Five Minutes with Patty Nation, manager of global community relations at Xilinx

Silicon Valley Community Foundation enjoys partnerships with more than 40 corporate advised fund advisors, and each is unique in their approach to grantmaking and community/employee engagement. Xilinx established their fund at the community foundation in 2003 and today, is implementing several innovative programs targeting local communities. We spent a few minutes with Patty Nation, manager of global community relations at Xilinx, to learn more about their vision for 2008 and beyond.

Describe the mission and vision of Xilinx’s community relations work.
Xilinx is dedicated to making a difference in the global communities in which we operate by improving the quality of life through our partnerships, funding, volunteerism and employee sports/social activities. Our vision is to create global teams and programs which consist of recreation activities and charitable giving that sets the standard for providing systemic change and measurable results.

What is the focus of Xilinx’s strategic giving program? 
We are very proud of the Educational Ecosystem, Xilinx’s anchor giving and community outreach program, launched in January 2007. The program goals are twofold:

  1. Build relationships through funding and service, between Xilinx, schools and community partners—and as a result,
  2. Increase student achievement in targeted areas including education, community and social, health and the arts.

The Educational Ecosystem model is successful because it connects Xilinx to local elementary, middle and high schools to increase student achievement and support overall student success. Xilinx supports these programs with grant money, but also through connecting them with one another and with our employees.  By convening principals, teachers, parents and local nonprofit service providers, we build reciprocal relationships and create a venue where these partners can share resources and ideas.  

Xilinx values employee volunteerism and allows employees to volunteer up to 20 hours per year with a manager’s approval. Employees are encouraged to participate in the work of the Educational Ecosystem and contribute to and learn from our community partners.

Who are your community partners?
Silicon Valley Community Foundation has been a key partner for us in developing the Educational Ecosystem program and getting it off the ground. We also partner with several schools in San José near the Xilinx corporate headquarters. Key nonprofit partners include Junior Achievement, Almaden Valley Counseling, RAFT – Resource Area for Teachers, PCA – Positive Coaching Alliance, YSI – Youth Science Institute and TheatreWorks.

What is on the horizon for 2008?
We will continue to implement a three to five year strategy to support education that makes an impact and is able to be replicated globally—similar to a franchise model.  In progress is the development of a program or event that brings in revenue in order to establish a scholarship fund for students that have participated in the Educational Ecosystem and need assistance for higher education costs. Our long term objective is for these select students to become part of our Xilinx internship and new college graduate programs.

For more details about the Educational Ecosystem check out the Xilinx web site.