Beyond Caterpillar: Investing in Communities

In 2022, Caterpillar’s philanthropic organization, the Caterpillar Foundation, celebrated seven decades of helping build resilient communities. The Foundation’s global work in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education, workforce readiness, sustainable natural infrastructure, access to basic services, disaster relief, employee volunteerism and matching gifts, have helped communities around the world achieve sustainable progress. Since its founding, the Caterpillar Foundation has invested nearly $900 million to help improve the lives of people around the world.

As a company, Caterpillar works alongside its dealers and customers to build the societal infrastructure necessary for a better, more sustainable world. The Foundation focuses on the complementary human, natural and basic services infrastructure needed for individuals to thrive and communities to be resilient. Our combined success contributes to the stability of regions around the world.

The Foundation has four key areas of focus:

  • Empowering the workforce of the 21st century: Through skills development and STEM, we help equip individuals with the skills required for tomorrow’s workforce. Skills-based education leads to better jobs and better jobs lead to better futures.
  • Building resilient communities to address critical environmental challenges: The Foundation supports natural infrastructure development and access to basic services, such as water resource management and access to energy.
  • Focusing on diversity and inclusion: We bridge community gaps by supporting underrepresented populations and those with the greatest needs.
  • Giving back in our communities: Caterpillar’s global team helps build a better, more sustainable world using their passion, time and talent to give back, maximizing impact through the Foundation’s disaster and matching gifts programs, United Way and volunteer efforts.
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Alongside our partners, the Caterpillar Foundation participated in many thought leadership events, including the 2022 United Nations General Assembly/Climate Week in New York.

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The Caterpillar Foundation is partnering with The Nature Conservancy to promote economic and environmental sustainability in Brazil, using a direct sowing technique called muvuca. It involves planting a mix of seeds from Atlantic Forest trees and is a cost effective technique because seeds can be planted directly without the costly maintenance of nurseries.

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Creating the Workforce of the 21st Century

Understanding the importance of equipping individuals and communities with the skills, resources and services they need to thrive in our changing world, the Foundation invested about $16M million in 25 countries to support workforce readiness and STEM. An example is the Foundation’s partnership with Malaika, a nonprofit grassroots organization that empowers Congolese girls and their communities through education and health programs. Together, we have built a Technical and Education Training Center that provides mechanical and electrical training, focusing on closing community skills gaps and providing new job opportunities in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Malaika’s community-driven model has been integral since its founding in 2013 and has led to transformative change. The students have 1,200 contact hours in group classes and cover topics such as safety, machine mechanics, diesel mechanics, gasoline engine management, auto electronics, brake systems, suspension and steering, and manual driving skills.

Establishing Natural Infrastructure

In 2022, the Foundation had nearly 70 active sustainable infrastructure programs, committing over $13 million across 30 countries to restore natural ecosystems to withstand natural disasters and environmental challenges. Together with the Foundation’s partners, these programs seek to remove, sequester or capture carbon by restoring land. One such program is Blue Forest Conservation’s Forest Resilience Bond, which bridges the finance gap for much-needed forest restoration across the western U.S. and supports natural infrastructure projects on public land. In the Sierra and Yuba counties in California, the program impacted approximately 81,000 residents, creating more than 200 jobs in the local community and providing hydroelectric power, drinking water, and flood control for over 30,000 people.

The Foundation is partnering with Conservation International and others to develop a “Green-Gray Cost-Benefit Analysis Tool” to compare green and gray alternatives for infrastructure and coastal resilience projects in Mexico and the North Brazil Shelf. “Green” infrastructure (wetlands and forests), alongside traditional “gray” infrastructure (seawalls or dams) not only provide environmental and biodiversity benefits, but can also extend the life of coastal infrastructure including roads, bridges, and highways. By better understanding the benefits of blending “green” conservation with “gray” engineering techniques, communities can enjoy the benefits of both solutions.

Disaster Relief

The Caterpillar Foundation is a member of the American Red Cross Annual Disaster Giving Program. The Foundation’s $1 million annual global investment helps provide a funding base, allowing the Red Cross to provide immediate relief to those impacted by disasters big and small. This model ensures that the Red Cross has funds to prepare for disasters before they occur.

The Foundation has donated more than $1 million to support both urgent and long-term needs of the Ukraine humanitarian crisis. This donation supports organizations that include the American Red Cross in support of the global Red Cross network response to the Ukraine humanitarian crisis, Project HOPE and the Center for Disaster Philanthropy. Caterpillar team members eager to help in a time of crisis, along with a Foundation match, contributed another more than $1 million, making an even greater impact. The Foundation’s disaster preparedness support also enabled partner organizations to respond to disasters such as in the Mayfield, Kentucky, area when tornadoes ripped through the center of the U.S.; catastrophic flooding in several European and African countries, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and China; Western U.S. wildfires; Hurricane Fiona that impacted Puerto Rico; and an earthquake in Afghanistan.

Diversity & Inclusion

Communities are strongest when there is equality for all. In 2022, Foundation investments targeted support for several underserved populations. Through partnership with DigDeep, families within the Navajo Nation will gain access to water — eliminating hours spent each week hauling water from streams, wells and grocery stores. Nomi Network works to create a brighter future for women and girls vulnerable to human trafficking in Dallas, Texas, and India by building economic sustainability through workforce development programs. The Aspen Young Leaders Fellowship supports youth of color from the lowest quartile of the socio-economic ladder to pursue STEM degrees by proactively supporting individuals with financial, academic and personal factors that prevent them from achieving success.

Caterpillar Foundation and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs)

The Caterpillar Foundation’s investments align with several of the UN SDGs. The Caterpillar Foundation works to build resilient communities in the places where we live and work and where there is need.

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4 Quality Education
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6 Clean Water and Sanitation
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7 Affordable and Clean Energy
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8 Decent Work and Economic Growth
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9 Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure
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11 Sustainable Cities and Communities