Community Engagement

William Blair Expands Its Global Community Partners Program

January 2022 / 2 min, 30 sec
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William Blair announced the expansion of its Global Community Partners program to 22 new partnerships, continuing its decade-long, employee-led philanthropic program that began in Chicago.

As part of William Blair’s commitment to philanthropic initiatives worldwide, the community partnerships support—both financially and in employees’ volunteer time—local nonprofits that work to strengthen their communities.

“I am proud of the impact that our employees have had and the broad engagement that we have across the firm,” said John Ettelson, William Blair's newly named chairman, at a firmwide virtual celebration held November 30, global giving day, when the community partners were announced.

Chosen from nearly 100 nominations made by employees and selected by the firm’s community impact steering committee and local working groups, nonprofits from Los Angeles to London were named 2022-23 community partners. All are in cities where William Blair offices are located.

The organizations have made a commitment to grow and scale their outreach to enhance their communities. Their work includes empowering youth, women, and entrepreneurs; providing food, hope, and other resources to those in need; connecting caregivers; eliminating racism; and educating people about food waste and sustainability.

Long Tradition Serving Communities

William Blair has a long tradition of serving its communities, beginning with its founding 87 years ago in Chicago. As the firm has grown through the decades, the Community Partners program, organized in 2011, has become a way to empower employees and expand targeted financial resources to make a larger community impact worldwide.

“It’s so central to our values, so central to the core of who we are in being engaged in communities, being civic leaders, and giving back,” said Brent Gledhill, William Blair's new CEO, during the event.

William Blair invites employees every two years to nominate organizations that align with the firm’s commitment and mission to engage in local communities. Since the program began, employees have helped develop finance curriculum and taught classes to youth; distributed books; introduced diverse students to careers in finance; mapped community assets on Chicago’s South and West sides; supported a refrigerated van to deliver food throughout London; started a middle school leadership program; and more. Community grants through the program have amounted to nearly $5 million.

“The purpose of our philanthropic capital is to inspire the next generation of philanthropists,” said William Blair wealth advisor Laura-Min Proctor, who serves as vice chair of the firm’s community impact steering committee. “That means going where our employees go to amplify their impact.”