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As a company, we are committed to supporting programs and initiatives to improve access to a high-quality education and workforce/career preparation for youth in under-served communities, both in our headquarters region of greater Chicago and around the world.

Our Approach to Community Involvement

At ITW, we apply our 80/20 philosophy to community involvement, focusing on the areas where we can have the most positive impact on building and sustaining a vibrant community. In addition to our financial gifts, our colleagues volunteered over 24,000 hours to organizations aligned with these focus areas, as well as to organizations where they have a personal passion. In recognition of all of these efforts and the longstanding culture of taking care of our communities, ITW was awarded the 2018 Addams-Palmer Award for Exemplary Civic Involvement by the Civic Federation, a Chicago-based institution.


ITW’s Support for Education

Our commitment to education is demonstrated through the support we provide for STEM-related (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) programming in schools and organizations, as well as our investment in the future through scholarships.

ITW David Speer Academy
The ITW David Speer Academy offers a world-class STEM education to more than 1,000 high school students in Chicago’s Belmont-Cragin neighborhood. Not only do students have access to rigorous, top-rated academics, but they also have the opportunity to gain hands-on experience through field trips, college tours, electives offered in partnership with museums or trade schools, and internships. Many of these opportunities are offered through ITW businesses and non-profit partners supported by ITW. Last year, ITW hosted the senior intern showcase, the culmination event where seniors presented on their internship experience in an effort to best prepare these students for life beyond high school. Watch this video to learn more:


Summer of a Lifetime
One of the ways students attending ITW David Speer Academy gain real world experience is through the Summer of a Lifetime program, underwritten by ITW. This enrichment program offers rising juniors with a life-changing, summer academic experience on college campuses across the country. For many ITW Speer students, this experience is the first time they set foot on a college campus. Students also return from Summer of a Lifetime feeling more prepared to attend college and even select electives as juniors and seniors that reflect a STEM-learning track. To date, over 700 students from ITW David Speer Academy have participated in this program.

Founding Class Graduates
In June 2018, the ITW David Speer Academy graduated its founding class, the first of many remarkable classes to come. Notable Class of 2018 statistics include:

  • 98 percent graduation rate
  • 97 percent first-generation college-attenders
  • 80 percent directly matriculating to four-year colleges
  • 100 percent of students who attended Summer of a Lifetime were admitted to four-year colleges
  • Graduates received over $7 million in scholarships, with more than 63 percent not requiring student loans

Read more about this important milestone here.

Partnership to Foster Exposure to the Skilled Welding Trade
In 2017, ITW announced a partnership between Miller Electric Mfg. LLC (an ITW Welding company), Ferris State University and the ITW David Speer Academy, enabling a welding program to be established in the 2018-19 academic year at ITW David Speer Academy. Miller®, a leading worldwide manufacturer of arc welding equipment, partnered with Ferris State to develop a core curriculum utilizing Miller’s latest welding and safety equipment through an augmented reality (AR) course track. This collaborative partnership offers students a hands-on experience that deepens their understanding of the welding industry, learning from Ferris State’s nationally recognized welding program. There is also an opportunity for students to pursue post-secondary opportunities at the university.


The ITW David Speer Academy is sponsored by ITW in memory of former CEO David Speer, who passed away in 2012.


In 2018, the ITW Foundation continued to invest in the future through its focus on scholarship-based opportunities for students, believing that students should have access to quality education without cost as the determining factor to attend. Last year, ITW awarded $640,000 in scholarships to students attending a post-secondary school. These deserving students are the dependents of our colleagues across ITW divisions in the U.S. and Canada.

Additionally, ITW awarded its first full scholarship to a top Chicago Public Schools (CPS) high school senior pursuing engineering at Northwestern University (NU). This scholarship will continue to be awarded annually to a graduating CPS student who is admitted to NU and includes a paid-internship with ITW.