our management approach to Community

Topics Discussed in this Section:

We do well by doing good. That’s why we work to ensure that community programs are embedded in our decision-making and business processes around the world. Our social impact strategy accelerates our efforts by placing a sharp focus on investments that help create sustainable economic growth around the world. At the same time, it provides a framework that allows us to measure positive social change and business outcomes. Our strategy is built around three key pillars: STEM education, vehicle and road safety, and community development. For each of these pillars, we employ a four-step social impact framework to determine areas where we have the most potential for impact:

  1. Analyze—Look at the landscape of a problem to understand root causes and existing pain points. Determine how GM as a business can uniquely contribute.
  2. Assess and Align—Use a decision-making tool to determine what programs we will continue to support and scale, what new types of programs we will support and what programs no longer fit our priorities.
  3. Activate—Identify specific social impact outcomes and solicit programs that will help us achieve those outcomes.
  4. Measure and Evaluate—Quantify the impact of programs and map impact to each social outcome.
GM Pillar Impact Strategy
Project Outcomes
Indicator of Success

STEM Education

Advance STEM

  • Increase in students who earn a degree in STEM that matches market needs.
  • Increase in presence, achievement and persistence for underrepresented minorities in STEM fields.
  • Increase in supply of qualified teachers trained in STEM subjects.
  • Increase in the number of students with employable labor skills for careers in STEM.

Vehicle & Road Safety

Fuel safer practices
in vehicles.

  • Increase in seat belt and restraint usage.
  • Decrease in impaired and distracted driving.
  • Increase in awareness and knowledge of effective vehicle and road safety practices.
  • Reduction in the number of vehicle-related injuries and deaths.

Community Development

Improve neighborhoods
and empower residents.

  • Increase in access to affordable, reliable and innovative transportation choices.
  • Increase in education levels and/or marketable technical and vocational skills.
  • Increase in communities’ quality of life through resident-led innovations.
  • Increase in the number of individuals whose socioeconomic opportunity is improving.

Potential partners also use this framework when applying for grants. Based on the pillar with which an organization is aligned, each applicant must explain the indicators and outcomes that their program will address. This alignment ensures our community investments are used to make quantifiable positive impacts in their respective focus areas..

STEM Education

Technological innovation is driving a sea change in the automotive industry. Today’s vehicles have tens of millions of lines of digital code and integrate thousands of parts. This makes STEM education more important than ever to training the workforce of tomorrow. Yet too few students are pursuing STEM-related education and degrees, leading to a looming talent gap for our future workforce.

This gap exists at all levels of education, especially in the U.S. A 2018 report by the National Science Board revealed that nearly half of all bachelor’s degrees awarded in China are in STEM fields, while in the U.S., only about one in three are. The problem begins much earlier than higher education, however. The most recent Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study, for example, reports lagging scores for U.S. students as early as fourth grade. By high school, according to the Programme for International Student Assessment, the U.S. ranks 38th out of 71 countries in math ability, and 30th among the 35 Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development member countries.

Gaps between men and women, and between whites and minorities, also are significant. As the number of white students who earned STEM degrees grew 15 percent in the last five years, the number of black students fell by roughly the same margin, according to the US News/Raytheon STEM Index, 2016. Women lag behind men overall in exam scores and in the number of STEM degrees granted. Only 18 percent of computer science majors and 10 percent of information security professionals are women.

We choose initiatives and partners using a research-based analysis of various challenges, such as teacher shortages, quality of teaching and learning, high attrition rates for underrepresented minorities, low student engagement and inequities and inequalities in STEM education. Given the strategic importance of STEM education to the long-term sustainability of our business, more than 1,800 GM employees volunteered over 60,824 hours for STEM education initiatives around the world in 2018. This involvement ranges from fundraising to hands-on volunteer activities like coaching FIRST Robotics teams and mentoring up-and-coming STEM leaders. The programs we support fall into four emerging areas with the potential to drive transformative solutions. We call this model the STEM Impact Compass:

Immersive Learning

Hands-on experiences that encourage active participation and drive engagement

  • Games for Change National Game Jams
  • Mind Research Institute
  • Institute of Play
  • Donors Choose

Computational Thinking

Developing analytical, multidisciplinary and transferable skills like problem-solving and experimentation

  • Digital Promise — Computational Thinking Microcredentials
  • Black Girls Code Detroit Chapter Launch
  • Girls Who Code National Club Partner
  • Code.org

Artificial Intelligence

Exploring AI-powered technologies with the potential to facilitate teaching and learning

  • MIT-SOLVE AI Learning Challenge
  • International Society for Technology
  • Concord Consortium — NSF RE
  • Iridescent

Digitization of Education

Using online and digital tools and resources to transform how learning is delivered and experienced inside and outside the classroom

  • Khan Academy
  • Society of Automotive Engineers — Cybersecurity
  • EDC — Data Science
  • Mind Research Institute
Safety Partnerships
  • 345,000 people participated in child passenger safety events with Safe Kids.
  • 68,000 teens were educated on the importance of seat belt usage through an online campaign for social change with DoSomething.org.
  • GM Supported the PBS documentary “Three Seconds Behind the Wheel” that highlights the dangers of distracted driving. Since airing in 2018, it has reached audiences in nearly every U.S. state and eight regions around the world, and was nominated for an Emmy in 2019.

Vehicle and Road Safety

In keeping with GM’s value that safety and quality are foundational commitments, the second focus area of our strategy guides us to support global efforts to increase safe practices in and around vehicles. We know motor vehicle crashes are the number-one cause of unintentional injury death among children ages 5-19. Further, six teens ages 16-19 die every day from motor vehicle injuries. GM aims to bridge the gap between today’s transportation reality and a future in which autonomous vehicles drastically reduce these dangers. Our focus is on parents, grandparents, young drivers and children.

Through education and training, we aim to reduce the number of vehicle-related injuries and deaths by increasing the number of drivers and passengers who use seat belts and restraints, decreasing the number of distracted drivers, raising awareness of road safety issues and improving the knowledge and skills of those behind the wheel. We are making progress with the help of partners including Safe Kids Worldwide, MADD, PEERS Foundation, DoSomething.org, the National Safety Council, the ASPIRA Association and the Detroit Public Safety Foundation.

Community Development

Our third focus area encompasses our efforts to enhance the quality of life in our communities around the world, and particularly in our hometown headquarters of Detroit, Michigan. We believe that for people to succeed, they need access to transit, good jobs and safe, walkable places to live. These three ingredients—mobility, employability and livability— comprise what we call the social mobility ecosystem and guide our efforts to develop communities. Through investments in long-term solutions, GM will enable mobility that goes well beyond vehicles, creating upward economic mobility for many.

This includes improving a community’s neighborhood infrastructure, housing stabilization, revitalization and school improvement projects; and creating child- and family-safe places for recreation and play.

Though we strive to have a positive impact where we do business, the cyclical nature of the automotive industry can impact a community in the opposite manner. When business downsizing or plant closures are necessary, we work diligently with local governments and other entities to minimize economic and social disruption. See Talent for more information about how we are supporting employees affected by GM’s ongoing transition.

Developing Sustainable
(Click for information)

As long as people must physically move to access opportunities, they will need access to reliable and affordable modes of transportation. GM believes in a world made better by sharing. Yet economic and physical access remain barriers to use of shared mobility solutions by everyone. That’s why we’re working with partners that increase access to and utilization of reliable, affordable, smart and innovative transportation options that are likely to facilitate social inclusion.

A second essential element for developing sustainable communities is employability. Today, there are half a million unfilled jobs in IT fields, and hundreds of thousands more will need to be filled soon. Yet too many people lack access to resources, such as high-performing schools, guidance counselors, career offices and connections to individuals with successful careers, to help them develop career aspirations and prepare for today’s world of work. GM aims to increase opportunities for Americans of any age, in any part of the country and from any background to be trained for jobs with promising career paths. We work with partners that help people develop skills in language literacy and proficiency, trades, advanced manufacturing, technology and sales and marketing.

Closely related to the opportunities offered by expanding mobility options is the demand for walkable, transit-oriented communities. While populations in walkable urban and suburban areas are growing rapidly, there are only 35 adequate, affordable and available units for every 100 extremely low-income renter households nationwide. GM can help address this imbalance by working with partners that use Smart Growth as an urban planning strategy to increase positive enablers that make up a community’s quality of life.

Corporate Giving
Heat Map
U.S. Giving by State, 2018

Many of GM’s corporate giving efforts are focused in our hometown of Detroit—but our impact doesn’t stop at the Michigan state line. In every community in which we operate, opportunities exist to contribute to a stronger economy by supporting initiatives promoting STEM education, vehicle and road safety and community development. In 2018, we made grants in 28 U.S. states, with many contributions exceeding $1 million.