Six Degrees of Durham

Fidelity Investments: Investing in North Carolina's Students

Citizen Schools’ partnership with Fidelity Investments has supported our 8th Grade Academy (8GA) program and helped thousands of students attain the skills they need to transition to high school and succeed in college.  In a 2010 interview, Sheila Cavanaugh, Fidelity Investments’ Sr. Vice President of Community Relations, and Eric Schwarz, CEO of Citizen Schools, explained the impact of the partnership.

What do you think makes this partnership unique and poised for significant impact?

Eric Schwarz: The relationship between Citizen Schools and Fidelity goes far beyond typical definitions of corporate philanthropy – we have truly forged a multi-faceted, mutually beneficial partnership.  Our shared vision of increasing opportunity for our young people and fueling the success of our country, and our results-driven approach to our partnership, drives us to collaborate deeply around on-the-ground, hands-on programming for our students and big picture policy issues.

Sheila Cavanaugh: The longevity of our relationship with Citizen Schools is especially unique, allowing us to expand, innovate, and mutually deepen the partnership through strategic employee engagement.  We are working tenaciously to identify specific ways to instill a mindset of “what’s possible” in eighth grade students through college and career exposure.

In North Carolina, Fidelity Investments has built a relationship with students through multiple levels of employee involvement. Their 2010 Dress for Success Campaign provided business attire for all of North Carolina’s 8GA students, polishing and preparing them for networking and interviews. In addition, Fidelity volunteers have devoted hundreds of out-of-school hours to teaching apprenticeships in investment banking, general finances, American government, and martial arts. They continuously exhibit a firm commitment to changing the life trajectories of our students. Each semester, they lead our students in hands-on projects that enable students to experience mastery by demonstrating to the community the positive potential of youth.