Making a difference to the communities in which we operate is the foundation of our corporate citizenship activity. As in prior years, 2021 showed the value of the principle of skills-based volunteering - an approach which leverages the talent and commitment of our people. Meanwhile creating an inclusive culture where all our people achieve their potential is part of who we are at KPMG. Karina Howley, Head of Corporate Citizenship at KPMG, looks back at just some of our initiatives in a busy year.
In January we were delighted to support the launch of the 13th cycle of Going for Growth and the work they do in enabling Ireland’s female entrepreneurs to realise their ambitions. Attendees were welcomed by Julie Sinnamon the then CEO of Enterprise Ireland and KPMG’s Olivia Lynch. Speaking to the latest cohort of Going for Growth participants, Olivia highlighted the value ensuring Irish women are encouraged and supported in their business endeavours.
In March we celebrated International Women’s Day with 'Choose to Challenge’ as our theme'. We were particularly enthused to host a special Executive Speaker Series for our own teams featuring the inspirational Cork born US editor of Glamour Samantha Barry who shared her insights into women in business and changing careers. In Belfast we partnered with the Institute of Directors on their Women’s Leadership Conference – keynote speakers included Nagin Cox, Systems Engineer, NASA and environmental activist Erin Brockovich.
Later in the month, KPMG colleagues from Ireland and across the globe marked International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. KPMG’s Kristine Remedios sat down with Emmanuel Acho, New York Times bestselling author and Host of Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man, to discuss racial equity. The virtual event also featured our global leaders talking about their ongoing commitment to addressing all forms of racism and discrimination.
We’re committed to being net carbon zero by 2030, and in addition to being one of Irelands leading advisors on sustainability via our Sustainable Futures team, we also committed to working with our own people to help make a difference.
With this in mind, in April we invited the UselessProject to explore with our own teams simple and effective ways to of reducing our individual impact on our planet.
In May we celebrated one of our favourite events – The KPMG Children’s Books Ireland Awards. The awards honour and promote excellence in books for young people by Irish authors and illustrators and offer a significant opportunity for national and international recognition of Irish talent.
Ahead of the awards, 16 of our volunteers were busy completing activities to help out this year’s Junior Juries ahead of the KPMG Children’s Books Ireland Awards. The Junior Juries Award is selected by children from all over Ireland who read and judge the shortlisted books. Check out our volunteers in action here.
Meanwhile Oisin Callaghan, age 7 from Galway was the winner of our Reading Heroes competition – our thanks to all the young readers who took part. We had a huge response from book lovers across Ireland and we’re proud to reinforce KPMG’s commitment to literacy and our passion for learning.
Pride at KPMG
Being inclusive enables us to bring together successful teams with the broadest range of skills, experiences and ways of working. In June we celebrated Pride Week in Dublin including some great personal story videos from a range of colleagues speaking about diversity and what it means for them.
We then celebrated Cork Pride week in July. Our programme included an interview, hosted by KPMG’s Lee McSweeney, with local entrepreneur and founder of Sweet King, Nathan Adams who shared his personal reflections of Cork Pride and the importance of diversity and inclusion in his own business and we partnered with the Cork Pride Festival to support their Diversity and inclusion conference, held in association with IBEC.
Meanwhile, in August we also celebrated Pride Week in Belfast which included a fundraiser for with all proceeds going to Cara-Friend's LGBTQ+ Inclusive Schools' Charter.
Free To Be Me
The Diversity, Inclusion and Representation project
As autumn arrived, in September KPMG and Children’s Books Ireland launched the Free To Be Me: The Diversity, Inclusion and Representation project. It showcases the rich diversity of modern Ireland and aims to ensure that every child can see themselves reflected in a book, as well as learning about others whose experiences and perspectives may differ from their own.
The Free To Be Me reading guide contains over 360 book recommendations and our volunteers visited local schools to build excitement about the project, leading creative workshops and giving each school a Little Library of 100 books from the guide. Find out more about the project here.
Junior Achievement Ireland
September also saw recognition for 25 KPMG volunteers who completed education programmes with Junior Achievement Ireland. The volunteers helped prepare young people for their futures through virtual learning initiatives. Well done to all the volunteers who worked with almost 500 students in 14 schools across Ireland. Check out this video to see how our volunteers have been making a difference.
Helping keep kids safe
KPMG Global Cyber Day
In October, we marked KPMG Global Cyber Day in a number of our partner schools. Experts from our Cyber Security teams hosted workshops in schools across Ireland to educate young people about the importance of cyber security. Cybercrime is on the rise, and unfortunately, young people are the most vulnerable. The workshops are aimed at children aged 7-10 and our tailored curriculum teaches valuable lessons about how to stay safe online and how to protect personal data
KPMG supporting the UNICEF Corporate Vaccine Alliance
The UNICEF Corporate Vaccine Alliance has the ambitious goal of over two billion COVID-19 vaccines by the end of 2021 and during the autumn, our people donated through payroll giving and the firm matched those donations, which helped to fund vaccinates for over 11,000 healthcare workers in developing countries.
Concluding the year, in December we were delighted to again partner with Children’s Books Ireland to deliver the joy of reading at Christmas by gifting 4,500 books to children in Ireland experiencing hardship. With the help of charity partners – including Barnardo’s, Children in Hospital, The Peter McVerry Trust and St. Vincent de Paul – the books were delivered to 33 locations across Ireland reaching children and families in homelessness services, hospitals, Direct Provision centres and Traveller communities just in time for Christmas.
Looking ahead to 2022
These are just some of the programmes we have supported in 2021 – others included working with YMCA, Time to Count, Time to Read, EPIC mentoring, placing our people on not-for-profit boards through Boardmatch, our two-year mentoring programme with CBS Westland Row in Dublin, Doodle Dens, our charity walk in aid of Jigsaw – the list goes on!
While there was a lot of uncertainty with the pandemic still affecting us all, our KPMG people have again generously given of their time to help support people in-need and deserving causes throughout the year. We look forward to 2022 and a brighter future as we continue to work with our wonderful partner organisations to continue the momentum built to date.