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ISTE corporate, foundation relations experiencing a positive trajectory

By Rebecca Caldwell
October 1, 2015
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ISTE corporate, foundation relations experiencing a positive trajectory
Rebecca Caldwell

The trajectory of the work underway by the ISTE corporate and foundation relations team has been undeniably positive in recent months, driven by program improvements, refreshes and innovative new ideas. We couldn’t be more excited about how these changes address the ISTE mission and benefit all members of the ISTE community – both individual and corporate.

In recent months, we launched an entirely new sponsorship program that includes cutting-edge ways to support ISTE and year-round opportunities for interaction with ISTE members.

We also did a refresh of the ISTE corporate membership program, making the program more expansive and improving benefits to corporate participants and individual ISTE members. We want to ensure the program is a genuine win-win. With the update, we’re confident that’s the case.

As we engage corporate members in ISTE, we’re seeking as many opportunities as possible to connect them to individual members in meaningful, mutually beneficial ways. We want both membership types to connect with each other, see how they can learn from one another and find new ways to share expertise.

Our goal is always to provide avenues for two-way conversations. ISTE corporate members are eager to hear from individual and institutional members to learn what they need and how their companies can best support those needs. Beyond funding and support, corporate members want to know what’s needed in the way of product development, what important programs might be underwritten and how they can provide ed tech leaders with solutions that advance student achievement.

Recognizing that, in addition to being a membership organization, we’re also a cause-based nonprofit with a broad and aspirational mission, we’ve been hard at work building a foundation program. In some ways, we’re just getting our feet wet here, but we’re seeing great excitement around our ideas for aligning with foundations to underwrite innovative new programs to advance digital age learning and teaching.

The success of the Verizon Mobile Learning Academy (VMLA), a collaborative effort between ISTE and the Verizon Foundation, is an amazing example of what caused-based collaboration with corporate partners and foundations can achieve.

The academy, which focuses on best practices in effective mobile learning and provides continuing education credits from Johns Hopkins University Center for Technology in Education, has already helped nearly 600 educators create educational environments where mobile technology plays a vital role in improving student achievement.

Thanks to collaborations like VMLA, we know we’re on the right track with our goal to advance foundation- and corporation-based relationships. Today, we’re making that happen and are envisioning the myriad programs that might be funded by education foundations that share the ISTE vision.

The bottom line: ISTE continues to establish mutually beneficial relationships between corporate members and individual members. We’re excited about the new avenues for collaboration and we’re hard at work building a foundation program that will help us continue to transform learning and teaching in the digital age.

Lofty goals from an organization with a lofty vision.

Rebecca Caldwell is ISTE's ISTE chief corporate & foundation relations officer.