Chevron Reimagines Corporate Philanthropy

This month, a Techbridge girl had the honor of throwing the first pitch at the Oakland A’s game versus the San Francisco Giants (check out the heartwarming video below).  A few weeks before, CEO Linda Kekelis spoke with a US News writer to inform an article on the importance of increasing diversity in STEM fields.  Around the same time, Techbridge had the chance to meet and network with hundreds of women who visited our premier exhibit space at the Professional Business Women of California conference, where over 5,500 women from around the world descended upon Moscone Center.

These are just a few examples of the regular opportunities Chevron creates for Techbridge, in addition to contributing an extraordinary level of program support year over year.  Chevron creatively multiplies its impact beyond money, with a rare knack for harnessing opportunities at its disposal to benefit grantees.  “Chevron’s corporate philanthropy is very sophisticated,” says Development Director Jen Jayme, “they’re clear about the ultimate impact they want to have, and they understand that the best way to achieve it is to help their grantees build influence, visibility and a diverse funding base.  It’s incredible the way they use their influence and the benefits they get from their various sponsorships to help grantees succeed.”

Chevron and Techbridge have been partners since 2008, when Chevron heard about Techbridge as an innovative program of the Chabot Space and Science Center. The relationship has been integral to Techbridge’s growth and long-term success, and more importantly, the success of our girls.

Chevron’s financial support has played a major role in Techbridge’s work.  In the past year alone, Chevron has funded after-school programs in Oakland that serve 300 girls, plus trainings and resources for 350 role models, family nights that engaged 1,600 parents and guardians, and the publication and distribution of roughly 15,000 family science guides.

In addition, Chevron’s institutional support also includes employee hours and an open door to our girls.  In the past six years of our partnership, Chevron has hosted 14 field trips for Techbridge girls and provided over 100 role models.  Chevron has also opened doors to several advisory council and governing board members, and numerous other funders.

In the broader context, Chevron has fostered a nationwide conversation about the core issue on which their philanthropy is focused – the need to educate and inspire girls in STEM – and helped position Techbridge as a key voice.  Their thought leadership includes a series of nationally-circulated articles and news segments which feature case studies of Techbridge’s work.  This activity not only spotlights the work of their grantees, but attracts attention for the cause and advances the movement.

Techbridge CEO and Executive Director Linda Kekelis said “Chevron has been an ideal partner and funder. They are responsive, they share resources with us, they are honest and candid. And importantly are open to exploring new opportunities.”

In many ways, Chevron has become a thought partner as well as a funding partner.  We view them as a collaborator in finding the best solutions for increasing the number of women and girls in STEM fields,” says CEO Kekelis.  “We have conversations about our impact and challenges that are deeply authentic and inspiring.”

Through their diverse partnerships, resourceful sharing of opportunities, and dedication to results, Chevron has taken traditional corporate funding and truly raised the bar.

“They are a bit of a magical unicorn of corporate philanthropy,” says Development Director Jayme, “and we’d love to find a few more like them.”

Our profound thanks to Chevron for their incredible support, and all of the girls their work has impacted.

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