Four Decades of Professional and Educational Partnership with Cargill

For more than 40 years, Cargill has been one of BestPrep’s most valuable partners, making a lasting impact on Minnesota’s educational community. Cargill became one of BestPrep’s founding partners in 1973 when CEO Bob Kaitz was introduced to Cargill’s Vice President of Transportation, Jim Springrose, who would later serve on BestPrep’s Board of Directors. Springrose played a pivotal role with project development and saw an opportunity to educate students through the experience of Cargill’s employees.

Students experience a career day at Cargill

Over the years, Cargill employees have volunteered with students through many of BestPrep programs, including Classroom Plus and eMentors, as well as serving on various committees for BestPrep. Additionally, for the past nine years, Cargill and BestPrep have provided students with a Career Day in which students spend a day at Cargill gaining information through a hands-on learning experience.

More recently, Cargill has helped pilot BestPrep’s newest program, Cloud Coach, which was first introduced in 2017. Over the last year, 203 Cargill employees have volunteered with Cloud Coach, totaling 2,429 volunteer hours. Cloud Coach is an eight-week online mentoring program for full ninth-grade classes in Minneapolis and St. Paul public schools. Each student is paired with a mentor from a local company to discuss goal-setting and aspirations through online conversations each week. This program takes a directed approach to helping students think forward and act now. One Cargill volunteer said, “Cloud Coach is a great way to prepare students to start thinking of the future, as well as learning professional skills through mock interviews, email follow ups, and building connections. I hopefully let [my mentee] know that some of the stuff they are going through, I went through myself and still got to where I am today.”

Cloud Coach student and Cargill volunteer meet in-person

In addition to its volunteerism with BestPrep’s programs, Cargill has partnered with BestPrep in other ways to improve the lives of youth in our community. Cargill financially supports BestPrep programs such as eMentors, Classroom Plus, and Minnesota Business Venture (MBV). Additionally, Cargill has helped further BestPrep’s vision for connecting the business and education communities at events. In 2016, Cargill CEO, Dave MacLennan, was the keynote speaker at the Annual Luncheon, where he spoke about leadership principles in an ever-changing world. Cargill has also been represented on BestPrep’s Board of Directors since its founding in 1976. In fact, the organization welcomed its newest board member this year, Suzanne McCarty, Business Development Director at Cargill.

Cargill has been an exemplary partner to BestPrep, and we are looking forward to continuing to prepare students with business, career, and financial literacy skills in the future.