Recently, at Akamai, we launched the Akamai Foundation, to continue to reach a broader, more diverse range of young people with quality Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education. We believe that this work is a vital part of securing the future of technology innovation and closing the diversity gap in STEM careers. Without the collaborative input of our young people, the tech industry cannot continue to thrive.
As well as the Akamai Foundation, we also run initiatives as part of our Corporate Social Responsibility Program, such as Girls In Code and the Akamai Technical Academy. Our combined investments in the technologists of tomorrow ensure we are at the forefront of technical innovations both now and in the future.
What is the Akamai Foundation?
Established in 2018, the Akamai Foundation is a non-profit corporate foundation and long-term source of charitable giving, committed to promoting excellence in mathematics to young people from all backgrounds. It is run on the belief that no individual should be left without the educational resources to achieve their goals. After all, when it comes to technical excellence, the better-educated future generations are, the more prepared they will be to tackle the societal challenges of the future.
However, while it makes sense for us to invest in the generations' we hope will work with us one day, reasons even more important than this drive our interest in their futures.
Why are our CSR efforts so important?
Ultimately, as a large corporation, we are aware of our responsibility when it comes to changing the world for the better. Akamai employees are driven to continue to act on issues such as sustainability, health and human services.
We have the option to invest in the betterment of society, to continue to create a better-connected world, and we are thrilled to play our part in making the planet a better place to live. Every contribution, regardless of size, is necessary for future growth.
What does the Akamai Foundation do?
As part of the Akamai Foundation, we support STEM education with our global grant program. After all, learning should be for everyone, no matter your location or background.
This is why it's essential for us to reach those young people who may not have access in their region to the educational resources necessary for them to pursue the career they dream of. We have a responsibility to take the necessary resources to them and provide the opportunities they need to fly.
In addition to the global grants program, the Akamai Foundation encourages volunteerism by connecting Akamai employees to the communities we work in. Our service program, Danny Lewin Community Care Days, empowers employees to give back by volunteering with local programs and causes. For example, in 2019, the Akamai Foundation and Akamai employees participated in a Sydney Harbor clean-up, Bangalore Micro-Forestry project and Amsterdam beach clean-up.
What do we want to achieve with the Akamai Foundation?
We want to change the perception of STEM subjects to truly reflect the creative and innovative career paths they can provide. We believe mathematics should be for everyone. In particular, we want to make mathematics fun. It's time to shake up traditional teaching methods and explore how inspiring pursuing mathematics can be.
Think of the inventions of the last couple of centuries - cars, aeroplanes, computers. Mathematics has been an integral part of creating the society we live in now; it has been responsible for bringing peace, as well as connecting people and cultures across the globe. Now, as we move forward, mathematics is vital to the global effort to protect the planet.
The main aim of the Akamai Foundation, to uphold this legacy, is to make mathematics a fun and accessible option for young people from all backgrounds. So that maths is seen as a form of expression, as a way to be innovative and shape the future. After all, change is an inherently collaborative venture. So, to be part of a change for good, it is our responsibility to spread the net as far and wide as we can.
What projects has the Akamai Foundation already supported?
So far, the Akamai Foundation has supported projects in Costa Rica, India, Poland and the United States, including Agastya International Foundation in Bangalore, the Children's University Foundation in Krakow, Jr. Tech in Cambridge, MA, Girls Who Code and the Hidden Genius Project in Oakland, California.
How does the success of the Akamai Foundation feedback into the success of Akamai?
When future generations see themselves represented in the pioneers that have gone ahead of them, they will see themselves in the future of STEM.
As Kara DiGiacomo, the Executive Director of the Akamai Foundation, said, "the desires of employees drive our CSR programs, so everything we do is representative of what our employees want to contribute to. They help to inform the direction that we move in as a unit."
As a result, the success of the Akamai Foundation and all our CSR programs is integral to our culture. Our belief in giving back runs through everything that we do. It is vital to us that our presence benefits the communities we live and work in, and that as we grow as a company, our legacy is not just built on who we are, but what we do.
According to Kara, "What's so exciting about working with the Akamai foundation is that we can bring the best ideas from Japan, Israel, India and Costa Rica and share our experiences, our knowledge, and our ideas."
When we come together, we can channel the diversity of all our thoughts and ideas into creating something bigger and better than we'd ever thought of before. When we work together, the possibilities are endless.