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GM Foundation president Vivian Pickard on academic scholarships and raising the graduation rates

Cadillac Vivian Pickard Joi Pearson Photography_-8The General Motors Foundation: Guiding the leaders of tomorrow

The General Motors Foundation is making a difference in a big way. Vivian Pickard, president of the General Motors Foundation and director of GM Corporate Relations, discusses what the GM Foundation is doing to ensure education access and resources to the unserved communities of Michigan. Like General Motors, Pickard explains that every child who benefits from GM’s philanthropic donations are the catalyst for upward mobility within their communities.

Which programs Pickard feels have the greatest impact.
“My three favorite projects are all directly connected to education.The Buick Achievers Scholarship  program, provides 1,100 scholarships on an annual basis to students. For 100 students we provide a full ride for up to $25,000 per year and for one thousand we provide $2,000 per year. With this program we have a component built in that provides extra points for those who are the first to attend college in their families. We understand what it means to have the first person to attend college within a family. Once you get one person to attend college that resonates with the entire family. Many of those individuals are all over the country attending top-ranked colleges and universities.

“Another significant initiative, GM’s largest grant of $27.1 million, was given to support seven schools in southeastern Michigan. The goal is to raise the graduation rate from 50 percent to 80 percent. Not only are we providing the resources to increase graduation rate but we also have GM employees as active volunteers within these schools.

“We then have a health component that provides research for diabetes, heart health and cancer. These three health issue not only affect the minority community but everyone. We provide research scholarships in those three areas to make a difference.”

For Pickard and the entire GM family, signing checks isn’t the only way they make a difference; it’s the lives they change and the impact for generations to come.