We are inspired by the long-standing commitment of Credit Suisse and its employees to strengthen the communities in which we live and work. Through a comprehensive range of volunteer support and funding, we are dedicated to increasing the capacity of nonprofit organizations. Our desire to increase opportunities for young people fuels our investment in education. Most of our commitments in the Americas are fulfilled by the Credit Suisse Americas Foundation and, in Brazil, by the Instituto Credit Suisse Hedging-Griffo where the needs of local communities are prioritized.
Commitments in the Americas
Corporate Citizenship programs in the Americas feature investments aligned with the bank's global efforts, with an emphasis on education and employee engagement.
The Americas Education Program supports high performing schools and programs developing excellent teachers and school leaders in low-income communities. The number of low income students served by the schools we support has more than quadrupled since inception. Students at these schools are four times more likely to graduate from college than their peers from the lowest income quartile, and their graduation rates are exceeding the national average across all socioeconomic levels.
We help employees lend their time and talents to the causes they care about and we work with our partner organizations to identify projects that address authentic needs in the community. In 2017, 84 percent of our employees were engaged in our Corporate Citizenship programs as volunteers and/or donors. As part of this work, we also support employees who serve or are looking to serve on a nonprofit board.
Through the Financial Inclusion Initiative, Through the Financial Inclusion Initiative, Credit Suisse works with microfinance institutions to strengthen their ability to serve the increasingly diverse financial needs of clients living at the base of the income pyramid. In the Americas, projects include, the establishment of Accion's financial inclusion-focused venture capital fund, the Venture Lab, in Washington DC, as well as the design and execution of the Leadership and Diversity in Innovation Program for executives in the microfinance industry and beyond in partnership with Women's World Banking. In addition to financial support, Credit Suisse provides employee expertise and know-how through its internal Microfinance Advocates Network, the Credit Suisse Virtual Volunteers and the Global Citizens Program.