City Year’s service to at-risk students is made possible by its many generous donors. Since City Year’s founding in our region three years ago, three corporate partners have committed to multi-year team sponsorships: AT&T, Bank of America and the WalMart Foundation. Each organization has committed $100,000 per year for the last three years, increasing City Year’s intervention capacity in high-need schools.
“Team sponsors are the backbone of City Year, providing program funding that keeps our AmeriCorps members in service in schools,” said Executive Director and Vice President Jake Mossawir. “From the beginning, AT&T, Bank of America and WalMart have recognized the importance of our work, and their ongoing partnership in three schools has helped us grow to serve more students in need of targeted support in attendance, behavior and poor coursework.”
Team sponsorship not only benefits the students that City Year serves, but also adds value to the corporate partner throughout the academic year by strengthening brand presence in the community and offering meaningful, “hands-on” ways for their employees to give back to the community.
Team sponsors and their employees are invited to join AmeriCorps members in service projects throughout the year that focus on revitalizing their sponsored school and other community spaces to create vibrant and safe learning environments for students. In the 2013 academic year, the WalMart team held a service day at partner school Father Keith B. Kenny K-8, during which nearly two dozen employees from the Natomas store worked alongside their AmeriCorps team to renovate the school’s kindergarten playground. Their projects included repainting the blacktop with learning games, creating colorful murals and repainting the school’s toy shed.
“The WalMart team went above and beyond that day to serve students,” said Paul Willis, who was the City Year program manager at Fr. Keith B. Kenny that year. “They stayed later than anticipated to get the job done, and they arranged dinner for everyone. Their work at the school will be felt for years to come.”
In addition to service days, team sponsors often work with City Year to identify specific student or school needs that their company can help to address. In 2013, for example, Rosa Parks K-8 team sponsor Bank of America organized a backpack drive for students in financial need. Volunteers from the company donated 150 backpacks filled with essential school supplies.
Team sponsors also are an important ingredient in building our community’s future workforce. Members of the team sponsor company are encouraged to connect with AmeriCorps members to share their professional experience and prepare them for their education and career after City Year, helping to develop effective future leaders and build a strong employee pipeline.
In 2013, AT&T and City Year collaborated on the “Aspire” mentorship program that gave AT&T employees the opportunity to guide AmeriCorps members at their sponsored school. Employees were paired with the nine AmeriCorps members from Fern Bacon Middle School to inspire them to pursue their professional and education ambitions, and give them the tools, skills and support to become leaders in their community. Mentors and mentees met once per month on topics such as career planning, communication and decision-making skills.
All team sponsors are recognized with their names and/or logos on AmeriCorps member jackets, as well as in City Year collateral and at special events – recognition that is well-deserved considering the generous commitment of financial resources, as well as staff time and talent.
“We are grateful to AT&T, Bank of America and the WalMart Foundation for their partnership,” said Executive Director and Vice President Jake Mossawir. “Each of these dedicated organizations has been a keystone in our growth, and we appreciate their enduring support of the Sacramento students and families we serve.”