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November 19, 2002

Alcoa Foundation Celebrates 50 Years of Progress in Communities Worldwide; Announces International Social Venture Initiative


Anniversary Activities in More than 100 Alcoa Communities Worldwide Recognize Thousands of Employee Volunteers

As part of a worldwide celebration of its 50th anniversary, Alcoa Foundation announces a unique international Social Venture Initiative designed to improve the effectiveness and sustainability of nonprofits by applying business and entrepreneurial models in their organizations. The Social Venture Initiative will build on Alcoa Foundation's history of consistent, committed and innovative giving strategies to make Alcoa communities better places to work and live.

Concurrently, Alcoans in over 100 communities worldwide joined today to recognize 50 teams and individuals for volunteer work in their communities and to inspire greater participation in all global locations over the upcoming anniversary year. (See list of events worldwide).

Speaking at an anniversary event at the Alcoa Corporate Center in Pittsburgh, Alcoa Chairman and CEO Alain Belda said, "We are proud to celebrate 50 years of putting Alcoa Values into action at the community level. By helping nonprofits on the path to financial sustainability and greater community effectiveness, celebrating employee involvement, and measuring our progress, Alcoa Foundation will enrich Alcoa communities and bring Alcoa closer to being the best company in the world."

Investing in Sustainable Nonprofits

Alcoa Foundation has partnered with Washington D.C.-based Community Wealth Ventures (CWV) to create the Social Venture Initiative (SVI) to help nonprofits manage increasing needs for their services and declining available funding. CWV is one of the leading consulting firms working directly with NGOs and foundations as they seek to develop and implement earned-income business ventures.

The initiative is designed to help nonprofits generate their own revenue streams using their existing resources and new entrepreneurial strategies. It consists of three initial phases:

  • Launch in 2003 with a forum of international experts in nonprofit sustainability that will be webcast to nonprofits at Alcoa locations around the world;
  • Request for nonprofits to submit proposals that detail their plans for sustainability; and
  • Reconvene nonprofit SVI grant recipients to share lessons learned and mentor other groups of nonprofits in sustainability.

Celebrating Thousands of Volunteers

A major element of today's events is the recognition of thousands of Alcoans who have made substantial commitments of their own time to volunteer in their own communities. Employee engagement has been a key part of the Foundation's work. In addition, today's celebrations will honor 50 teams and individual Alcoans who have earned substantial grants for nonprofits in their communities, by volunteering to provide hands-on support for these organizations.

According to Alcoa Foundation President Kathleen Buechel, "We've learned a great deal in our grantmaking in the last 50 years. Over the last several years, we've taken the approach that our involvement must be about more than money -- our human capital, energy, and expertise all greatly enhance the value of our financial contributions and connect our work more closely to the community." Buechel added, "As we move ahead, we want to build on what we've begun. The anniversary is an opportunity to move forward in ways that continue to enrich Alcoa communities and provide new community investment models for all locations to share."

The Foundation plans to track progress for outcomes of the SVI and for employee involvement using a strategy that reflects the methodical measure-and-report approach taken by Alcoa in its successful effort to improve workplace safety over the last two decades.

About Alcoa Foundation

Established in 1952, Alcoa Foundation is a global resource that actively invests in improving the quality of life in more than 26 countries around the world where Alcoa operates. In addition to community grants addressing local needs, the Foundation provides global grants focusing on Areas of Excellence, including: Sustainability; Safety; Healthy Communities; Workforce Development and Nonprofit Effectiveness.