ST. LOUIS –
Enterprise Holdings is making quite a financial commitment to addressing social and racial equity gaps facing youth and families in communities across the globe.
Through the Enterprise Holdings Foundation, the company that operates the Enterprise, National and Alamo rental car brands is awarding its inaugural local Enterprise Holdings ROAD Forward grants to nearly 700 nonprofit organizations.
According to a news release, the grants total more than $7 million.
The company highlighted that this announcement is another step in the ROAD Forward initiative to allocate $35 million over five years to more than 70 global Enterprise operating teams to drive local impact, as part of its five-year, $55 million commitment.
The company explained the grant program empowers Enterprise Holdings’ more than 80,000 employees to take the lead on identifying local organizations best equipped to drive change in their own communities, across three key areas:
— Early childhood development
— Youth health and wellness
— Career and college preparation
“A commitment to the communities where we operate has been fundamental to our company since its founding in 1957,” Enterprise Holdings Foundation president Carolyn Kindle Betz said in the news release.
“ROAD Forward’s local grants will support the many outstanding organizations that are leading efforts to advance equity in their communities — and ultimately strengthen the areas where our employees live and work, one neighborhood at a time,” Kindle Betz continued.
Notable recipients of the grants, nominated by Enterprise employees, include:
— Brotherhood Crusade, a 50-year-old grassroots organization working to improve quality of life and serve unmet needs of low-income, underserved, underrepresented and disenfranchised individuals in South Los Angeles, including health disparities and poverty-associated public health conditions. The nonprofit has provided human and social services to more than 100,000 South Los Angeles residents.
— Young Men United, a nonprofit in Baltimore with a mission to close gaps in racial education and earning by helping 25,000 young men of color over 10 years to increase post-secondary attainment and workforce preparedness. The organization provides participants with mentoring opportunities, guidance throughout the college search and application process, financial and educational support, and internships and job experiences.
— Youth Opportunities Unlimited, an organization based in Cleveland focused on helping local youth become economically self-sufficient through mentorship, skills and credentials training, career exploration, and internship and job searches. Since its founding nearly 40 years ago, the nonprofit has helped more than 160,000 teens and young adults obtain jobs and internships.
More than 60 of the local grants will support renowned nonprofit organizations and communities where the company operates in Europe. This includes support of 17 national organizations across the continent, such as National Literacy Trust (U.K.), The Girls’ Network (U.K.), Children’s Books Ireland (Ireland), Children for a better World e.V. (Germany), Sport dans la Ville (France) and Fundación MAPFRE (Spain), among others.
Enterprise Holdings first announced the ROAD Forward commitment in November. The initiative focuses on respect, opportunity, achievement and diversity (ROAD) for youth and families in the three previously mentioned areas:
—Early childhood development: The foundation for future success is built on access to preschool, pre-K, kindergarten and other opportunities for introducing learning and literacy.
“We believe in laying the building blocks of empowerment through early development and education to generate enthusiasm for life-long learning,” company officials said.
—Youth health and wellness: Health disparities are unfortunate symptoms of racial and socioeconomic inequality.
“We’re supporting the creation of opportunities to engage in positive behaviors that nurture physical and mental well-being,” company officials said. “This enables self-sufficiency and closes the gap in healthy outcomes among our youth.”
—Career and college preparation: The transition from childhood to adulthood is a crucial time for establishing a productive and healthy life.
“We’re investing in programs and organizations that provide college admissions and financial aid guidance, exposure and access to employers, career development coaching, skills training and interview preparation,” company officials said. “Equal access to these critical resources promotes long-term financial stability and mobility.”
In addition to $35 million in local-market grants, the commitment includes $20 million across four renowned nonprofit organizations — The Obama Foundation’s My Brother’s Keeper Alliance, UNCF, Girls Inc. and Parents as Teachers — to support young people in underserved communities.
“ROAD Forward demonstrates our commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion in our communities,” Enterprise Holdings chief diversity officer Errin Braddock said. “This is a companywide priority, and through this initiative, as well as efforts inside our own walls, we are doing the work that is necessary to help our communities advance lasting change.”
In conjunction with the ROAD Forward initiative, the company highlighted its foundation invested an additional $40 million in November into Enterprise Fill Your Tank, a six-year, $60 million program launched in 2016 to address food insecurity.
The additional investment will extend the program for another four years with funds being distributed among food banks and charities throughout North America and Europe, according to Enterprise Holdings.
For more information about Enterprise Holdings’ philanthropic initiatives, visit this website.