The 2016 Excellence in Social & Community Investment Awards: IBB Consulting

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IBB Consulting

Type of Work: Employee-Motivated Volunteer Project Client: Developments in Literacy

Pakistan has many challenges when it comes to educating its children, and IBB Consulting Group wanted to do something about it. So last year, IBB employees approached company leadership with an innovative way to contribute to youth education initiatives in countries that need it the most. Pakistan is the second worst performing country when it comes to percentage of students in school. The IBB team proposed an international fundraiser, a “Climb for Kids” that would generate funds to support a 116-student school in Pakistan for one year.

Philadelphia-based IBB Consulting has a long-standing relationship with Developments in Literacy and the Jattal School in Pakistan.

“Every year, we take a look at what’s going on and we noticed that the last few years retention was starting to become a problem,” says Jefferson Wang, a Senior Partner at IBB. “So, we were able to identify that the school simply didn’t have the financial resources it needed so we decided to raise the money that they’d need to run these programs.”

The employees proposed an ambitious—out of the box—challenge to drive awareness of to the DIL and Jattal School. The goal was to raise enough to fund the school for a year.

“As a firm, we always think outside the box and we always think big,” says Dr. Imran Shah, co-founder and Managing Partner of IBB. “I think both of those are true with this latest challenge.

I think that just might be a little bit of an understatement.

The IBB employees set a pretty ambitious goal—to climb the largest freestanding mountain in the world: Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, Africa. By climbing a mountain in Africa, for students in Pakistan, the Climb for Kids would be able to generate awareness for education inequality in both countries.

“We wanted to make sure they had a big enough mountain to climb, and I’d say we achieved that,” Wang says. “The hope was that we also would raise enough awareness. If you’re willing to go to Africa and climb the highest mountain in the world, what’s the cause? As a firm, we always try to punch above our weight class, and I think we found yet another way to do this.”

And, according to Shah, even though the entire firm didn’t participate in the climb, the passion of the extraordinary effort was felt across the entire firm.

“It became a big rallying cry—the planning meeting, the training hikes, the trip really brought us together as a firm,” Shah says. “There’s a saying that goes: the more you give the more you receive. This was certainly true in our case. I’m sure IBB got as much, or even more, out of it than the Jattal School even did.”

But the Jattal School got plenty out of it, too. In the end, IBB far exceeded its goal of funding the school for a year. Climb for Kids ended up raising enough to fund the school for two-and-half years.

“As a firm, we’ve always focused our outside efforts on education and we like to choose partners where we know we can make a difference,” Shah says. “This is the case with both DIL and the Jattal School. The best dollars you can spend in third-world countries is on the education of females.”

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