Q: We are thrilled today to be with Asha, President of the Caterpillar Foundation Varghis Dialogue. Asha, this year was a milestone for the Caterpillar Foundation, right?
Asha: This year marks the 70th anniversary of the Caterpillar Foundation, which is a milestone for us. Since 1952, the Caterpillar Foundation has contributed to the improvement of people’s lives around the world and in the communities in which we live and work. In the course of this journey, we have invested more than $850 million globally to contribute to sustainable progress.
Q: Seventy years, half a century, how do you feel about that?
Asha: Helping to build a better world through philanthropic philanthropy is Caterpillar’s long-standing commitment, and I’m proud of it, and I believe Caterpillar’s team, partners and employees share the same feelings.
Q: It’s just as important to look to the future as it is to look back. What are the Caterpillar Foundation’s plans for 2022 that we can look forward to?
Asha: The Caterpillar Foundation’s mission is to build more vibrant communities, and we will continue to focus on that mission in 2022. The Foundation will continue to invest in the integration of people into the modern workforce and the vocational skills they need for work, while helping to build the infrastructure on which people depend, such as water and access to energy. Expanding staff and agency input into projects will also remain a priority. Preparedness and mitigation will also continue to be our focus area.
A community where everyone is equal is the most resilient. Diversity and inclusion programs are always part of our commitment to the community. We will also work together to help individuals who do not have access to adequate resources and services to open their way. I would like to share two examples of how we can achieve these aspirations by investing in projects.
Last year, the Caterpillar Foundation launched a campaign called “Start with a Tree.” This event will continue to be one of our priorities. Together with our global partners, we are focusing on innovative solutions that can strengthen natural infrastructure and economic construction. Another example is the skills needed by the contemporary workforce, so digital skills will remain one of the core components of our workforce readiness portfolio. We worked with the MIT Solve community to find the answer to a question in the form of a challenge: how to provide some solutions for countries like India and Indonesia. We will announce the list of * finalists in March. The bold idea is to build a systemic change that will help countries build digital talent channels.
(Note: Due to the impact of the epidemic, the schedule has been delayed, and the winner list has been announced in May 2022).
Q: We look forward to hearing more about these projects in the future. So, can you talk about what new projects the Foundation has in 2022?
Asha: In the infrastructure space, the Caterpillar Foundation has launched a new program to provide new access to electricity, especially in communities in developing countries that don’t have a grid and don’t have reliable, stable electricity. We are heartened by the many collaborative opportunities this new initiative will create and the positive impact it will have on the global community.” Also in stem education, we are looking for innovative ways to combine curiosity and learning through the power of play in STEM teaching. Through partnerships with partners such as Learning and Defeated and Discovery Education, our goal is to provide hands-on experiences for students around the world with toys, games, and sports in STEM education.
Diversity and inclusion remain a key focus in our workforce preparation and diversity and inclusion programs. The Caterpillar Foundation, in partnership with entities such as the Aspen Institute, provides a platform for leadership, career development, career readiness, and public engagement for youth pursuing STEM-related careers in diverse communities through programs such as the Aspen Young Leadership Scholars. Employee engagement programs are a critical part of our portfolio, and we look forward to continuing to expand on these programs so that employees can give back to the nonprofits that matter most to them.”
Q: At 70th anniversary, you’ll be leading the Caterpillar Foundation to a new phase. The footsteps can not stop for a moment, only the day.
Asha: Yes. The Caterpillar Foundation remains committed to helping improve communities around the world. In the new year, we learned that Caterpillar employees are eager to return to volunteering with their neighborhoods and the institutions of their choice, while following safety standards during the pandemic. We are eager to show you amazing ways to give back to the community.” Let’s look forward to a wonderful 2022!