Rockwell Collins is a leading developer and manufacturer of communication and aviation electronics for both commercial and government applications. The company offers expertise in flight-deck avionics, cabin electronics, mission communications, simulation and training, and information management, among other areas, with its operations divided into two primary segments: commercial systems, which makes avionics and in-flight entertainment systems for commercial aircraft, and government systems, which develops communication systems with military applications, mainly for the U.S. government. In 2013, the company posted sales of about $4.6 billion and employed roughly 18,300 workers worldwide.
Rockwell Collins has two primary philanthropic vehicles: the Rockwell Collins Charitable Corporation and the Rockwell Collins Community Partnership Fund. Through these entities, the company supports a range of charitable groups and causes benefiting the local communities where the company does business.
The Rockwell Collins Charitable Corporation was established for the purpose of supporting qualified nonprofit organizations in the communities where Rockwell employees live and work. These grants are targeted for major projects and programs and generally total $5,000 or more. Priority funding areas include education—especially science, technology, engineering and math—with an emphasis on youth educational programming.
Meanwhile, the purpose of the Rockwell Collins Community Partnership Fund is to support nonprofit groups via fundraising, sponsorships, and other events and activities. These grants are typically less than $5,000 and are made in communities around the United States where Rockwell Collins has facilities and at least 100 employees.
Education-related endeavors receive the bulk of the company’s charity, with support given to numerous STEM-related programs and initiatives. Some notable examples include:
- The FIRST Connection. The company has a long-established partnership with FIRST, a nonprofit organization coordinating multinational programs that team professionals and young people to solve engineering design problems in intense and competitive ways. Rockwell’s support includes team and tournament sponsorships, teacher training and rewards, and Rockwell Collins employee and retiree involvement.
As part of this effort, Rockwell’s engineers assist elementary and middle school students participating in FIRST LEGO League, where they build unique robot inventions by using LEGO bricks and other elements such as sensors, motors and gears. The company has committed to growing the number of FIRST LEGO teams in Iowa and in Rockwell Collins communities across the United States, to involve and inspire more students.
In addition, the FIRST Tech Challenge—which involves high school students—combines the project approach of FIRST LEGO League with the excitement and innovation of FIRST robotics. Students work in teams to design, test and program larger-scale robots. Rockwell Collins supports teams and tournaments throughout Iowa, with the goal of having FIRST Tech Challenge teams in every high school in the state.
- Engineers Week. Rockwell Collins is a leading corporate supporter of Engineers Week, and its employees participate in EWeek activities across the country as a way to encourage young people to consider engineering as a career. Formal activities include Introduce a Girl to Engineering and the 24-Hour Global Marathon—activities for, by and about women in engineering—as well as free, hands-on engineering activities in the Cedar Rapids and Iowa City corridor and other locations.
Employee volunteers coordinate hands-on activities for K–12 students, mentor high school and college students and engage math and science educators in special events during EWeek. In addition, Rockwell supports the Future City Competition, which challenges seventh- and eighth-grade students from around the country to team with engineer mentors to create—first on computer and then in large, three-dimensional models—their visions of the city of tomorrow.
- Project Lead the Way. Through partnerships with middle schools and high schools, Project Lead the Way pairs students with educators as they go through rigorous, relevant STEM coursework.
- Team America Rocketry Challenge. The Team America Rocketry Challenge is the world’s largest rocket contest, sponsored by the Aerospace Industries Association and the National Association of Rocketry. Students are encouraged to study math and science and pursue careers in aerospace through a competition that challenges teams to design, build and fly model rockets. Approximately 7,000 students from across the nation compete in the challenge each year, and winners are invited to participate in NASA advanced rocketry programs.
- Career Awareness. Each year, 100 to 200 high school students shadow a Rockwell Collins professional for half a day as part of the company’s job shadowing program, designed to introduce young people to potential careers. High school juniors and seniors can also learn how business operates and apply classroom concepts to real-world situations while exploring future careers through longer-term internships at Rockwell Collins facilities.
The company also contributes to health and human services and civic organizations, especially those with which its employees are involved as volunteers. However, the majority of gifts to these organizations are made through corporate contributions or employee giving campaigns benefiting the United Way.
The company also contributes to select groups and initiatives aimed at protecting or enhancing the natural environment in communities where Rockwell Collins operates. The company’s Green Communities program is intended to help fund environmental projects that result in tangible improvement in the environmental condition of the community and have sustainable project benefits.
Examples include conservation of natural resources and raw materials, improvement of impacts on environmental media, and restoration or development of ecological habitat.
Further information is available on the company’s website.