May 05, 2020
UNT Dallas and Y Texas logo

Seven UNT Dallas students are leading a project designed to highlight Texas companies that are making a positive social impact during the COVID-19 crisis.

While the students are learning remotely due to the COVID-19 crisis, they are working on the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Tracker. The project identifies Texas companies that have made a “good deed” contribution to help society during the COVID-19 pandemic. Good deeds include corporate donations of time, money or expertise.

The project was created by the YTexas Foundation, which focuses on supporting workforce development initiatives in Texas. YTexas has partnered with UNT Dallas to form a Leadership Academy that provides mentors to primarily first-generation college students. The academy exposes students to real-world business experience, and provides a professional network as a resource after graduation. 

The students involved in the project are all enrolled at UNT Dallas through the Dallas County Promise program. They include: Katherine Cadena (project manager), Daniel Akwei, Victoria Summerville, Juwon Grant, Arayon Washington, Mirca Benitez Salmeron and Vanessa Penaloza. This group will compile the information and present their findings at the end of September. 

The project serves a dual purpose. It will recognize the many examples of corporate goodwill from across the state, such as HKS in Dallas using its expertise to help convert hotels into hospitals; Ironroot Republic Distillery in Denison making hand sanitizer out of whisky; and HEB donating $3 million to San Antonio nonprofit organizations. 

This experience will also give students a greater understanding of the role that businesses, large and small, can play in their communities.

"Students learn about corporate social responsibility in school,” said Ed Curtis, CEO of YTexas. “This project will show them first-hand what it means and how it is accomplished."

Cadena, the student project manager, said she is passionate about leading the CSR Tracker project.

"When I graduate, I want to be a nonprofit manager, and the research involved with this project is opening my eyes and furthering my interest in nonprofit management,” Cadena said. “Nonprofit organizations throughout Texas need to play a major role in turning around the economy. They will not be able to do it without the help of corporate partners.  Recognizing the goodwill of those corporate partners is our way of showing appreciation for their work, and how we as future leaders are looking to follow in their footsteps."

The students will solicit stories of corporate goodwill from the community through social media outreach. The project will continue through the third quarter of this year and will be presented in print and digital formats.

“Whether you’re donating millions of dollars or a few hours of your time, our goal is to identify all of the good deeds that corporate partners are providing,” Cadena said. “Without them, it will be much more difficult to get through this challenging period.”

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