Washington, D.C. – June 9, 2022 – The Barbara Bush Foundation is pleased to announce the relaunch of its Corporate Advisory Council, with founding members representing some of the nation’s leading corporations in the finance, energy, health, retail and telecommunications sectors.
The Council will convene corporate leaders from across the United States, leveraging their business expertise and networks to expand corporate engagement in literacy issues and serve as key advisors. Members of the newly relaunched council are AT&T, Bessemer Trust, ConocoPhillips, Dollar General, Humana, Intel and Vertical Bridge.
“Our founder, Barbara Bush, established the original Corporate Advisory Council more than 30 years ago, calling on the nation’s top business leaders to contribute their expertise to the cause of literacy,” said British A. Robinson, President and CEO of the Barbara Bush Foundation. “We believe that the corporate sector has a key role to play in solving our nation’s literacy challenge, which is directly linked to economic growth, social mobility and workforce readiness. We believe that Mrs. Bush would be proud to see the Council relaunched with this remarkable group of companies, and we look forward to bringing more corporate partners into this vital work.”
Council members representing the seven participating organizations shared their views on the importance of corporate engagement in adult literacy and education initiatives.
“At AT&T, we’re passionate about literacy, digital inclusion and providing solutions that give people the skills, resources and opportunities for success,” said Rick Welday, Executive Vice President and General Manager – Enterprise Markets for AT&T. “Our collaboration with the Barbara Bush Foundation reflects our ongoing commitment to bridge the digital divide and make a meaningful impact in the communities we serve.”
“Literacy is at the core of a skilled workforce, a key driver of economic development and success,” said Walter Montaigne, Senior Client Advisor at Bessemer Trust. “Today’s corporate leaders have a responsibility to support literacy programs, empowering adults to participate in the workforce and equipping them with financial literacy skills to make responsible financial decisions. I’m pleased to join this esteemed group in providing industry insights to support the important work of the Barbara Bush Foundation.”
“Helping adults gain literacy skills allows them to take part in the world around them and reach their full potential as parents, community members and employees,” said Andrew Lundquist, Senior Vice President for Government Affairs for ConocoPhillips. “I’m proud to be part of the Barbara Bush Foundation’s legacy, closing the literacy gap and strengthening families, communities and businesses across the United States.”
“As we work to increase access to opportunities and advance equity, the conversation around adult literacy needs to be elevated. High-quality, accessible adult literacy support is essential to ensuring strong families, businesses and communities across the country,” said Denine Torr, Vice President of Corporate Social Responsibility & Philanthropy at Dollar General and Barbara Bush Foundation board member. “Dollar General has been investing in literacy and education programs for nearly 30 years. We are excited about the increased impact we can have by coming together to create change and are honored to serve on the Corporate Advisory Council.”
“Literacy must be treated as a social determinant of health that threatens wellness and stands in the way of health equity. At Humana, we are co-creating solutions to address literacy, health literacy and other social drivers that impact equitable health. We are learning to speak health equity as a first language and equipping our associates, members, patients and communities with tools to improve health literacy. If we are intentional and consumer-centered in our approaches, we will definitely make progress in ensuring that low literacy or low health literacy do not impede anyone’s ability to achieve their best health,” said Dr. Nwando Olayiwola, Chief Health Equity Officer and Senior Vice President at Humana.
“Literacy and digital literacy skills are key enablers to closing the digital divide,” said Daniel Gutwein, Director, N50 Project and Education Vertical IoT for Intel. “I’m excited to partner with the Barbara Bush Foundation to help close the participation gap in the digital world for an estimated 3.8 billion people.”
“I’m honored to serve on the Corporate Advisory Council with key leaders to address America’s literacy challenge and work to empower students, adults and families with the opportunity to succeed. Through increased investments in digital infrastructure and greater access to devices, we can take the first steps to resolving the digital divide and closing the literacy gap,” said Dan Marinberg, Senior Vice President and General Counsel at Vertical Bridge. “Access alone cannot solve the divide – we must address the barriers and bring new and diverse voices to the table – to acknowledge literacy as a fundamental human right.”
About the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy: The Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy has been the nation’s leading advocate for family literacy for more than three decades. Established by former First Lady Barbara Bush in 1989, the Foundation is a public charity dedicated to creating a stronger, more equitable America in which everyone can read, write and comprehend in order to navigate the world with dignity. To learn more, visit www.BarbaraBush.org.