How Tech Gives: Xilinx is Full STEAM Ahead

How Tech Gives is a blog series on Philanthropy Front and Center-San Francisco featuring interviews with Bay Area tech leaders about philanthropy news, trends and opportunities among the tech companies in our region.  This series is done in partnership with the Silicon Valley Community Foundation. In this post Juliana Deans, Manager, Corporate Responsibility, interviews Patty Nation, Director of Global Corporate and Community Engagement, Xilinx.

Background

Headquartered in San Jose, Xilinx is a global leader in All Programmable semiconductor technologies and is committed to innovating new devices that allow its customers to create technologies that are bettering humanity and the world. As an exemplary corporate citizen, Xilinx is equally committed to community engagement and partners with local and global non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and educational institutions to create lasting, positive change.

Xilinx’s award-winning signature community engagement program, the Global Educational Ecosystem, was launched in January 2007 and continues to this day. This program places special emphasis on education by supporting elementary through secondary education. It brings together leaders in business, education and NGOs to implement programs focused on the attributes and developmental assets that foster leadership in a global society while developing youth for the workforce of the future.

Interview with Patty Nation, Director of Global Corporate and Community Engagement, Xilinx

Juliana Deans: Can you describe the Educational Ecosystem model?

Patty Nation: The Xilinx Global Educational Ecosystem is an integrated and articulated grant process supporting linked learning and pathways that promote math, science and engineering. The company’s vision is to influence the transformation of science and technology education in the 21st century through dedicated partnerships between educators, community leaders, corporations and NGOs.

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Juliana Deans: What are the key components of this model’s success?

Patty Nation: The success of the program is based on the multi-faceted relationships which encourage ecosystem participants to fully engage with other members to build robust and sustainable partnerships in community schools. Xilinx acts as the facilitative hub for creating an integrated grant process while partnering with ecosystem schools and NGOs in support of programs, community service work, and other outreach programs. Local Ecosystem partners include; Campbell Union High School district, Union Elementary School district, Cambrian School district, Santa Clara University, San Jose State University, Project Lead the Way, Mouse Squad, RAFT, Junior Achievement, YMCA, the San Jose Museum of Art and Create TV.

Juliana Deans: What makes Xilinx’s Educational Ecosystem model unique?

Patty Nation: The Global Educational Ecosystem is Xilinx’s model of a public-private partnership that we see as essential to the success of our youth when shaping a future global workforce. We place an emphasis not just on STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) education, but on STEAM (arts). We believe that integrating arts into a STEM curriculum fosters creativity and out-of-the-box thinking that future tech leaders will need to have in order to drive innovation and positively impact the world.

Juliana Deans: What impact has the Educational Ecosystem had on education?

Patty Nation: Annually, Xilinx gives $500,000 to support this model that is separate from our other corporate philanthropy budget (employee giving, team volunteering, disaster response, and support for cancer research/treatments as examples). 75% of our ecosystem grants are dedicated to core math, science and technology programs, with 25% focused on enrichment programs (arts, health, and community and social services). Xilinx employees also volunteer with the education ecosystem partners and we see this as a pivotal element of the program’s success.

Through this funding and volunteerism, Xilinx impacts over 8,200 students every year in twelve schools across four countries. Students experience the impact through programming provided by the partner nonprofits, service learning in conjunction with employees, as well as infrastructure improvements that have ranged from smart boards for teachers to portable computer carts for students to a sanitation system so a school had working bathrooms.

Xilinx believes that when nonprofit organizations and schools connect, there is better understanding of business acumen as it relates to education, a stronger and more diversified workforce pipeline, and a greater understanding of STEM and financial literacy—ultimately multiplying corporate dollars, while fostering a sustainable and magnified impact.

To learn more about how Xilinx supports its communities, visit: http://www.xilinx.com/about/community-engagement.html, or meet Xilinx and Silicon Valley Community Foundation representatives at the next Foundation Center How Tech Gives session focused on education support on June 30th, Cracking the Funding Code: Tech Corporate Giving Trends.