For more than 120 years, KPMG has been passionately committed to improving the communities where we live and work. We view citizenship as a responsibility and core value, essential to who we are and vital to building the public trust that is so important to our business. As a firm, our primary focus is on advancing lifelong learning, with efforts that span the educational continuum. In KPMG’s Atlanta office, this commitment can be seen through our partnerships with local nonprofits across the Atlanta metro area, where we work to support students in reaching their full potential through programs that advance lifelong learning from preschool, through high school and college, to the working world.
Our firm’s flagship program, KPMG’s Family for Literacy (KFFL), was founded in 2008 in collaboration with the award-winning nonprofit social enterprise First Book. Focused on children from pre-kindergarten through 5th grade in underserved schools and populations, KFFL’s mission is to eradicate childhood illiteracy by putting new books and educational resources into the hands of children in need and developing the next generation of young leaders through reading. Since its inception in 2008, KFFL has distributed more than four million new books to low-income children in more than 100 communities nationally. Locally, in metro-area Atlanta, youth literacy levels are critically low, with less than 40% of students reading at grade-level by third grade. Through KFFL, our Atlanta office has donated 68,000 books to date, with the goal of reaching 100,000 books by the end of this year.
However, while education and early childhood literacy is critical to changing generational trajectories and socioeconomic profiles of youth from less privileged communities, our support doesn’t stop there. The firm also has a deep, long-standing commitment to Junior Achievement (JA), supporting JA programs that educate students about workforce readiness, entrepreneurship and financial literacy. Volunteers from KPMG’s Atlanta office regularly spend time at JA’s Finance Park in downtown Atlanta, where 7th and 8th grade students participate in an immersive simulation that enables them to develop skills to successfully navigate today’s complex economic environment. Last year, 24 local employees volunteered 156 combined hours in just one day, helping these students gain first-hand experience and cultivate skills to manage their personal financial futures.
To further workforce readiness of metro-area students, KPMG’s Atlanta office has piloted a high school internship program in partnership with the Boys & Girls Club of Metro Atlanta and Usher’s New Look Foundation. Now in its sixth year, the internship program enables rising or graduating high school seniors to gain hands-on learning experience within our own walls, and program participants are paired with a mentor from the firm’s college internship program who can help guide and facilitate their experience. Since launching in 2013, the program has been expanded to include more students as well as alliances with additional local organizations such as Junior Achievement of Georgia, 21st Century Leaders, and the United Way of Greater Atlanta.
Ultimately, we believe that investing in lifelong learning and education is one of the most effective ways we can break the cycle of poverty and unemployment, which is essential to building strong communities and economies. Our volunteers are often repeat volunteers who regularly express how much they enjoy participating in these programs and who try to take part in every opportunity. Additionally, in many cases, these initiatives are not only driven by KPMG employees, but also by our families, friends, nonprofit partners, and even other corporations. Our service to the community helps cultivate personal and professional relationships by bringing people together outside of the office and uniting them around a common cause.
When we think about the importance of community involvement, two words come to mind: 1) Stewardship, which means that we need to leave our communities better than we found them, and, 2) Purpose, which relates to our individual and corporate recognition of why, beyond economic reasons, we were created for the time that we are here, and to have a positive impact on the world.