HSBC and City Year are celebrating the announcement of their national partnership on Pi Day. HSBC’s investment will provide critical support to students and support the implementation of an industry-proven process for measuring City Year's effectiveness with students, while pinpointing individual instructional needs. Through HSBC’s support, City Year will be able to more effectively identify new math assessment tools and scale them to all 27 cities and school districts in which City Year serves. 

City Year interviewed Kelly Fisher, Senior Vice President and U.S. Head of Corporate Sustainability at HSBC, about HSBC’s corporate citizenship commitment, investment in City Year and why Pi Day is important.  

How is HSBC celebrating Pi Day and why is that relevant to your partnership with City Year?

We’re so excited to celebrate Pi Day with City Year! Math skills are indispensable for young people, as they build critical thinking skills and prepare to compete in the 21st century job market, at companies like HSBC.  We loved the idea of devoting an entire holiday to raising that awareness.  

Pi (3.14) is the symbol used in mathematics to represent a constant and that’s what inspires HSBC to partner with City Year – we feel that City Year AmeriCorps members truly provide the much needed constant force in these students’ daily lives in some of our highest-need schools across the country.  

That’s also why HSBC is excited to announce the expansion of our partnership with City Year on Pi Day.  We are making a three-year $1.5 million commitment to help City Year promote math education and to test and scale an essential math assessment to enable City Year to more effectively measure student improvement.

Why is partnering with City Year a good fit for HSBC?

In 2015, HSBC celebrated our 150th anniversary as a company.  The only way we see ourselves as sustainable for another 150 years is if we continue our legacy of investing in both the communities where we do business and in the minds of the young people who will drive our company’s future and the future of the global economy.

That’s why we marked the occasion by making an additional $150 million investment in organizations making a significant impact in communities around the world – and we empowered our employees to tell us the areas and causes they felt were the most critical to their communities.

Education was clearly at the top of the list. We had already seen the impact City Year was having in high-need schools in our own backyard in New York through our local partnership, so we knew that City Year was the right partner to help us deliver even greater impact in communities across the U.S.

Why is investing in the standardization of City Year’s math assessments important to HSBC?

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) recently released the results from a study conducted with adults in 24 countries on basic “numeracy” skills – and the United States placed a dismal 22nd. We believe that math skills are critical for enabling youth to succeed, we see this every day at HSBC. We also believe that the City Year model of consistent, hands-on supports to students works. So we felt like we were uniquely positioned as a company to help City Year more effectively measure student math performance – ensuring they are able to provide the right interventions to the right students at the right time.  One of the values that City Year and HSBC share is a desire to constantly improve, and having the opportunity to test and scale successful approaches like this one allows that to happen in an informed and constructive way.  

What has been most exciting for you in deepening and expanding your partnership with City Year this year in LA, Chicago and Miami, in addition to New York?

Whether it’s conducting mock interviews, holding a career panel or discussing financial literacy, HSBC employees have a huge appreciation for the work that City Year AmeriCorps members do, and a commitment to supporting them. We’ll be using Pi Day as an opportunity to share City Year’s good work with customers across our expanded partnership by distributing youth math activity worksheets at HSBC USA Bank branches.  

In celebration of Pi Day, who has been a constant in your life and how has that inspired your career?

When I started looking for a job after college, I didn’t know there was any such thing as a career in Corporate Social Responsibility or Employee Engagement.  Thankfully, I interviewed for a job with someone who cared more about potential than “real world experience” and asked questions that brought out my lifelong history and passion for giving back.  She took a chance on me and, essentially, opened the door to a career path that changed my entire life.

I was also fortunate enough to grow up with parents who always emphasized how grateful I should be to have the basic necessities in life and that it is everyone’s responsibility to help those who are not as fortunate.  It’s funny, but they raised me from a young age to see that the world wasn’t always fair but that didn’t mean I had to accept it that way. That’s why it has been so fulfilling for me to share my personal journey with City Year AmeriCorps members and support leadership development opportunities for those I believe will be the next generation of civic leaders.     

As you have seen City Year’s work first hand and had the chance to meet City Year AmeriCorps members this past year, what is one thing that you have learned or one thing that surprised you?

Whenever I have the chance to meet an AmeriCorps member and see their work firsthand, I jump at the opportunity. They are always such smart, dedicated, humble and optimistic people.  I can only imagine the incredible impact they have on the students in the schools if they leave that kind of impression on me after one meeting!

What is one thing you hope people take away from HSBC and City Year’s celebration of Pi Day?

Math is important! Do one thing today to celebrate it.  Express your thanks to organizations helping to improve math skills in the U.S., and share the idea with others in person and on social media!  Be sure to use #HSBCcares and #CYPiDay.

Learn more about HSBC and City Year’s national partnership at www.cityyear.org/HSBC


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