Ernst & Young Puts Up Cash to Help Community Activists

What if you had $10,000 dollars to implement an idea of your choice that made a difference to communities? This is exactly the challenge that Ernst & Young put forward at its Your World Your Vision campus challenge this year. The winners which were announced last month came from Baruch College, University of Georgia, and University of Illinois. Each willing team received $10,000 from Ernst & Young to implement the program that they designed to make a difference in their local community.

The competition which is in its third year now requires students to develop and submit proposals for programs that will make a difference in their communities. The focus areas include education,  entrepreneurship or the environment which are strategically tied into  the company’s CSR efforts. This year, the competition attracted entries from teams at more than 40 colleges and universities all across the United States.

The competition challenges students to submit creative programs that would positively impact their communities — on campus, in a nearby town or city, or in a virtual community. The programs could also be broad enough to affect those on a national or global level. In addition to developing an idea, students are tasked with devising an implementation approach, budget, and a timeline for the community programs. An Ernst & Young advisor works with each of the teams throughout the challenge, offering advice and insight.
Winners are selected by a panel of Ernst & Young leaders, who evaluate the submissions based on the impact the proposed programs will have on the community, the creativity of the proposals, and the way the programs are presented. This year’s winners developed plans to advance causes for community members ranging from elementary school children to homeless young adults.

Winners of last year’s Your World, Your Vision competition have already made great strides toward fulfilling their visions. This program has earned the support of civic leaders in the Champaign Park District, including Illinois Governor Pat Quinn and First Lady Michelle Obama.

Sponsoring community building competitions especially aimed at college students is an excellent way of engaging the stakeholder which is what CSR is all about. It gives the company new ideas which they can implement for their own CSR initiatives. It also encourages young people to start thinking about sustainability and creatively solve many current issues. Targeting this sector is very essential because not only do such initiatives shape educational choices but also plays a role in future careers of participants.

Thanks to Cassandra Osei for her contribution and patience

Akhila is the Founding Director of GreenDen Consultancy which is dedicated to offering business analysis, reporting and marketing solutions powered by sustainability and social responsibility. Based in the US, Europe, and India, the GreenDen's consultants share the best practices and innovation from around the globe to achieve real results. She has previously written about CSR and ethical consumption for Justmeans and hopes to put a fresh spin on things for this column. As an IEMA certified CSR practitioner, she hopes to highlight a new way of doing business. She believes that consumers have the immense power to change 'business as usual' through their choices. She is a Graduate in Molecular Biology from the University of Glasgow, UK and in Environmental Management and Law. In her free-time she is a voracious reader and enjoys photography, yoga, travelling and the great outdoors. She can be contacted via Twitter @aksvi and also

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