For the Greater Good: When Companies and Employees Serve Together

Gone are the days when for-profit companies viewed community engagement as signing a check. These days, community engagement in the for-profit world means days of service, fundraising events, and best of all, employee engagement. According to the 2016 Cone Communications Millennial Employee Engagement Study, 64 percent of millennials think about a potential employer’s social and environmental commitments before working there.

That’s good news for mentoring programs and corporations alike. One of the best Higher Achievement examples comes from our long-time partner, Bates White Economic Consulting.

For more than 13 years, Bates White has been an incredible supporter of Higher Achievement scholars. From providing scores of volunteer mentors to hosting firm-wide fundraising events and providing generous financial support of our programs, Bates White is an exemplary model of service. The firm has also been a top sponsor of the Going Places Gala for almost 10 years, and 4 Bates White employees currently serve in leadership positions on the DC Metro President’s Council.

This year, we highlight both the great work that Bates White is doing on behalf of Higher Achievement and one of their most dedicated and active employee mentors: Jack Hodapp, or “Mr. Jack.”

Mr. Jack started mentoring for Higher Achievement’s Ward 1 Achievement Center at Marie Reed in 2015 and has been committed to his scholars ever since. Jack writes “I viewed Higher Achievement as an opportunity to get involved and make a difference in my new community. Working with the same mentees year after year has made the program even more rewarding.”

With three years of mentoring experience under his belt, Jack felt he could do more. This year he serves as one of the key employee liaisons between the firm and Higher Achievement. Jack works with his fellow employees to host fun events throughout the year that specifically benefit Higher Achievement. His favorite is the Throwdown, an annual cooking competition between Bates White employees. This year alone the Throwdown raised close to $7,000 for Higher Achievement.

When asked why he is so committed to Higher Achievement, Mr. Jack says that in many ways his eager, inquisitive, soccer-loving scholars remind him of himself. “One of my favorite memories is from an election where two of my mentees gave speeches in front of the whole group. Both of them did an amazing job, and I was proud to see how much they had grown since I first started working with them.”

We are so grateful for Jack’s commitment to his scholars and for Bates White’s partnership in closing the opportunity gap for middle school students in the DC region.

If you or your company are interested in getting involved with Higher Achievement, please email Chris Perkins at