in San Francisco in the SFA offices.
The Myers-Briggs Company employees George Driscoll-Lovejoy, Scott Whiteman, Michael Beecher, Richa Verma attended via webcam while Joyce Phillips, Andrei Anderson, Nancy Zanoletti and Nicole Trapasso attended in person.
The lively conversation included preparing for college/university and what advice/suggestions employees could impart. Some of the students had already confirmed where they were heading for college and their area of study—which ranged from Political Science to Nursing, Internet Technology to Psychology, Business to Zoology. Others were in the process of making their final choices and waiting to hear back from some of their college picks.
At the end of the career panel, the The Myers-Briggs Company employees onsite were invited to join the students and SFA staff for lunch and then do some additional breakout sessions on what type of resources/skills the individuals may need to develop to help them tap into resources at college in small groups.
In addition to the career panels, The Myers-Briggs Company hired one of San Francisco Achiever’s participants studying computer science as a summer intern for the summer of 2022.
DeJohn Thompson joined the Platform Product Management Team as a remote intern while home for the summer from Texas Southern University.
You can read more about his internship experience.
Scholarship applicant interviews
In March of 2022, SFA reached out to their various affiliates to request for volunteers to assist in evaluating the applications of graduating high school seniors who applied for an SFA scholarship. SFA had funding to support scholarships for 25 graduates, and they needed help determining which 25 to award.
Eight TMBC employees answered the call to participate in the process. The process consisted of a preparatory training session, virtual interview of candidates assigned, reading essays submitted by the candidates we interviewed, and then submitting scores for each candidate to SFA. With the contribution of TMBC and other volunteers, SFA received the assessment results needed to decide which graduating seniors would be awarded scholarships. One TMBC volunteer had this to say about the experience, "Really enjoyed participating in the scholarship interviews. It was great to meet and learn about the students and share college-related advice when asked. Such a great and rewarding experience. Loved it!"
Giving Tuesday and fundraising
Giving Tuesday is traditionally the Tuesday after the Thanksgiving holiday, where after time filled with celebrations, food, family, Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping, people are encouraged to give back to non-profits by putting aside some of the funds that might have been spent over the weekend. Often, larger charitable organizations and Fortune 100 companies will fund campaigns to match contributions on Giving Tuesday for their chosen charity.
The Myers-Briggs Company’s marketing team greatly contributed to SFA both with consulting on social media, website and branding, and in lending support for SFA’s Giving Tuesday campaign both in 2021 and in 2022. Additionally, The Myers-Briggs Company employees were encouraged to support SFA during Giving Tuesday.
In addition to Giving Tuesday, funds were also raised for SFA during B Corp month in March. Employees from across the globe donated their time, services and talents to put together a prize pool of everything from pet portraits to language classes to mixology lessons, and then employees were encouraged to buy raffle tickets with which they could bid on the different prizes.
The Myers-Briggs Company also donated in-kind items for Christmas gift bags for SFA students during the pandemic in 2021, including professional attire, masks, notebooks and pens, and other supplies that high school and college students might need in progressing in their studies and careers.
Employees also joined together in the Sunnyvale office (masked and taking all precautions) to pack the gift bags and deliver them to SFA’s offices in San Francisco.
Charity partner awards scholarships
San Francisco Achievers holds its annual awards ceremony in May at San Francisco City Hall. At the ceremony in 2022, 25 outstanding high school seniors were awarded scholarships to college. The Myers-Briggs Company employees Jeff Hayes, Francita Cooper, and Nancy Zanoletti all attended the event and saw the impact that SFA has on these young Black men’s lives and their futures.
“Our aim [through this charity partnership] was to strengthen our career development, mentoring, web, marketing and fundraising efforts. Our partnership with The Myers-Briggs Company enabled us to focus on harnessing internal talents and resources. We’re incredibly grateful to the The Myers-Briggs Company and their staff (both local and worldwide), who tirelessly lent their knowledge and expertise to the partnership, which has enabled us to deepen our commitment to making a positive impact on the youth and community we serve,” said Gregg Zaire, Executive Director of San Francisco Achievers.
“The Myers-Briggs Company was honored to partner with San Francisco Achievers and be a part of supporting this wonderful organization. As a certified B Corp, the work of SFA aligns beautifully with one of our key tenets of giving back to the community,” said Jeff Hayes, CEO of The Myers-Briggs Company.
“Attending the award ceremony with two of our colleagues from The Myers-Briggs Company was the perfect ending to this formal partnership. It was incredibly rewarding to see how parents and other family members, the mayor, and other key figures in the San Francisco community all came together to celebrate the accomplishments of these 25 young men, thanks to the support and guidance of SFA. We wish SFA every success as they continue this vital work in the community.”