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Sustaining Communities

Social Impact Strategy

We’re helping to build sustainable communities by investing in STEM education, advancing safer driving practices and empowering neighborhoods and their residents.

For the Road Ahead:

Key Takeaways

  • GM’s social impact strategy is built around three pillars: STEM education, vehicle and road safety and community development.
  • Our strategy is implemented through corporate grantmaking, employee volunteerism and signature programs, including Hometown Giving and GM Student Corps.
  • Our STEM education efforts work to address the shortage of STEM-educated students and professionals in the U.S., as well as the relative lack of women and minorities in STEM fields.
  • Through education and training, we hope to raise awareness of road safety issues and improve the knowledge and skills of those behind the wheel.
  • We define community development as generating solutions for common problems, focusing our efforts on workforce readiness, economic prosperity and innovative placemaking.

Challenges

  • Company’s value to society and shareholders continues to be a balancing act
  • Social impact is difficult to measure in the short-term, and long-term change is equally difficult to assign to a singular party or driver
  • Technological advances continue to drive long-term strategy and profit, but resources are limited; we must balance corporate giving and R&D
  • The automotive industry, in particular, is more slowly adopting the idea of shared value
  • The coronavirus pandemic has caused unprecedented uncertainty and change, which has increased pressure on companies to work for the good of society

We do well by doing good and create sustainable solutions that improve the communities in which we live and work. 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 philanthropic investments that create smart, safe and sustainable communities around the world. At the same time, it provides a framework that allows us to measure positive social change aligned to business objectives. Outside of investments in our headquarters city of Detroit, this strategy is limited to three primary focus areas: STEM education, vehicle and road safety and community development. In 2019, GM partnered with 349 U.S.-based nonprofits with a goal of impacting an estimated 1.9 million individuals through a variety of programmatic interventions. We have aligned each of these focus areas to four United Nations Sustainable Development Goals as follows.

UN SDG Goal 3: Good Health and Well-Being
Vehicle &
Road Safety
Un SDG Goal 4: Quality Education
 
STEM Education
Detroit
UN SDG Goal 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth
Community Development
Detroit
UN SDG Goal 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities
Community Development
Detroit

Corporate Giving Heat Map

U.S. Giving by State, 2019

While many of our partnerships have a global impact, this heat map depicts distribution of philanthropic funds across the United States where programmatic activities occurred in 2019.

Map showing the distribution of funds accross the United States

2019 Focus Area Funding

Pie chart showing GM's 2019 focus area funding

Individuals Impacted by Programming

300,000
STEM
1.1M
Vehicle & Road Safety
339,000
Detroit Initiatives
91,000
Community Development

Strategy

For each of our three 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.

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.

GM Impact Strategy

Advance STEM
Education
Fuel Safer Practices
in Vehicles
Improve Neighborhoods and Empower Residents
  • 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 seat belt and restraint usage.
  • Decrease in impaired and distracted driving.
  • Increase in awareness and knowledge of effective vehicle and road safety practices.
  • Increase the number of individuals with marketable technical and vocational skills
  • Decrease the number of individuals facing economic barriers
  • Increase the number of residents positively impacted by innovative community improvements
Success:
More students with employable labor skills for STEM careers
Success:
Fewer vehicle-related injuries and deaths
Success:
More individuals with improved economic opportunity

Advance STEM
Education

  • 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.

Success:
More students with employable labor skills for STEM careers

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.

Success:
Fewer vehicle-related injuries and deaths

Improve Neighborhoods and Empower Residents

  • Increase the number of individuals with marketable technical and vocational skills
  • Decrease the number of individuals facing economic barriers
  • Increase the number of residents positively impacted by innovative community improvements

Success:
More individuals with improved economic opportunity

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.

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, GM partnered with 51 nonprofit organizations across the U.S. in 2019 in an effort to:

  • Increase the number of students who earn a STEM degree that matches market needs.
  • Increase the presence, achievement and persistence of underrepresented minorities in STEM fields.
  • Increase the supply of qualified teachers trained in STEM-related subjects.

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 of zero crashes. Our focus is on parents, grandparents, young drivers and children.

Through education and training, we hope 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 that include Safe Kids Worldwide, the National Safety Council and Mothers Against Drunk Driving. Our grant funding in 2019 will impact an estimated 1.1 million individuals across the U.S.

Not Safe for Wheels Campaign Student
Child in booster seat in the back seat of a car
164,618
teens to be reached by distracted
and impaired driving programs
400
car seat inspection stations
maintained
220
high schools to provide road safety
programming to students

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. Community development generates solutions for common problems. We focus on community development efforts on workforce readiness, economic prosperity and innovative placemaking. We recognize the importance of equipping individuals with essential skills to gain secure employment in a competitive economy. We partner with nonprofit organizations that work to:

  • Increase the number of individuals with marketable technical and vocational skills.
  • Decrease the number of individuals facing economic barriers.
  • Increase the number of residents positively impacted by innovative community improvements.

Some examples of our partnerships include:

  • Funding SER — Jobs for Progress to educate 250 minority women throughout the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex with necessary and expansive small business entrepreneurship skills.
  • Investing with the Local Initiatives Support Corporation to support Financial Opportunity Centers with targeted focus on rural Midwest communities to impact an estimated 1,000 individuals.
  • Partnering with KaBOOM! to invest in physical spaces that ensure children have access to balanced and active play through state-of-the-art playscapes. In 2019, GM supported builds in Detroit and Flint, Michigan, and in Phoenix, Arizona.

GM Community Impact Grants

GM’s Community Impact Grants program, now in its 10th year, enables GM facilities to support neighbors through local nonprofit partnerships. In 2019, GM plants and facilities provided more than $2 million in grant funding to more than 150 nonprofits that will impact an estimated 90,000 people. Examples include:

  • In Flint, Michigan, Communities First, Inc. will put $20,000 toward building a 70-unit affordable housing development.
  • In Fort Wayne, Indiana, a $10,000 grant to Fort Wayne Inc. will help create awareness among high school students about careers in manufacturing.
  • In Spring, Tennessee, a $20,000 grant to the Boys & Girls Club of Maury County will provide STEM programming for more than 200 youth.
  • In Brazil, the expansion of our partnership with Safe Kids Worldwide will enable essential research, promote awareness and educate child passenger safety technicians — all to enhance the protection of child occupants in vehicles.
  • In China, long-term support for China Development Research Foundation’s Village Kindergarten program included GM employees spending five days in Sangzhi, Hunan to provide art, music, science and sports classes to underprivileged children. The program also leverages social and government resources to offer preschool education to children in order to help improve social and emotional development.
  • In Canada, $1.9 million was donated to nonprofits that impacted more than 150,000 Canadians. This included a partnership with five universities that sent 1,110 youth to a STEM camp supported by GM employee volunteers.
GM employees volunteering in Detroit’s Cody Rouge community.
8,583
individuals to receive technical and vocational jobs training
5,800
free rides provided to alleviate transportation barriers
4
communities to receive new public playscapes
GM Student Corps Student

GM Student Corps

GM Student Corps is a comprehensive, paid summer internship program that offers community service, life-skills training, college readiness and team building for high school students in underresourced communities. This program has worked with more than 1,340 high school and college students since 2013. In partnership with 15 local Detroit, Flint and Pontiac high schools, 150 students are divided into teams and paired with GM retirees and college interns who mentor them across the 10-week program.

In 2019, the program placed a greater focus on life skills and professional development in partnership with Urban Alliance, a national youth development nonprofit. In addition, GM employees led workshops on topics such as data analytics, app development and vehicle technology to provide students with 21st century skills.

teamGM Cares in 2019

Our global employee volunteer force encourages employees to roll up their sleeves and improve our communities around the world.

19
U.S. States
541
nonprofits
$4.5
million

repurposed business resources
for nonprofits
13
countries
Employee Participation
Bar chart showing GM employee participation in teamGM Cares for 2015 through 2019

Corporate Giving Heat Map
U.S. Giving by State, 2019

$$$$$ $$$$ $$$ $$ $

Michigan

California

Ohio

Georgia

Indiana

New York

Texas

Arizona

Illinois

Florida

Kansas

Kentucky

Massachusetts

Maryland

Missouri

North Carolina

Pennsylvania

Tennessee

Virginia

Colorado

Connecticut

Louisiana

Maine

Minnesota

Mississippi

Nebraska

Nevada

New Hampshire

Rhode Island

South Carolina

Vermont

Washington

West Virginia

Wisconsin

teamGM Cares Employee Participation

2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
6,869 12,167 15,445 17,648 18,880

2019 Focus Area Funding