Year in Review: ACE’s First Year as a B Corp


December 18, 2017

Christine Dickson

Christine Dickson

Content Marketing Manager

For KK Byland, American College of Education’s human resources director and benefits officer, being a change-maker means taking advantage of opportunities to give back or pay it forward, making a difference where you can, and–potentially–changing the course of someone’s life.

With those goalposts in mind, she led the charge for ACE to become the first and only Certified B Corp and Benefit Corporation in the state of Indiana in late fall of 2016. In its inaugural year as a member of the B Corp movement–a crusade to redefine corporate success through the lens of corporate social responsibility–ACE has:

  • Logged 317 individual civic hours;
  • Tallied 12 group civic hours;
  • Marched 911 Charity Miles for Team Red, White & Blue (Team RWB), a nonprofit dedicated to reconnecting veterans to their communities;
  • Donated 715-plus toiletries and more than 20 pounds of pop tabs to Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC);
  • Given $7,628 in matching donations to myriad organizations, including the Salvation Army following Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria;
  • Allocated $125,000 to the college’s nonprofit partners (School Tools, Treasures 4 Teachers, Kids in Need, Teachers’ Treasures, Kappa Delta Pi, A Gift for Teaching, and World Vision) which collectively benefit more than 5 million students.

ACE donates supplies to School Tools

“It’s an honor to be able to make the partnerships that we have and know that we’re touching individual lives in ways that we’ll probably never know,” Byland said, but “it’s our duty in a way. We’ve helped out before and, if we have a continuous opportunity to maintain that contribution, we should. It’s important, I think it’s worthy, and we know the need is always there.”

And just as ACE has taken care to monitor community needs, the college has also worked to make employees feel seen, instituting initiatives like paid parking for office employees, civic hours, paid parental leave, and employee referral bonuses.

Reflecting on the college’s strides in uplifting employees and local communities, Byland said “it feels good to be a part of an organization that values that and places that as a high priority.”

So, what does 2018 look like for the college?

“We do an employee engagement survey each year,” Byland began, celebrating the bump to 94 percent satisfaction among ACE staff and faculty before teasing, “We’ve listened to suggestions about ways to improve employee benefits and one of the most asked-for benefits is going to be implemented in 2018. I’m doing a coffee chat in January and it will be unveiled then.”

American College of Education staff volunteering at a local community garden

As for broader college initiatives, she shared that the idea of incorporating corporate social responsibility, or CSR, into curriculum has been broached. It’s a timely conversation as Byland said the subject dominated the 2017 B Corp Champions Retreat in Toronto.

“A lot of schools are beginning to implement CSR into their curriculum…and that’s a great opportunity for ACE to be a leader, because we’ve already checked the boxes on so many things.”

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