Why We Need to Take Action

Education, science, and culture (ESC) are vital for a thriving economy and society. However, in the United States, ESC institutions are in crisis. Consider:

  • U.S. high school students rank 24th in science, and 38th in math globally

  • Skills shortages in STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) are reaching crisis levels for a growing range of industries,

  • Billions in funding cuts have been proposed for a wide range of government agencies and organizations supporting the arts, humanities, education, and science, and

  • The United States has decided to formally withdraw from UNESCO, weakening our ability to connect with global education, science, and culture networks.

For business, this growing crisis has the potential to affect competitiveness, innovation, productivity, sales, stability and business continuity, and the bottom line.

A number of companies have taken leadership in supporting STEAM programs, but more needs to be done. Business action is necessary to mobilize demand for ESC. We need to learn how other countries have built up cultures that support ESC. We need to scale-up what works. We need to mobilize people, leverage relationships, and build support from the bottom up as well as the top down.

ESCBN is an “Action Tank” that will:

  • Launch a campaign called #ESCMatters to mobilize individuals, communities, and leading institutions to support and advance ESC

  • Pilot initiatives that leverage business expertise, tools, resources, and employee engagement to make communities centers of excellence in advancing ESC

  • Research good practices and advance the business case for ESC

  • Advocate for leaders to support ESC through policies and the allocation of resources

  • Create relationships and partnerships with U.S. and international ESC-networks to share knowledge and learn from best practices.


2018 Work Streams of ESCBN

Work Stream #1: #ESCMatters Public Awareness Campaign

  • Participate in a public awareness campaign to mobilize support for education, science, and culture. This campaign will work at multiple levels targeting youth, encouraging academic leaders, building up capacity and support for ESC civil society organizations, and showing government officials and public policy leaders that there is a broad base of support for ESC across the United States.

Work Stream #2: Building the Business Case; Project ROI for ESC Support

  • The ISD research team will work with ESCBN members to develop the business case for ESC, and capture effective corporate citizenship programs that are moving the needle. This research is based on the IO Sustainability “Project ROI” methodology of aggregating existing data, and vetting it against the real-life experience of ESCBN members.

Work Stream #3: Direct Action to Build Up ESC Organizations

  • There are many communities across the U.S. that face either chronic ESC stresses or sudden shocks due to disasters. Many companies find taking on individual cases to be one of the best ways that they can move the needle, engage employees and see tangible results. ESCBN members have the opportunity to deploy employees to conduct needs assessments, participate in design and project meetings, and identify and develop projects to solve particular challenges.

Work Stream #4: Learning and Information Sharing

  • Members will have the opportunity to share information and learn from each other and key ESC-stakeholders in civil society via regular conference calls and briefings. Seminars and conferences will facilitate stakeholder dialogues and exchange between the business community and ESC-experts from inside and outside the U.S. , including multilateral organizations. The ethos of the ESCBN is to avoid reinventing the wheel, but to learn from experts in their respective fields in the U.S. and around the world.



Member companies will join a network of leading corporate citizens dedicated to collectively advance and benefit from the projects ESCBN advances. ESCBN members will:

  • Participate in ESCBN’s key projects (described below)

  • Will have access to key lessons learned and valuable market data

  • Participate in delegation trips overseas and to ESC hot spots in the U.S.

  • Participate in volunteer and technical assistance opportunities

  • Share insights, needs, and opportunities

  • Leverage their ESC programs

  • Gain access to relationships with leading education, science, and cultural icons and thought leaders

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