Dean Brody goes blue.

A proud U-M alum and an executive campus champion for the U-M/Accenture partnership, he keeps up with news and events at his alma mater, something made easier by his proximity working as a managing director at the Detroit-based offices of Accenture, the global consulting firm.

He works with a sizeable contingent of U-M alums, and he wanted to involve Accenture and connect employees’ shared experience in supporting U-M somehow. That’s when he heard about the university’s Wolverine Pathways program.

2/27/16 Wolverine Pathways Winter 2016 Kick-Off.  Wolverine Pathways is a free, year-round program providing learning experiences for middle school and high school students to help them succeed in school, college and future careers.

Students at the Wolverine Pathways Kick-Off. 

The Wolverine Pathways program is designed to provide a pathway to higher education for youth from traditionally lower socioeconomic communities and communities who have a low track record of successfully sending students to the University of Michigan.  Students from the Detroit, Ypsilanti and Southfield school districts can participate in Wolverine Pathways, where they receive year-round learning experiences that culminate in four years of tuition free education if they are accepted to the University of Michigan.

With Accenture offices in Southfield and a recent move to Detroit, Dean knew that Wolverine Pathways directly helps students in their community. He approached alum Paul Daugherty, Accenture’s Chief Technology and Innovation Officer, to explore options on how Accenture could contribute to the program. The company’s annual employee giving program seemed like the right fit.

For two years, Accenture’s local offices focused their employee giving campaign on Wolverine Pathways, promoted giving to the program, and directly matched each employee gift submitted.

Kelley Stokes-Samuel, Associate Director of Major Gifts for Diversity Initiatives at U-M’s Office of University Development knows this program is one that many alums are passionate about, once they learn about it. “Alums see the disparity between the number of U-M students who hail from well-resourced communities in Metro Detroit and the number that come to us from the communities Wolverine Pathways serves. They want to help bridge that gap by making sure talented students from all the areas surrounding the university feel like they have access to it. Programs like this one help do so, and Accenture’s dedicated giving over the last two years makes a significant difference.”

Finding where to help

Even though Wolverine Pathways students who are admitted to the University of Michigan receive free tuition, costs still accrue, like room and board. That’s where Accenture wanted to help. Their funds will provide room and board scholarships for incoming freshman who graduated from the program.

Accenture employees raised over $11,000 for Wolverine Pathways, from U-M alums and non-alums alike who were inspired by the idea of the program, and Accenture generously matched the employee gifts 1:1, doubling their contribution to over $22,000 in total.

As they learned more, however, they decided giving alone wasn’t enough. Accenture leaders have a wealth of experience and deep networks to share, and they are now partnering with Wolverine Pathways to work with students directly, helping mentor students and administer some curriculum on business consulting, the power of networking and building relationships.

Says Dean, “Accenture is very excited to support a program like Wolverine Pathways. At our very roots, Accenture is about creating opportunities in the communities in which we live and work. Supporting Wolverine Pathways, both financially and with the time of our people, will allow more students to benefit from an education from the University of Michigan, and also gain experience in the field of business consulting.  It hits right at the very core of our desire to build a diverse and talented workforce.”

Through widespread awareness, the dedication of key alumna, generosity of its employees, Accenture is supporting not only U-M students but also underserved students in their community.

Olga Kiely works with companies at U-M’s Business Engagement Center and connected Dean to Wolverine Pathways: “The University of Michigan and Accenture have a strong and multi-faceted partnership, and this collective gift to support one of U-M’s key priorities represents a shared vision for a diverse and talented workforce, one that will only deepen connections between our two organizations. We are grateful to Dean and Accenture for their support.”

Please visit Wolverine Pathways for more information on the program.

To determine if your company has a matching gift program, please click here.