Nike School Innovation

A great story of deep community involvement by a company is the Nike School Innovation Fund. Launched in 2007 with the goal of spurring education innovation in three Oregon public school districts—Beaverton, Hillsboro and Portland—NSIF provides Early Learner Grants (supporting prekindergarten through first grade), Leadership Grants (for teacher and administrators, where Nike executives share expertise), and Cross-District grants that help the districts work on common issues together.

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Weinstein Public Relations was asked to develop NSIF’s website and write an annual report summarizing its key accomplishments. We are big believers in organizations telling their own stories using their own media, and the NSIF website and annual report were perfect places to do this work. On the website’s homepage we created a blog roll that auto-generates an email to subscribers whenever NSIF news is announced. For the website and the annual report, we’ve told stories from the field—the classrooms and school districts, as well as the Nike leaders who volunteered their time—to keep the conversation going about how to support and improve student achievement. We have also done public relations focusing on local media to tell NSIF’s stories.

But the real success of NSIF is the outcome of its programs over the last five years. A nod from the White House came last summer, when Nike was among four companies recognized in Washington at an education roundtable with business leaders and administration officials. And when WPR attended an Early Learner program at Walker Elementary in Beaverton, it was amazing to watch the work being done by teachers who seemed truly engaged with their vibrant, curious students.