Giving Compass’ Take:
• Alexis William covers Evans & Chambers Technology’s effort to employ parents living in low-income zones to work with early education programs.
• EC partners with Bright Beginnings to tackle the needs of two generations. How can funders support collaborations between the business and philanthropic world?
Evans & Chambers Technology (EC) is all about solutions. The Washington, D.C.-based information technology firm founded in 2003 develops software for government and commercial enterprises. However, in 2018, several years after EC opened its new office in the historic Shaw neighborhood in 2015, office manager Alice Swan realized the company needed to address an issue.
“EC is located in a HUBZone area and it is [important] to maintain our required HUBZone employee percentage,” Swan said. “This is challenging for a technology-based company.”
The U.S. Small Business Administration’s HUBZone program assists small businesses located in “historically underutilized business zones” in urban and rural communities to “gain preferential access to federal procurement opportunities.” HUBZone certification is partially obtained by employing at least 35 percent of employees who live in that HUBZone.
A social worker by training, Swan sought to support unemployed parents in D.C. and extended an opportunity for them to be paid, part-time EC employees.
“I was researching innovative ways to keep [our percentage up] rather than contracting companies to hire people for us,” Swan said. “I started looking into how it could benefit both EC and the community and found that you can pay volunteers who reside in HUBZones to maintain the required percentage. I called Bright Beginnings (BBI) and they were a perfect fit. Many of their parents were already volunteering in the classroom and this program gave them the opportunity to be compensated while doing so.”
Founded in 1990, BBI provides early childhood education programs for children up to five years old at no cost to their families. In October 2018, when BBI’s Workforce Development Manager Arthur Darby was presented with Swan’s idea to form the Technology and Community Connecting Hands program (TAACH), he thought it would be the perfect opportunity to enhance the center’s two-generation (2Gen) approach.
Read the full article about IT company partners with a two-generation organization by Alexis Williams at the Aspen Institute.
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