After spending 11 years leading GE’s diversity outreach, I’m pleased to be expanding my role by succeeding Bob Corcoran as president of the GE Foundation. I look forward to building on the GE Foundation’s success, supporting communities around the world.
Together with our partners, the GE Foundation focuses on health, education and disaster relief. Our strategic philanthropic programs draw on GE’s culture of leadership, diversity and inclusiveness as we give back to our communities, making a significant and lasting impact.
In 2014, the GE Foundation is celebrating our 60th anniversary. Over the past 60 years, the GE family has given more than $1 billion to charity through the GE Foundation Matching Gifts Program. The concept of corporate matching gift programs started with GE, and our program supports employees and retirees in their personal philanthropy/charitable giving by providing a one-to-one match.
In 2014, we are also celebrating the 10th anniversary of our Developing Health Globally™ program and the fifth anniversary of our Developing Health™ program, focused on improving access to primary healthcare in the U.S. Through these two programs, we touch the lives of more than 15 million people worldwide each year.
The GE Foundation began its efforts to improve student achievement and college and career readiness in the K–12 public education system through its first education grant in 1954. Since launching Developing Futures™ in Education in 2005, the GE Foundation has committed more than $200 million to improve student achievement in seven targeted U.S. school districts—Louisville, Ky.; Stamford, Conn.; Cincinnati, Ohio; Erie, Penn.; Atlanta, Ga.; New York, N.Y.; and Milwaukee, Wis. To date, the program has reached 1.3 million students and more than 92,200 teachers.
In providing humanitarian relief in times of crisis and creating sustainable solutions to health and environmental issues, such as unsafe drinking water, the GE Foundation is supported by the ideas, inspiration and generosity of our employees, who have a strong commitment to their communities. In 2012, the entire GE family—including businesses, employees, retirees and the GE Foundation—contributed $219 million and 1.3 million volunteer hours to community organizations in 55 countries.
I am proud of what the GE Foundation has accomplished so far, and I’m honored to be part of our Foundation’s future. As we continue to find innovative ways to respond to the world’s most pressing needs, we look forward to working closely with organizations dedicated to building strong communities. Together, we can make a difference now and for generations to come.
Deborah A. Elam
President, the GE Foundation & Chief Diversity Officer, GE