Many of us believe that the emphasis on Corporate Social Responsibility is relatively new, but at NCR it dates back to the 1890’s. No that’s not a typo –that was when the company introduced a comprehensive social welfare program for its factory workers. Today we talk with Yvonne Whitaker, Foundation Lead at the NCR Foundation. NCR Foundation’s mission is to strategically partner with nonprofits in Georgia, nationally and globally to support projects that ultimately provide opportunity. Yvonne is responsible for leading the strategic direction of the Foundation and making funding recommendations to the trustees. Prior to joining NCR, she served in various positions with private family foundations as well as large and medium-sized nonprofit organizations.
Keep reading to learn more about Yvonne, NCR Foundation and how the company is building stronger communities by investing in innovative solutions that help people become more self-sufficient. Let’s Take 5 with Yvonne!
Tell us about the focus of NCR corporate philanthropy this year?
NCR Foundation supports three corporate social responsibility pillars:
- Education— grants emphasizing Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics (STEM) programs
- Health support programs – initiatives that help individuals and families cope with chronic health issues such as heart disease, diabetes or cancer
- Disability issues – programs that promote self-sufficiency in populations with physical or mental disabilities (congenital or acquired); covering impairments, activity limitations and participation restrictions
Any exciting new partnerships this year?
We entered into an exciting signature Impact Grant with Westside Future Fund, a not-for-profit organization of Atlanta community leaders who believe in the future of the city’s Westside and are committed to helping the area revitalize and grow.
Specifically, NCR Foundation is investing $1M over 5 years in programs to support STEM education, summer learning programs and teacher training at Hollis Innovation Academy, a STEM-based, pre-K-8 school that opened in Atlanta’s Westside in 2016. The bulk of the programming will be provided by the Center for Education Integrating Science, Mathematics, and Computing (CEISMC) at Georgia Tech.
In essence, it is a partnership between a global tech company, research university and a community development nonprofit to benefit the children and families at Hollis. It is a great example of how NCR Foundation focuses on providing opportunity in areas of great potential.
What’s the most amazing thing people should know about you or your job?
I have been honored to have a diversified career in the nonprofit field. I’ve worked in healthcare and education; I’ve also worked as a volunteer and professional fundraiser before working with private Foundations. It’s always been very important to me to work hard to make a difference. I think my experience in nonprofit fundraising makes me a better corporate funder—because I truly understand the nonprofit culture.
Tell us more about NCR’s new headquarters in Midtown Atlanta and their efforts to make it an energy efficient space?
Our new global headquarters here in the heart of Midtown Atlanta is truly amazing; it is the physical manifestation of NCR’s six Shared Values coming to life and designed to foster greater innovation and collaboration.
The campus was also recently awarded LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Platinum Certification. Earning this dual certification makes our campus one of the most efficient and sustainable facilities in the southeastern United States. It also underlines NCR’s commitment to making the world a greener place and providing a healthy, productive work environment for our employees.
What person has had the most influence on your cause career?
Wow, that’s a great question. I would honestly say my husband, Mark—because he has always been very supportive at every step of my career path. I’ve changed careers several times, went back to school a few times and raised two amazing daughters. None of that would have been possible—often simultaneously, without his love and support. I always tell women who are just beginning their careers to choose their spouses carefully!
From your perspective, what is the biggest challenge facing companies today when activating a national cause campaign?
Selecting the “right” cause! It’s very difficult to choose a cause that ties back to your company strategy, resonates strongly with stakeholders (employees, customers, potential customers) and adds real value to communities.
Five Fun Facts About Yvonne:
- Favorite App: WAZE
- Last Book Read: An American Marriage by Tayari Jones
- Hobby: knitting and travel
- Favorite Place to Unwind: my balcony with a glass of wine
- Guilty Pleasure: romance novels