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The power of serving others

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Matt Fawcett

When asked how he defined the essence of life, the Greek philosopher Aristotle replied, “To serve others and do good.”  

At NetApp, caring for each other and our communities is one of our core values. Our social impact program, NetApp Serves, empowers our colleagues to volunteer their time and talents to help others through matching donations and paid time off.  

There are so many amazing ways our employees have gone above and beyond throughout the summer to give back. I’m excited to shine a light on some of this good work, which inspires us all.    

Closing the digital divide

There is a wide gap between those with access to technology and those without. As we prepare to celebrate NetApp’s 30th year as a global innovator, we know how crucial it is to help close this digital divide to create more opportunities and expand the possibilities.

The ability to understand and work with data is more important than ever, especially for our young people as they learn, grow and prepare for the plethora of challenges that await them in the future. Unfortunately, most classroom and learning experiences today are not adequately teaching critical data literacy concepts and skills.

At NetApp, we believe that data fluency is not only important for the future of our youth to thrive in fast-changing careers, but it is vital for the future of the world for them to have the skillsets and creative thinking to tackle our greatest social and environmental challenges. Our program, NetApp Data Explorers, works with educators to empower students to discover and develop critical data science skills, preparing them to thrive in a data-driven world.

Our employees volunteer to work with the students in this program to help bring data learning experiences to more under-represented students in underserved communities across the globe. As an example, over the past two years, NetApp employees have volunteered with nonprofit partners in Rwanda, Ghana, Kenya, and India to create and distribute digital curriculum tools to teachers. Together, nearly 70 employees have volunteered over 3,100 hours supporting educators to help foster an interest in STEM learning, particularly among girls. This summer 634 students participated in the Data Explorers program—an incredible impact—and we look forward to growing this initiative.

We support building a world where everyone has access to equal opportunity, and we appreciate our colleagues who devote their time and effort toward this goal and the teachers who work tirelessly for their students.

Fighting food insecurity

“Where will my next meal come from?” That scary and heart-breaking question is a daily fact of life for so many people in almost every country around the world.  

In July 2022, NetApp Serves and NetApp’s Employee Business Resource Groups joined forces 100 strong to help students facing food insecurity across the United States by packaging over 30,000 meals in one week. Those unable to attend in-person events came together from around the globe via Zoom to learn about food insecurity through a simulation hosted by the Atlanta Food Bank.  

We can all help by supporting our local food banks and pantries through donations and volunteering. As our leader George Kurian says, “Even the simplest act of support or service can have a tremendous impact on an individual or society at large.” Learn more about how you can help

Environmental efforts

A healthy environment is crucial to every one of us, no matter where we live or what we do. At NetApp, we have elevated environmental oversight as a board-level priority, and our annual Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) report details our work toward sustainability.  

Meanwhile, at the grassroots level, colleagues in Bangalore participated in two events commemorating World Environment Week. One group from NetApp helped local school children create more than 1,200 seed balls to plant, in order to increase green cover throughout their neighborhoods. In another event, colleagues helped clean up Lake Nallurahalli, near Bangalore, by collecting over 50 kg (110 lb) of trash. A clean environment benefits us all, and we salute those who are doing their part and more to help leave a better world for the next generation.

Supporting students

The future of the technology industry depends on fostering interest in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). NetApp works on many levels to encourage change through education, mentoring, and career programs. But some resource-challenged families can’t afford essential school supplies, which becomes an unnecessary impediment to learning. 

In August 2022, NetApp Serves supported three organizations in the San Francisco Bay Area by distributing more than 30,000 backpacks with school supplies for students. Acting locally is often the best way we can all make a measurable impact. 

Take action!

Beyond the obvious direct contributions our colleagues are making around the world, there are personal mental health benefits to volunteering, including elevating moods, reducing stress, and increasing happiness.  

If you are considering volunteering, thank you! I hope you will take the next step and reach out to an organization that calls to you to find out how you can assist. I’m sure you will receive a warm welcome.  

We are all in this together—and collectively we can make a difference.  

Matt Fawcett

Matthew Fawcett is NetApp’s chief strategy officer, leading NetApp’s corporate strategy, corporate development, and government relations functions. He and his organization are routinely recognized for leadership at the intersections of innovation, technology, and law. Throughout his career, Matt has advised leading technology companies on a variety of issues, including mergers and acquisitions, intellectual property, and corporate matters.

Prior to joining NetApp, Matt served as the senior vice president and general counsel of JDS Uniphase Corporation, and before that he was in private practice. Matt holds a bachelor’s degree in rhetoric from the University of California, Berkeley and a JD from UCLA.

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