At Salesforce, we’re committed to making a meaningful impact in our communities and are always looking for ways to partner with like-minded organizations. We recognize that together we can accomplish so much more and continue to work to create a more fair and equitable world. These partnerships build on one another and grow, gathering momentum by inspiring change in organizations around the globe. When we first met Mike Hess, founder and executive director of the Blind Institute of Technology (BIT), we knew we found such a partner.
Hess founded BIT after a 20-year tech career, hoping to help increase employment for the blind and vision-impaired (BVI) community. We’ve worked with his team for nearly two years training members of the BVI community to become Salesforce admins, so they can skill up for successful careers and carry forward our commitment to the community
BIT was already making inroads in the BVI community by helping people gain the skills they needed to become Salesforce admins. Our Office of Accessibility was thrilled to partner with the organization to help the BVI community skill up and make an impact. As graduates of BIT’s Salesforce Admin Certification Prep course started gaining real-world experience, we saw an opportunity to connect them with non-profits to put their skills to the test. It was a win-win: the admins could put what they learned into practice, and local organizations benefited from their expertise.
A Mission in Morocco
One of these organizations was a Morocco-based non-profit called Project Soar, which “works to empower adolescent girls, providing programs that help [them] understand their value, voice, body, rights, and path.”
“What BIT has told us they love about working with Project Soar is the amazing mission,” said Jenna Lacey, a Project Soar development coordinator based in Morocco.
“Our beneficiaries are teen girls from marginalized, typically rural, communities. Our main goal is to combat child marriage, and we have a big human rights focus. Our curriculum helps make girls more confident and aware of the things they have a right to.”
Project Soar had unique needs for their Salesforce platform, including the ability to track and measure profile and survey data of the girls it serves (mostly 13 to 18 years old), support multiple languages, and help support easy and accurate data entry.
Its leaders knew they needed help administering Salesforce to meet these goals, but they didn’t know at the time the impact their work would have. By the end of its partnership with BIT, Project Soar had not only an organized and well-oiled Salesforce program, but also a comprehensive dashboard that allowed it to track, aggregate, and report on important impact data.
Teaching Girls to Know Their Value
In Morocco, girls historically aren’t taught that they are equal to boys. Project Soar aims to break those barriers and help girls understand that they are equally capable and have just as bright of futures as their male classmates.
As girls enter the Project Soar program, they complete a baseline survey to give Project Soar staff a sense of their current frame of mind and understanding of their own capacities and potential. Then, throughout the year-long program, consisting of 25 workshops, they receive an education on everything from their right to be free from violence to understanding what career opportunities are available to them. By the end of the program, the goal is to ensure the girls know they are capable, smart, and strong and can accomplish anything. As they graduate from the program, girls complete an online survey with the same questions, and their answers are recorded in Salesforce.
“As a small non-profit organization, any time we can get back in our day means more impact, period,” said Tess Dunn, program manager at Project Soar. “And if we‘re able to get impact data from these programs, we can show the Moroccan government that they can invest in something like this and change girls’ lives all over the country.”
By partnering with organizations such as BIT and through Project Soar, we have the honor of seeing the ripple effect that passion for a community and cause can have—which BIT’s Hess refers to as the “virtuous circle.”
“At its heart, our mission is to leverage Salesforce as a vehicle to empower a super marginalized community,” said Hess. “To say I’m a fan of Salesforce and the work we’re doing is an understatement.”
Thomas Frantz is the senior manager of Accessibility Partnerships and PR at Salesforce, an InclusionHub Founding Partner.