Schwab’s Pro Bono Challenge pivots, succeeds virtually
December 8, 2020
By Melissa Brandon, Director, Communications
In a year full of pivots and redirections, Schwab’s eighth annual Pro Bono Challenge was no different as the nationwide event, supporting a variety of non-profit organizations with skills-based work, moved to a virtual environment to continue the impactful work of supporting community organizations in a time of great need.
“Altering our plans due to COVID-19, resulted in some true silver linings,” remarked program manager Tessa A., who’s based in Lone Tree, Colorado. "Transitioning from a single-day event to a week-long program of three virtual micro-consulting sessions, benefitted our nonprofit partners with higher-quality deliverables and the ability to tap into the most relevant skillsets from employees across the country, regardless of location. Plus, we had a 12% increase in employee applications to support the event.”
One of those Schwabbies is Stephanie K., who’s based in Phoenix, and says it was important to make the event virtual during this critical time.
This year’s Pro Bono Challenge was even more important and impactful this year as the demand for nonprofit services has increased while charitable donations have declined in many communities because of the pandemic. Being able to participate during such an uncertain time provided a sense of ownership, empowerment, and pride in being a Schwabbie.”
For this year’s Pro Bono Challenge, 392 Schwabbies supported 67 projects in nine regions of the country—and in another addition, engaged some of our newest employees, colleagues from TD Ameritrade, the firm newly acquired by Schwab. The firm proudly sponsored a set of military-focused projects with 38 employees supporting six different organizations. And because of the virtual nature of the program, employees from Schwab’s Branch Network were also able to join in.
“I grew up in East Palo Alto, California, which is a low-income community,” says Carina B. of the San Francisco Branch. “I’m passionate about increasing financial literacy in those locations. During this year’s Pro Bono Challenge, I had the chance to help San Francisco’s Bayview YMCA, where we developed content for their financial literacy program to help teach young people about banking, credit and investing to help develop good money habits and build generational wealth.”
“We’re always thrilled to be able to offer the skills of our outstanding employees to other organizations in the community,” says Tessa. “This year’s event resulted in nearly $749,000 in social return on investment and $1,000 mini-grants to each participating nonprofit organization, and we’re proud to be able to deliver that kind of commitment during such an uncertain time.”