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GE Lights up Lives in More Ways Than One
Publication: The Asian Age (Mumbai)

One of the qualities that tie employees of General Electric the world over together is their commitment to community service. Across the globe GE employees volunteer their time towards improving their communities, their company and their lives through volunteerism, leadership and camaraderie.

GE Elfun, a contraction of the word "Electrical Fund", was founded in 1928, and was looked at as a stock investment program for senior GE employees. The focus changed in 1981 to community service and today GE Elfun boasts of 42,000 GE employees and retirees in more than 100 communities worldwide.

The India movement has over 1400 members and has grown to four chapters since its inception in 1999. Mr. Scott R.Bayman, President & CEO of GE India, said: " It is extremely heartening to see the growing commitment of GE employees to give back to the communities in which we live and work. Volunteerism is at the heart of GE's community initiatives and today over 1400 Elfuns are committing their time, talent and skills to make a meaningful difference."

The GE Fund invests in improving educational quality and access and in strengthening community organizations in GE communities around the world. In India they provide a grant of Rs. 1.14 crore covering 67 scholarships in 26 institutes. In addition, GE Fund has awarded grants worth US $129, 000 to three Indian non-profit organizations - Vinimay Trust, ICRIER and Each One Teach One. In some cases, such as the Gujarat Earthquake, GE Elfun and the GE Fund, GE India collected Rs. 32 Lakh for the Gujarat earthquake victims and sent 10 truckloads of relief material, including clothes, blankets and tents.

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GE India to Help Lower School Dropout Rate
Publication: Business Standard (Mumbai)

In a unique display of corporate social responsibility, 15 employees of GE India have tied up with Delhi-based NGO Vidya for mentoring school children and helping them in clearing their 10th and 12th standard examinations.

Vidya focuses on improving education and training access to children and women from underprivileged sections of society.

It conducts a regular school, which has classes upto the 5th standard as most of the children stop going to school after reaching the 5th standard, often due to family and economic compulsions.

Vidya conducts a Bridge course which seeks to prepare drop-outs for the public examinations of 10th and 12th standard as the open school system does allows students to appear for the exam even without undergoing formal education.

Till a few years ago, the success rate of the Bridge course, as measured by the number of students passing, was negligible with many students giving up on the course. One major reason was the lack of motivation and confidence, particularly in the absence of credible role models in their families or social circle.

Vidya approached GE two year ago, with a request that some of its employees mentor these students. This involved the mentors coming to the Vidya campus every Saturday. They were required to spend at least half and hour with the student, help in their studies and more importantly provide confidence and motivation.

Last year, 14 students mentored by GE employees appeared for the Class 10 exam, of which 12 passed. Many of them, in fact, passed with more than 60 per cent marks. Almost all the students who passed have opted to go for higher studies and also appear for the Class 12 examination and the mentoring for them is continuing. This year, too, 13 of the 15 students that appeared for the exam managed to clear it. At present, a total of 20 mentors are involved, most of whom are either GE employees or their friends.

Besides mentoring the students, the GE Fund has given a grant of Rs 9.5 lakhs to help finance the Bridge course.

Energise to innovate
Publication: The New Indian Express (Bangalore)
GE Fund, the foundation of the General Electric Company, organised a two-day workshop for the GE Fund Scholors of the 2002-04 batch. The workshop 'Energise to Innovate' is aimed at stimulating minds of young scholars by exposing then to GE's Global R&D activities, therby motivating them to innovate, at the John F Welch Technology Center (JFWTC), had six teams comprising 12 GE Fund Scholars, with a mentor from JFWTC being assigned to each team. The teams were taken around the state-of-the-art research labs to give the students and insight into the multi-dicipilinary work being conducted at the centre.

GE Elfun: Celebrating volunteerism

It is not a sight that many of us come across in our day-to-day lives. A mentally-challenged adult singing Sare Jahan Se Achcha on the stage while a group of cancer patients cheer him. Clapping to his tune are slum children. It is a sight that would remind one that it does not take much to make underprivileged children feel that they are very much a part of a worldly existence.

The occasion was the commemoration of the completion of the third year of community development of GE Elfun, Delhi Chapter. For Scott Bayman, president and CEO, GE India, it is a moment to feel proud to be a part of a team that had set aside personal interests and vowed to extend a helping hand to the underprivileged. “When we started GE Elfun, it was not out of any obligation, but it was completely volunteerism,” says Mr. Bayman. Today, he is happy to admit that the volunteers have exceeded expectations. Be it the success of Project Vidya (of helping school dropouts pursue further studies in collaboration with an NGO, Vidya) or Project Muskaan (taking care of mentally-challenged in association with an NGO, Muskaan) or helping children from slums (with an NGO called Prayas) or its other initiatives.

His enthusiasm is shared equally by Yamini Kumar, manager, human resources GE India, who is also the founder member and head of GE Elfun India. “Starting in 1999 with the Delhi chapter, we now have chapters in Bangalore and Hyderabad. The Chennai and the Mumbai chapters are coming up shortly. This is a reflection of how we have progressed,” says Ms Kumar. We all have our other jobs in the company and this (working for GE Elfun) is out of our sheer willingness to share social responsibility whenever we are free, she quips. She adds that the family members of the Elfun volunteers are encouraged in these projects.

With corporate social responsibility becoming extremely important in today’s context, Mr. Bayman knows businesses have a responsibility towards the society they operate in. Strengthening this view, he presented a cheque of Rs 40,000 to the Cancer Patients Aid Association (CPAA) to further its association with the organisation. Accepting the sum, Kiran Hukku, director (North Zone) of CPAA, says: “We need more and more corporates like GE to play an important role in helping cancer patients. It is not only the monetary help that counts, even the Elfun volunteers coming to hospital to take care of the patients is a good encouragement for us, she adds.

Says Mr. Bayman: “We are looking forward to a long-term relationship with NGOs committed to the cause they are working for. We would love to be a valued citizen and we would like India to benefit from us as much as we have benefited from India,” he adds. “We do not believe in a one-off affair. We want to be accepted as a part of the fabric of India, not merely as a foreign company.”

And it is because of such gestures that slum children like Mohammed Jamil, now in Prayas and doing his third standard, can say with happiness beaming from his eyes that “life has never been so much fun.”
Publication : The Financial Express
Date: February 11, 2002
Edition: Delhi