CDW Corporation, a leading multi-brand provider of information technology solutions to business, government, education, and healthcare customers in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Canada, “makes technology work so people can do great things.” And when it comes to the impact CDW has on its communities, the company believes amazing happens when everyone has equitable opportunities.
Taylor Amerman, Director of Social Impact at CDW, shares how the organization relies on data and empathy to help bridge the digital divide and create sustainable and equitable change in the world.
Leveraging the Power of Data
As a technology organization, CDW believes data is a necessary component that provides precision and helps drive success. So, when it came to building CDW’s Social Impact strategy, the team knew data had to be at the center and relied on several external sources to inform their focus on digital equity.
- Data from nonprofit partners. Data from CDW’s partner, Compudopt, stated that more than 30% of economically disadvantaged families lack access to a computer at home. Researchers found that Per Scholas’s computer technician training program boosts earnings (Maguire et al., 2010).
- Data from external research. CDW partnered with Ecotone Analytics to gather data from existing external research. For example, personal computer access tends to support educational outcomes, such as improved GPA and increased course completion, particularly for young, low-income students of color and girls (Fairlie, 2012). Role models are essential to improving self-concept, supporting academic expectations, and increasing career aspirations. (Dennehy & Dasgupta, 2017, National Academies of Sciences, 2020).
As CDW began to execute its focus on closing the digital divide, it turned to nonprofit partners and coworkers to gather sentiment and continue to hone the organization’s approach. Through survey collection, CDW found:
- 95% of CDW’s nonprofit partners believe they can rely on CDW to follow through on commitments.
- 93% of partners agree the way they work with CDW supports the best outcomes for our communities.
- 91% of partners agree there is mutual trust and respect with CDW.
- 88% of partners agree that CDW transparently shares information.
- 81% of CDW coworkers reported that CDW provides opportunities to positively impact their community.
- 71% reported that CDW’s Social Impact program makes them proud to work at CDW.
Leading with Empathy
“We’re proud of our progress, but we recognize there’s still a long way to go,” shares Amerman. “Data isn’t the only piece of the puzzle. We’ve tried our best to lead with empathy as we’ve made decisions with the data we’ve collected.”
As CDW continues their work to help close the digital divide, it looks to its values of:
- Integrity: We seek to be honest, keep our word, and follow through.
- Humility: We do not have all the answers. We seek to be vulnerable, curious, and trusting. We build mutual accountability to achieve our collective outcomes.
- Transparency: We seek to provide open communication and honest feedback.
- Equity: We seek to provide equitable access to funding through our processes, have a long-term perspective, and support our company DE&I commitments.
Telling the Story
Over the past year and a half, CDW’s intentional process to build a Social Impact strategy focused on data and empathy has led to greater buy-in from leaders, increased engagement from coworkers, and stronger relationships with nonprofit partners. Today, the Social Impact team continues to tell the story of how their strategic approach is making a difference in CDW communities across the globe and in the lives of company partners and coworkers.
As they look to the new year, CDW continues to advance digital inclusion by using data-informed strategies and remaining empathetic to the organization’s partners and coworkers. With their newfound approach and heightened momentum, CDW is truly making amazing happen.