Diversity in CSR Scholarship Program
In fall 2021, the Urban Leadership Foundation of Colorado (ULFC) and the Center for Ethics and Social Responsibility (CESR) launched a scholarship program for the Leeds’ Certificate in Corporate Social Responsibility (CCSR) executive education program, with the goal of increasing the number of diverse professionals in CSR roles throughout Colorado. After two years, the program has grown to provide 14 scholarships per year, and now has four deeply committed participating partners from the business, nonprofit and public sectors.
CCSR trains professionals in knowledge and skills that empower them to advocate for more sustainable, inclusive and community-focused practices in their organizations. The class has historically been majority white, while the population most impacted by social injustice and environmental pollution is BIPOC. We believe CSR programs will be more effective when the voices of the most negatively impacted groups become a bigger part of the business solution, and that this will also lead to a significant difference in equity. To work toward these goals we wanted to develop the pipeline of highly trained diverse professionals. In partnership with ULFC we identified an opportunity to work with the ULFC Connect alumni community, a group of professionals who have gone through leadership training offered by ULFC, and have collaborated to provide funding to reduce the cost of tuition for CCSR for ULFC Connect alumni.
Scholarship Recipients for 2022
CESR and ULFC launched a pilot of this partnership spring 2021 with one scholarship. For 2022, we set a goal of providing five scholarships each semester for ULFC Connect alumni. We awarded these at a special Signing Day in August 2022 at which ULFC and CESR recognized the recipients for their achievement. The five recipients of the fall 2022 Diversity in CSR funding are listed below, together with their purpose in pursuing the Certificate in CSR.
I plan on implementing changes in my current organization by utilizing the tools I obtained from this program.
I am currently on a career path that is almost certain to lead me into the field of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion. As EDI and CSR work go hand-in-hand, I plan to use this program to give me a more global view of issues that impact us all.
This year’s signing day included remarks from Dr. Ryan Ross, Executive Director of ULFC and Justine Roberts, Program Manager at CESR, as well as Katie Wallace from New Belgium Brewing Company. The keynote speaker was Gloria Neal. Gloria started her career in television as a news anchor, and then later spent three years as the Director of Public Affairs for Mayor Hancock in Denver before moving into ESG consulting. She talked about the importance of people of color taking on leadership roles on issues that affect them and their communities. Gloria also talked about her own journey, and how to build a network that supports action and which is motivated to make a positive difference. She stressed the need for all of us to commit to making the world a better place every day.
Also in attendance was Senator James Coleman.
Expanding the Partnership
This year scholarships to CCSR are made possible in part by support from Rocket Social Impact and New Belgium Brewing Company. With their support we plan to offer an additional four Diversity in CSR scholarships.
Both Rocket Social Impact and New Belgium Brewing Company have been involved with CCSR as guest speakers. “Rocket Social Impact and New Belgium Brewing are national leaders in several key areas of Corporate Social Responsibility,” explains Jennifer Forman, one of the CCSR Lead Instructors. “Both companies are committed to diversity and inclusion, not just within their organizations and respective industries, but in creating systems-level equity. Their investment in CSR training for BIPOC members helps enable diverse leadership in the field, bringing more representative perspectives in solving the corporate environmental, social and governance issues of today and tomorrow.”
Katie Wallace, Chief ESG Officer, New Belgium Brewing Company, has been involved with CCSR since the course began six years ago. One session, late in each semester, is focused on one company that has been performing well across all of the aspects of CSR, and so New Belgium Brewing Company has hosted some CCSR cohorts (pre-COVID) for a brewery tour.
Expanding the partnership to include these purpose-driven businesses has given the Diversity in CSR initiative greater reach and scale. We believe that cross-sector collaboration is an essential strategy for promoting positive social, environmental and ethical outcomes because it brings business, government, nonprofits and communities together around common social impact goals. With the addition of Rocket Social Impact and New Belgium Brewing Company, this project gained not only new funding, but new ideas and expanded scale.
Strong partnerships have the ability to advance equity and inclusion, strengthen communities, and build long-term value. Adding corporate partners to the collaboration only makes sense and adds important capacity to our efforts.
"ULFC is committed to everyone thriving and the eradication of inequity. Our partnership with CESR is a great example of this work," says Dr. Ryan Ross. "The intersection of education, non-profit, and the private sector companies New Belgium and Rocket Social Impact creates a space for strategic, intentional, and courageous work! We are thrilled to have our second cohort of scholars in this partnership and are focused on community accountability of this work."
Increased diversity in CSR leadership has a ripple effect on the way businesses think about and construct CSR programs by centering the voices of communities hardest hit by social and environmental injustice and inequality. We are continuing to expand our partnerships and the network that supports this work. Companies interested in participating in the Diversity in CSR scholarship partnership should contact Justine Roberts, Program Manager at CESR.
If you would like to learn more about CCSR you can explore our website, and set up time to chat with an Instructor.