The Charles Schwab Pro Bono Challenge is an annual skills-based volunteer event in partnership with Common Impact that taps into Schwabbies’ professional expertise to build nonprofit capacity and create long-term community impact.
In 2020, the traditional one-day flash consulting event went fully virtual and was expanded into three week-long consulting projects in order to better support the increased needs of nonprofits and communities during COVID-19. 392 Charles Schwab volunteers from nine regions collaborated with 65 nonprofits to address their urgent strategy and operations challenges for a value of $749,000 in pro bono support.
As a leading financial services company, Charles Schwab traditionally focuses its skilled volunteering work on financial literacy and the Pro Bono Challenge was no exception. The 67 projects were designed to leverage financial literacy as a tool to champion other causes close to Schwabbies’ hearts, including fostering equity, promoting COVID-19 relief, and supporting military communities. Among the projects were collaborations with nonprofits local to Charles Schwab branches, such as:
- Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Tarrant County (Fort Worth, TX), which received a financial modeling template to inform the potential growth of their daily meal programs.
- Centro Community Partners (Oakland, CA), an organization that provides underserved, low-income business owners – especially women and people of color – with entrepreneurship education and access to capital. Centro finished the Pro Bono Challenge with a product marketing strategy to increase awareness of its business planning app within the low-to-moderate income and BIPOC entrepreneur communities.
- PeopleFund (Austin, TX), a nonprofit lender that provides entrepreneurs who are veterans or members of military families with capital and resources to build their small businesses. The certified Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) received customized UX/UI recommendations for its loan qualification web tool, enabling PeopleFund to reach more military community entrepreneurs during COVID-19.
“The Pro Bono Challenge was extremely beneficial. Having actual deliverables we can instantly apply is priceless and allows for us to spend more time serving [our constituents],” said one nonprofit participant.
99% of Schwabbies felt like their work at the Pro Bono Challenge made a real impact for their nonprofit partner and 56% plan to continue collaborating with them. The Schwabbies benefited directly, too, with over 80% reporting professional development gains across leadership, strategic thinking, problem solving, and navigating ambiguity, to name a few. “I like that we're making a difference with local [nonprofits] and that we can extend that relationship outside of the Challenge,” one volunteer remarked. “This is a great way to further leverage various skills within the organization to make a difference.”
Access the full case study to learn more about the 2020 Charles Schwab Pro Bono Challenge and it’s enduring impact.