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AOL in the Community

Mission Statement | Philanthropic Goals | Philanthropic Initiatives
Employee Involvement | Giving Guidelines | Contact Us

Mission Statement

Through our community investment efforts, AOL strives to open opportunities and improve the quality of life for children and families throughout the United States and beyond, with a particular emphasis on communities where AOL employees live and work.

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Philanthropic Goals

Enhance educational opportunities and skill development for disadvantaged youth so they can become productive and engaged citizens in the 21st Century.

Increase digital opportunity and 21st Century technology literacy by helping nonprofit organizations, schools and individuals in disadvantaged communities to use online resources and other technologies more effectively to further their goals.

Encourage AOL employees, members and others to participate in meaningful volunteer activities that reflect their civic values and passions.

Promote peace, tolerance and an appreciation for diverse cultures and perspectives.

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Philanthropic Inititives

AOL supports philanthropic strategies that uniquely relate to how it can leverage its resources, including the online medium, to make a positive contribution to society. Most of AOL's giving is through targeted initiatives that we proactively develop with schools and non-profit organizations.

AOL is particularly proud of its efforts to raise aspirations of disadvantaged youth. These efforts are designed to nurture the goals and dreams of young people and help them to develop to their full potential.

AOL AspiresThe AOL Aspirations Fund is a cornerstone of our efforts to open doors of opportunity for youth. Through partnerships with selected middle and high schools, the AOL Aspirations Fund provides flexible resources to support creative ideas for nurturing the skills and talents of young people. We believe every young person has a unique contribution to make to our world. Together, we can help young people to envision positive futures, develop creative talent, and reach their potential through education and career opportunities.

Safety ClicksSafety Clicks! Is an online safety campaign supported by a partnership between AOL, Childhelp USA and the National School Board Foundation (NSBF). This is a nationwide effort to provide parents, kids and educators with the resources they need to have a safe and enriching online experience. Available tools include:

  • AOL Safety Clicks! Video, featuring Cartoon Network characters Dexter and Dee Dee, from Dexter's Laboratory.
  • AOLSafetyBot, which allows young people to get instant answers about online safety right from their AOL Buddy List with the help of an automated agent that will interact and exchange instant messages (Ims) with them.
  • AOL Amber Alerts, a voluntary, cooperative partnership between law enforcement agencies and the media to send emergency alerts to the public when a child ahs been abducted. Alerts available via AOL at AOL Keyword : Amber Alerts.
  • Safety Clicks.com, a website offering tips, sites, games, fun, resources and more for parents and kids in one convenient Web site - www.safetyclicks.com or AOL Keyword: Safety Clicks.

AOL@SchoolAOL@School is a free education portal for students, teachers, and administrators. Developed in close collaboration with professional educators, AOL@School provides helpful tools for classroom use, including lesson plans and activities, reference materials, and an SAT preparation course for students aspiring to go on to college.

For details on other AOL partnerships and employee volunteer programs, see the 2002 AOL Fact Book.

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Employee Involvement

Through e-philanthropy and other vehicles, AOL encourages active citizenship and community involvement on the part of employees, AOL members and others. AOL's efforts to encourage employees to make a difference include:

  • AOL Tech Corps, through which employee volunteers will assist nonprofit organizations and schools with their technology-related needs. Whether setting up and training teachers on how to use a new computer lab or helping an organization develop its Web site, AOL employee volunteers will use their skills and knowledge to help nonprofit groups and schools better achieve their mission.
  • Employee Volunteer Days and other days of service that bring employees together to serve the communities where they live and work.
  • Time to Read, a nationwide volunteer literacy program, works to improve literacy levels among American children and adults. AOL employee volunteers throughout the country are trained as mentors and paired with learners from local schools, libraries, community centers and after-school programs. Through Time to Read, children and adults are developing the skills needed for the 21st Century.
  • Home Delivered Meals is a program through the Division of Aging where AOL Volunteers deliver a noontime meal Monday through Friday to seniors who are confined to their home for medical or physical reasons, and who have no other assistance available.
  • Grants and other support to schools and nonprofit organizations where AOL employees volunteer their time.
  • Mentoring programs enabling AOL employees to offer support, guidance and friendship to children.
  • Placement of qualified AOL employees on boards of nonprofit organizations, and other efforts to enhance nonprofit effectiveness.

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Giving Guidelines

AOL's corporate giving efforts focus primarily on areas where employees live and work. These areas include the Washington, DC, metropolitan area and Northern Virginia; Mountain View, CA; Columbus, OH; Albuquerque, NM; Jacksonville, FL; Oklahoma City, OK; Ogden, UT; and Tucson, AZ.

Most of AOL's giving is through targeted initiatives that we proactively develop with schools and non-profit organizations, in connection with the above goals. In particular, AOL is dedicating significant resources to efforts to raise aspirations of disadvantaged youth.

AOL also supports and encourages involvement of its employees in the community through a range of employee-focused initiatives. If an AOL employee volunteers his or her time at your organization, he or she may be eligible to apply for a grant from AOL on the organization's behalf. Please contact the AOL employee to learn more about potential grant opportunities.

As a general rule, we do not fund unsolicited proposals except in special circumstances. Our targeted initiatives and employee involvement programs represent the majority of our community involvement and philanthropic efforts. If your organization still wishes to apply for a grant from AOL, please follow the instructions outlined below in Grant Request Guidelines.

Grant Request Guidelines

Organizations interested in applying for a grant from AOL are asked to start by submitting a 1-2 page letter of intent, along with a completed "AOL Grant Inquiry Cover Sheet". Based on this brief letter of intent, AOL may then decide to ask for a more detailed proposal. In those situations, AOL Community Investment staff will be in touch with applicants to solicit additional information.

Letters of intent should include the following information:

  • Organization's mission, goals and major accomplishments over the past 3 years.
  • Brief summary of programs, including the project for which you seek support.
  • Explanation of how the project addresses AOL's philanthropic goals.
  • Overview of plan for measuring success over time.
  • Specific request and budget demonstrating how grant funds would be spent.

Please also attach the organization's annual operating budget, information about other sources of support, and a copy of the organization's 501(c)(3) documentation.

Review Process

The AOL grant committee receives many strong grant applications and can only support a limited number of initiatives each year. AOL reviews unsolicited requests quarterly and you should expect to receive notification about the status of your application in writing.

In addition to addressing one or more of AOL's primary philanthropic goals, AOL gives highest priority to efforts that:

  • Offer potential to have a long-term positive impact on society.
  • Have clearly defined objectives, and a realistic plan for measuring progress toward those objectives.
  • Reach populations and communities with the greatest needs.
  • Use technology to further the organization's goals and benefit society.
  • Have a positive impact on more than one or a few individuals, and beyond the life of the grant.
  • Effectively leverage support from other sources - such as volunteer efforts, financial contributions and in-kind contributions.
  • Involve collaborations or partnerships that bring together some combination of government, business, the non-profit sector, schools and others to work toward common goals.

Restrictions/Limitations

As a general rule, AOL does not provide funding for the following:

  • General operating support
  • Religious organizations that do not serve the general public on a non-denominational basis
  • Organizations that discriminate on the basis of race, color, gender, sexual orientation, age, religion, national or ethnic origin or physical disability.
  • Political, labor, religious or fraternal organizations
  • Individuals
  • Sports teams/events

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Contact Us

Please submit hard copy proposals to:

America Online
Community Investment

Rich D'Amato
Vice President, Community Investment
America Online
22000 AOL Way
Dulles, VA 20166

As a general rule, AOL does not fund unsolicited proposals except in special circumstances. Our targeted initiatives and employee involvement programs represent the majority of our community and philanthropic efforts.

America Online

TeamAOL...because Community Matters

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America Online, Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of Time Warner Inc. For us, the measure of achievement goes beyond the bottom line. To succeed, we must provide the highest quality products and services, act with integrity and contribute to the common good. These responsibilities are the essence of corporate citizenship in the 21st Century-and our resolve to meet them will shape everything we do. For information about the Time Warner Foundation, please visit www.aoltwfoundation.org.

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