When XPLANE re-emerged as an independent company in 2012, one of the decisions the leadership team made was to allocate five percent of annual revenue to a fund that is dedicated to supporting social good projects. As a company with a long history of working with Fortune 500 companies, it was not uncommon to have to turn down potential collaborations with organizations that might have had a great cause but small budget. With the new social good fund established, XPLANE’s Board of Directors is now identifying one or more projects to support each year. Organizations selected have missions and values consistent with those of XPLANE and goals that we can directly impact. In 2013, the two organizations chosen are Portland-based Pacific Northwest College of Art and Connect to Learn, a global organization that operates in Africa and South America.

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Connect to Learn was founded as a non-profit public-private collaboration by the Earth Institute, Ericsson, and Millennium Promise, and is focused on offering scholarships for girls to receive secondary education, and providing the schools they attend with wireless Internet connectivity.

As a social good partner in 2013, Connect to Learn is working with XPLANE to clarify its vision, define a strategy and design the organization in such a way that it is prepared to scale to meet the growing needs of girls worldwide. XPLANE is providing consulting and communication support. Today, Connect to Learn serves 725 girls in 25 schools across 10 African countries. Making technology available to girls is integral to the Connect to Learn mission and, by furthering the availability of such advancements, the organization is poised to reach its goal of serving upwards of 100,000 students by 2020.

In February, XPLANE CEO Aric Wood visited Senegal to gain first-hand experience of Connect to Learn’s educational impact on girls in the area’s Millennium Villages. While there, Aric began facilitating the strategic development of the organization’s 2020 vision with its advisory board, staff, and Executive Director Kara Nichols. The experience was both productive and impactful, strengthening our commitment to supporting such an amazing organization and the girls it benefits. As the year progresses we will be providing updates on our work together.