People at Pearson tend to get involved in giving back to the community, taking an active interest in the impact of their work and in personal efforts to raise funds for charities of their own choosing. Many take part in the organised reading schemes and other community programmes we offer at company level, in partnership with local organisations. Many others make personal arrangements for their charitable endeavours, with 2008 examples ranging from a staff fundraiser for the Burma Relief Fund from Pearson Education Hong Kong, to an individual from Pearson Brazil volunteering as an ELT teacher for teenagers in São Paulo's favelas, to four members of the FT's Ad Sales team in London growing moustaches for the Prostate Cancer Charity. We celebrated seven of those volunteers through our annual Pearson Community Awards 20, making a donation of $2,000 to their chosen charity and giving certificates of Long Service Commendation to two other volunteers.
Penguin Group staff in the UK raised more than £100,000 in 2008 (including company-matched funds). £25,000 of the total was raised by the Woodland Walk, involving nearly 400 people, while the remaining £75,885 was raised either through individual and team fundraising, four staff charity book sales, or our annual charity carol concert.
Staff at Pearson Education in Hong Kong donated through the payroll or by donating their lunch money to help victims of the 2008 Sichuan earthquake, giving $25,560 (including company-matched funds) to support the relief and reconstruction projects managed by the Hong Kong Red Cross.
Following the tragic death of a close colleague in 2007, several Pearson Education staff members in the UK have worked tirelessly to raise money to save a local theatre from the threat of closure. 'The Friends of Johnny Wong' have raised over £50,000 through a series of fundraisers, and hope to save the theatre altogether in the coming period.
Booktime Staff across Pearson companies in the UK took part in our Booktime volunteer reading programme, reading during the working day at local primary schools assisting children with their reading.
Pearson Community Awards The 2008 Awards saw an unprecedented number of applications from candidates right across the Pearson global family, with individuals volunteering their time in a diverse range of ways – assisting a community out reach programme for kids in LA, manning a lifeboat in Kent and embarking on medical missions to Haiti were just a few highlights from the shortlist.
Movember During Movember 2008 (the month formerly known as November), four members of the FT's Ad Sales team in London grew moustaches for The Prostate Cancer Charity, raising over £5,000.
We believe that part of our duty is to use our considerable platform to promote education. As with everything we do, we try to interpret that responsibility in the broadest sense of the word – by our definition, it's just as important to celebrate the best teachers as it is to encourage all children to read, and equally crucial to give as many young people as we can the opportunity to take an active role in trying to answer the global challenges of climate change. By helping to facilitate and host digital, online and face to- face interactions with students, teachers and other stakeholders, we hope to help others play their part in contributing to the discussions surrounding the key issues of our times. We zone in on a few examples below:
Why I Teach: As part of our Voices in 21st Century Education campaign, the Pearson Foundation helped Teachers of the Year from across the United States visit New York City, and – with a little help from the Digital Arts Alliance – script, compose, and create their own personal video to explain their motivations for teaching.
Spinebreakers: In September 2007, Penguin launched the UK's first online book community for teenagers, giving them the opportunity to discuss, debate and interact with Penguin's rich source of publishing from contemporary titles. Editorial control of the site is in the hands of a core editorial team of nine teenagers aged between 13 and 18 years, supported by a large network of contributing teen editors from across the UK.
The Pennies for Peace Toolkit: The Pearson Foundation, together with Pennies for Peace and the National Education Association Foundation, announced a new K-12 service learning toolkit designed to help educators in the US create effective penny-raising campaigns as part of their school's curriculum.
Teaching Leaders: This new London-based initiative aims to deliver measurable improvements in pupil achievement by developing a network of excellent, well-supported middle leaders – heads of subjects, year group and other whole-school roles. We recently established the Pearson Excellence Awards for Teaching Leaders, pledging to donate £11,000 worth of prizes to reward participants for effective, well-executed initiatives implemented at their schools at the end of the first year in the programme.
PeaceJam Global Call to Action: On 11 September 2008, alongside PeaceJam, the Penguin Young Readers Group and the Digital Alliance, the Pearson Foundation introduced the Global Call to Action Challenge, which encourages young people to document in digital film and in writing the projects they've created and implemented to bring about peace in their local communities. An extension of the newly published Penguin Young Readers book PeaceJam: A Billion Simple Acts of Peace, the Global Call to action encourages young people to commit themselves to 1 billion projects to serve their communities in the next ten years.
Ladybird will launch global reading campaign Ladybird Read for Life in 2009. The new look www.ladybird.com will become a one-stop portal to support reading around the world, giving parents and teachers access to a wealth of new free downloadable resources, educational interactive games and podcasts.
"For Pearson people everywhere, the Pearson Foundation is a reminder of how much we can achieve when we put our heads together. It's another, even more personal way that together, we at Pearson help people improve their daily lives.
We never take for granted the importance of what we’re trying to do, and we’re always looking forward to the great things we can accomplish together."
Mark Nieker, President, The Pearson Foundation