2013 Excellence in Community Service

GOLD: Cornerstone OnDemand

In 2010, Cornerstone OnDemand launched its CSOD Foundation to provide programs and services to help nonprofits increase their impact. The foundation focuses on three areas — education, workforce development and disaster relief — and has supported nonprofits such as Teach for America, Goodwill and Women for Women International.

After floods affected more than 20 million people in Pakistan in 2010, the CSOD Foundation engaged in talks with its disaster relief partners to better understand the needs facing nonprofits in similar situations. Those talks led the foundation to develop DisasterReady.org to increase the effectiveness of humanitarian aid workers globally.

Aid agencies such as Oxfam America and Save the Children collaborated to produce and maintain an online content library available through DisasterReady.org to prepare relief workers for the demands they may face. The site’s goal is to minimize each agency’s costs associated with providing training onsite via instructor-led sessions. It offers courses on a range of subjects including international law, team-building skills, water sanitation and staff wellness.

Users can take several courses simultaneously and access course materials and completed courses. They also can participate in training webinars and share best practices and resources.

In addition to developing DisasterReady.org, the CSOD Foundation also assembled an advisory committee of relief agencies including International Federation of Red Cross, the International Rescue Committee and Mercy Corps to inform the short- and long-term strategies behind its efforts.

SILVER: Bellevue University

Veterans under 25 years of age face more than a 30 percent unemployment rate once they leave the military, compared to a roughly 15 percent rate for their non-civilian counterparts in the same age group.

According to a White House report, between 240,000 and 360,000 service members separate from the military each year, and 1 million more are expected to during the next few years. To help address this national challenge, Bellevue University developed the Veterans Initiative for Advancement, or VIA, to help meet the talent management needs and corporate-centric skill gaps this demographic may have transitioning into the civilian workforce.

However, VIA building blocks are independent of a veteran’s employment status. Components include a degree accelerator, including assessments and college placement skills training; a cornerstone program with a veteran-specific, nine-course curriculum, the Military-Veteran Services Center, which offers resources and assistance to current military and veteran students; and the Human Capital Lab to track and analyze VIA metrics and effect on business objectives.

VIA also partners with corporate organizations such as Home Depot, Dollar General and Union Pacific on Web portals and other communication tools.

A multimedia campaign to educate veterans about their GI Bill benefits is expected to increase the number of eligible veterans who use those benefits — whether they attend Bellevue University or another institution — by about 36 percent.

BRONZE: University of Phoenix

Cleantech Open is a volunteer-based organization. Through its Accelerator Program — a kind of incubator for participating entrepreneurs — it helps entrepreneurs bring their ideas to fruition.

In an effort to support entrepreneurship as well as be a good corporate citizen, University of Phoenix offered financial support as well as staff time and other resources to help Cleantech fulfill its mission while mitigating its costs.

On a weekly basis University of Phoenix faculty acted as mentors and judges on panels where participants got feedback on their pitches and business plans, and conducted webinars on par with an MBA curriculum on topics such as finance and funding, legal and IP issues and management team development.