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When Employee Engagement Strategies Also Help Teachers 

Employees want to work for businesses that reflect their values, including a commitment to social responsibility. One of the best ways companies can do this is by enacting employee engagement strategies that connect staff with the opportunity to donate or volunteer with nonprofit organizations that matter to them.

One way is for businesses to partner with AdoptAClassroom.org to support local teachers in high-need schools while building lasting relationships with educators in communities where they operate and their employees live and work.

Since 1998, AdoptAClassroom.org has funded thousands of classrooms across the U.S. so teachers have the funds needed to purchase supplies for their students, without having to spend their own money. With the average teacher currently spending $860 out-of-pocket annually on classroom supplies, the support of local businesses can have a major impact on teachers and their students.

Read our Q&A with donor Shetal Patel to learn more about how employee engagement strategies from her employer, Thrivent, inspired her to advance equity in education through gifts to AdoptAClassroom.org.

AdoptAClassroom.org (AAC): Could you tell me a little bit about yourself? Where did you grow up?

Shetal Patel (SP): I came to the U.S. in 1980 as an immigrant from India and grew up in a small town in northern New Jersey.

AAC: When you were growing up, did you have a teacher who made a difference in your life? 

SP: My father. He was a teacher in India and then brought his skill set over to the U.S. He had three children, and he treated us like his students after school. He made sure that education came first before anything else in our day. My father was the most impactful person in my life. I credit where I am today to him.

A smiling Indian woman wearing a black and white sari next to an older Indian man in a white button-up.
Shetal Patel and her father

AAC: How did you hear about AdoptAClassroom.org? 

SP: I started working at Thrivent last August. The company gives each employee 20 hours of volunteer time. We are allowed to take time off to volunteer and donate financially if we choose to. Thrivent had AdoptAClassroom.org on one of their social sites as a giving opportunity; the minute I saw your work had to do with supporting classrooms, I jumped on it. 

AAC: What does it mean to you to work for an employer that is dedicated to making our world a better place through corporate philanthropy?  

SP: It’s amazing. I absolutely appreciate the different fundraisers that Thrivent does. I feel like it fosters a positive relationship between the organization, AdoptAClassroom.org, and the community. It is so cool that the connection to Thrivent has become a source of funding for teachers. 

AAC: What resonated with you about our mission to advance equity in education? Why is education important to you?

SP: Growing up with my father being a teacher, education was driven in us. As minority immigrants, we were given the equity to have the education that other children in my town had.  We had access to the resources, support, and opportunity to allow us to succeed regardless of our background. Education is really important to me, and I strongly believe that every child should have access to education.

AAC: Why did you become a monthly donor to AdoptAClassroom.org?

SP: I feel like it is my duty to help. As a young child going through the education system, I may have taken how much teachers do for granted. I did not realize all the work that they put in behind the scenes, along with all work they do away from the classroom. 

AAC: What would you say to someone who is considering giving to AdoptAClassroom.org?

SP: Anyone who has a school-aged child or children should do their part to support the team of teachers and staff that work in the classrooms. They do so much for our kids. While parents are at work, teachers are working hard in the classrooms to teach our children.

Interested in learning more about how your company can partner with AdoptAClassroom.org to implement employee engagement strategies? Fill out our contact form and we’ll reach out as soon as possible!  

Do you want to see if your employer matches your gifts to AdoptAClassroom.org? Find out here.