Corporate Philanthropy: Tutor Corps and the Tutor Corps Foundation

Education is a funny business. Most educators do not become teachers for a big paycheck; they teach to help children. Yet, ironically, education in America has become extraordinarily expensive. Independent schools in major metro areas set tuition at over $40,000 per year and the U.S. spends more on college than almost any other country in the world. Individual tutoring costs can range from $25 an hour for a high school tutor to $500 per hour for a fancy SAT tutor in Manhattan. Tutor Corps strives to provide exceptional individualized instruction, while paying our tutors professional wages and still making our services accessible to a range of students.

I founded Tutor Corps in 2002 right after I finished my two year commitment with Teach for America (TFA). Through TFA, I developed my classroom teaching skills and learned about creating curriculum. This experience solidified my belief that all children deserve an excellent education. With Tutor Corps, I strove to create engaging curriculum for each student while applying my classroom experience to one-to-one education in the home. From this vision, Tutor Corps grew into an organization that employs 160 tutors across the Bay Area and Los Angeles, all of whom are committed to the academic success of their students. However, one of the problems with one-to-one education is that it is very expensive. As the educational landscape gets increasingly competitive, I think ALL students deserve a great education and starting the Tutor Corps Foundation enabled me to create a corporate philanthropy structure that provides opportunities to a much broader range of students.

The development of Tutor Corps and its sister non-profit 501(c)3, The Tutor Corps Foundation, set us apart in the education sector. Companies talk about donating a percentage of profits, but the Foundation is a much more tangible way for our tutors to get involved. For example, tutors have the opportunity to teach scholarship students and through our program they meet consistently with those students every week for the entire school year. Teachers are drawn to working with us because they can tutor for both Tutor Corps and the Tutor Corps Foundation. They can work with a diverse range of learners from different socio-economic groups.

Beyond offering scholarships, the Tutor Corps Foundation also provides a tremendous service learning opportunity for students. We offer kids community service grants to help make the world a better place. Students with more advantages learn meaningful ways that they can work to improve their local community. We are also able to partner with independent schools and provide discounted tutoring rates to their financial aid students. Finally, parents and community members can get involved by donating time and money to help us make sure that we offer these opportunities for all students. It is this company and community-based approach that helps us achieve our corporate philanthropy mission. Tutor Corps covers all administrative and management costs of the scholarship program so 100% of donations goes directly to providing tutoring services for the non-profit.

The symbiotic relationship of Tutor Corps and the Foundation demonstrates that we can balance corporate growth with a mission of serving a diverse population of learners. Focusing on corporate philanthropy means we may sacrifice some profits in the short term, but over the long term, our clients and customers know that we remain committed to exceptional individualized education for all students.

This article has been written by Jesse Roselin.