June 16, 2021
Dear Future Doers,
2020 was a year of challenge, from a global pandemic to social injustice, the year’s events taxed us all. For many around the globe, these challenges are nothing new. Poverty, unemployment, educational gaps, lack of access to the infrastructure needed for safe drinking water or sanitation; these are just a few examples of the very real issues people grapple with every day. 70 years ago, to address these and other issues, Caterpillar established the Caterpillar Foundation to help improve lives and build a better world. The Foundation set a lofty goal in 2013 to empower 50 million people out of poverty by 2020. I am so pleased to share that through the help of the Foundation’s partners across the globe, with their boots on the ground efforts, the Foundation did it.
The Foundation has also refined its focus. Accompanying its overall mission of building thriving communities, the Foundation has designated a key focus area to empower the workforce of the 21st century and is committed to helping underserved youth acquire needed skills through industry-focused vocational training, and helping students pursue and enter STEM careers by equipping them with the right expertise and knowledge to thrive.
To the students of today, you are no stranger to adversity and challenging times. With many of our homes turning into schools and kitchen tables turning into desks, you have had to adjust to a world of remote learning seamlessly and without question. You adapted based on the reality you faced and show up each day ready to do the work, seamlessly transitioning into a new normal.
So why am I sharing these thoughts with you today when so many of us have been dealt this challenging hand? At Caterpillar we strive to be a leading corporate citizen always thinking ahead for solutions. You have shown us your adaptability, your commitment to learning and your resilience. By investing in future leaders and innovators, we continue to make a difference in the world and in our local communities. While we are aware of the challenges that lie ahead of us, we know that we cannot tackle them alone. STEM and manufacturing are careers for problem-solvers, outside-the-box thinkers and innovators. In 2020 alone, you have demonstrated that these traits are already within you, and Caterpillar is committed to helping you turn those traits into a thriving career.
In closing, as you keep adapting, learning and problem-solving, the Caterpillar Foundation will continue to do its part to help keep our communities safe, strong and resilient. Whether it’s helping to feed those who may not know where their next meal will come from, enabling online STEM education for disadvantaged youth impacted by school closures, or increasing access to vaccines across the globe, the Foundation is committed to helping our communities emerge from the pandemic stronger together. Together, we can solve the complex problems facing our world and strengthen the global community. Together, we are stronger.
Asha Varghese, Caterpillar Foundation President