|SPR’s philanthropic efforts are aimed at more than just financial giving. What started during SPR’s fledgling days has grown to a complete program committed to philanthropic and civic engagement efforts, with a full-time employee, Pat Maher, overseeing these initiatives as Director of Civic Engagement. And SPR remains focused on going beyond and getting to the root of it – developing skills in those who may not otherwise have the opportunity. The goal is to help the community as a whole to thrive.
Persons with Disabilities: In the early 2000s, SPR created a training program to help employees with disabilities who may not have previously been considered for IT jobs. The training covered multiple skills in team building, judgement, listening – skills that have nothing to do with a person’s demographic background or physical mobility challenges.
Young Professionals: SPR has partnered with Year Up, a Chicago internship program that helps young adults with the first steps in their career – no matter their background, income, or zip code. Pat remembers what an impact the Year Up interns have had on him personally.
“While each of the interns faces challenges from very different backgrounds, they are all so talented,” Pat says, explaining how he would help guide with their overall professional mindset. He remembers structuring a formal report with one intern to meet weekly, helping shape him as a young professional. “So much so, that I asked him to serve in the mentor role for the next young intern.”
Charter Schools: Students visit SPR for tech days and events like 3D-printed derby races. Pat Maher and SPR’s CTO Matt Mead also stopped by a school to present a gift of a 3D printer, and ended up spending much of the day with the students.
“Matt was enthralled by teaching these kids how to run the printer,” Pat says. “This is genuine SPR. No corporate suits. No window dressing. We do it – and we feel good about working for a company that supports philanthropic efforts.”