Melvin Brewing Explains How Small Businesses Can Support Education
In today’s challenging economy, schools and nonprofit groups find that they need more funding to survive. Many extracurricular activities like sports and music are being cut, and students need ways to participate in their communities. Small businesses like Melvin Brewing have found ways to step in and make it easier for schools and nonprofits to perform their missions.
Here are nine different ways that businesses of all sizes can support education, doing their part to help students.
1. Corporate Sponsorship
Some corporations have partnered with high schools to enhance their course offerings. For example, Cincinnati Bell has been a corporate partner of Taft Information Technology High School since 2001. This partnership goes beyond money and equipment to providing support from its employees. Fifty employees per year are chosen to tutor students in technology fields. The school also receives tech equipment like laptops and phones from Cincinnati Bell.
2. Food and Drink
BJ’s Wholesale Club has sponsored faculty meeting snacks for schools and also provides incentives like ice cream and pizza for classrooms with outstanding achievement. Many other businesses also fulfill this need in communities nationwide.
3. Sports and Clubs
Around the country, many sports teams are supported by small and large businesses. These sponsorships can happen at the team level or at the league level. Companies can buy ads on the fields or in the programs. They can sponsor a team in full, meaning that they cover the cost of field usage, T-shirts, and other necessary expenses.
Another area where businesses provide valuable support is in local robotics competitions. Robotics programs offer an essential enrichment activity for students with technology-focused interests. The equipment is expensive, and teams often need sponsorships to serve students. One example of a company that has sponsored robotics competitions is BAE Systems, a large defense contractor with facilities in many states.
4. Scout Troops
Another community organization supporting education is scouting programs. These programs are generally underfunded and are always looking for ways to reach more children and teens. Corporate sponsorships can help the district and regional offices of these scouting programs with development, implementation of new features, and day-to-day financial support.
Companies sponsoring scouting include Fortune 500 members Comcast and Kraft Foods Group.
Companies of all sizes have been instrumental in starting scholarships in the community. Melvin Brewing offers an annual $1,000 scholarship to deserving students with a demonstrated financial need and academic credentials. These scholarships may not seem large compared to the full cost of education, but defraying student debt in any amount is always a worthy cause.
6. Special Events
Small businesses like bookstores and restaurants can support special events for students and their families. Books at Sunset, a local bookstore located in Elgin, Illinois, is a thriving business that supports its educational partner, Harriet Gifford Elementary. The store offers programs like “Kids Love a Mystery Night,” displaying young author stories, and sponsoring appearances by famous authors and artists. The bookstore also rents out the local theater for screenings of literary films.
7. Supply Drives
Local businesses are often involved in collecting supplies for the community. The back-to-school season provides many opportunities for giving, with “stuff-a-backpack” and coat and clothing drives. Businesses like office supply stores, clothing stores, and dry cleaners are uniquely positioned to help the community in this way.
8. Teacher Appreciation
Many businesses offer special deals and free items to teachers in their communities. These can include discounts on necessary supplies. Offering this benefit is a particularly urgent need since many schools have little to no budget for classroom supplies. Teachers are also provided free baked goods and meals at many local establishments.
Many businesses donate their employees’ time to tutoring in schools. Especially in technical and career preparation fields, schools may lack the staff needed to prepare all of their students. Business tutors have unique experiences to share and can sometimes provide technical knowledge that K-12 teachers do not have.
Doing the Right Thing
Especially in today’s challenging economy, company executives may feel like it is not worthwhile to sponsor educational activities. The evidence suggests otherwise. Providing academic support is a meaningful way to promote a company’s public image and lead to better name recognition and higher sales. Corporate sponsorships also lead to a loyal customer base.
Businesses of all sizes are encouraged to contact schools and nonprofit organizations in their local areas and find out what they can do to support the crucial field of K-12 education. When companies do their part, underfunded schools and community organizations will serve more young people and provide a brighter educational future.