High Marks: Target Puts Education at the Center of Corporate Responsibility

October 22, 2012 - Article reads in

We may be celebrating our 50th anniversary this year, but Target’s legacy of service extends far beyond the past five decades.

More than a century ago, George Draper Dayton founded Dayton Dry Goods Company (now known as Target Corporation) with a firm belief that investing in the community is crucial to a company’s success.

And last week, Target reiterated that the Dayton’s founding spirit of service continues to guide the company after all these years.

Last Tuesday, President of Community Relations Laysha Ward announced that Target now gives more than $4 million every single week to communities across the country.

Below, Laysha talks about why education is the centerpiece of these efforts. But first, let’s start with the facts—take a look at the infographic below.

Why is Corporate Responsibility so important to Target?
LW: At Target, corporate responsibility has been part of our company since the very beginning. Over a century ago, our founder, George Draper Dayton, saw the intrinsic link between business and community. He knew our business couldn’t thrive without a strong community. To bring our vision of strong, healthy and safe communities to life, we developed publicly stated corporate responsibility goals in four key categories: education, sustainability, team member wellbeing and volunteerism. We recently reported our first year of progress toward these goals and are making great strides toward our goals, specifically in education, which is the centerpiece of our philanthropic efforts.

Target supports many different causes. Why is education a priority?
LW: We know that education is our guests’ top social concern, and that an educated workforce is critical to our economic and national security. At Target, we think it’s a business and social imperative to help kids graduate from high school so they’re ready for college, a career, life and the demands of a global society. It’s why we’re on track to give $1 billion for education by the end of 2015—our single largest philanthropic commitment to date. And it’s why we connect our work in the arts, social services and volunteerism to education to help support the whole child.

How does Target support education and young students?
LW:  Target is compelled to do its part to address the education crisis in America and put more kids on the path to graduation. One of the ways Target can make an impact is by helping to ensure that all children read proficiently by the end of third grade, when they take the critical step from learning to read to reading to learn. The path to graduation starts early. Studies shows that a child who cannot read proficiently by the end of third grade is four times more likely to drop out of high school than a child who can. Our innovative education programs—like Target School Library Makeovers, Take Charge of Education and Give with Target, to name a few—focus on reading and providing schools and teachers with the support and resources they need to get kids focused on their education early.

What is one thing Target wants the community to know about its support of education?
LW: At Target, we believe it takes everyone—parents, educators, caring adults, nonprofit organizations and corporations—to solve our country’s education challenges. We believe that every child deserves the opportunity to reach his or her full potential and it will take everyone to put more kids on the path to high school graduation.

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