Ark’s partnership with Salesforce began with just one school in 2018, but quickly grew to impact not only Ark’s wider network of schools, but Salesforce's global offices as well.
Starting at Ark Evelyn Grace in 2018, Salesforce went on to deliver workshops to IT and Business students at 13 Ark schools through our Professional Pathways Programme. They also established the Salesforce Foundation and awarded £570,000 to Maths Mastery, which reaches hundreds of UK schools.
More recently, Salesforce committed £600,000 to fund Ark's extracurricular music and sports programmmes, and they remain a key partner providing workshops and career insight for our students.
Alastair Higginbottom, a Senior Manager in Product Incubation and Design Ops at Salesforce, shares more about the partnership.
"When Salesforce was founded in 1999, the 1-1-1 model was our foundation. We committed to giving 1% of our equity, 1% of our product and 1% of our time. Today Salesforce offers 56 volunteer hours a year to every employee. People are empowered to take that time, and they're held to account in their annual appraisals.
Working with Ark has been a big part of our journey; it's transformed how we volunteer. Our relationship with Ark was the testing ground of how best to partner with a school trying to do new things at scale. Before, we would do things tactically, but the scale of Ark programmes showed us how corporate volunteers could engage meaningfully in the actual education of pupils, not only the cocurricular programme.
"Working with Ark has been a big part of our journey; it's transformed how we volunteer."
Many of the volunteers who have worked with Ark have had their perceptions changed about what talent looks like, what young people know and what attainment is needed. Indeed, on the back of the relationship, one employee completely changed her career to focus on early-stage careers and bringing young talent into Salesforce.
"When we started working with Ark Evelyn Grace, we began by offering to prepare and facilitate one module. However, we soon saw that the skills we taught students were relevant and transferable to us as an organisation. We created a similar training programme for our colleagues. It became a global programme with 17 modular workshops in 12 languages, delivered from Mumbai to San Francisco – all coming from the content we initially created for the school.
"We donated to Maths Mastery in 2019 and, more recently, to Ark's Extended Curriculum, which focuses on the holistic wellbeing of students. Ark Ventures is a philanthropist's dream because, no matter what they want to focus on in the world of education, there's a venture aligned with our philanthropic mission."
"For students on the vocational pathway, this practical approach can be a big motivator. […] We've seen them come away inspired by the possibilities and producing work at a higher level.”
Maneesh Prasad, Computing and IT Teacher at Ark Burlington Danes shared how students have benefitted from a long-term partnership with Salesforce.
"Salesforce strikes a perfect balance. They show students that, while you need content knowledge, you must also be willing to learn and develop your soft skills. When we ran the design realisation and design thinking modules with Salesforce, the team showed students how to apply that process when creating an app. They gave them relevant applications for the theory they were learning.
"For students on the vocational pathway, this practical approach can be a big motivator. Some students' GCSEs didn't go as well as they hoped, and they start the course needing to build more confidence. After the workshops and visits to the Salesforce offices, we've seen them come away inspired by the possibilities and producing work at a higher level."
If you would like to help us support more students, contact Holly Mumford, Head of Development.