“Your responsibility goes beyond your company”
Giving back can start with a simple swimming lesson. There are blue water opportunities to deliver social impact. Just ask this graduate of the Rotterdam School of Management MBA of value.
Swimming isn’t taught at most public schools in the Netherlands any more. Which means that approximately 400,000 Dutch children whose parents don’t have the financial resources to fund swim class or indeed any type of sporting activities.
For some, the ability to swim, play football, handle a tennis raquet of score a try might not be top of the agenda. Not so Jordy Kool (MBA 2004), former CEO of Infotheek Group.
A resident of Noordwijk, he was keen to arrange swimming classes for his daughter so that she too could enjoy the beach safely, when an idea occurred to him.
“We were booking private lessons because schools don’t offer swimming classes. It struck me that there must be many, many children in the Netherlands who don’t have this basic ability. And who may not be practicing a healthy level of sport at all.”
Jordy’s daughter’s swim class dovetailed with a significant development in his professional life. In 2014 , a first successful buy-out released a significant amount of capital – and with that capital, an opportunity to do something with social impact.
“At Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University I’d embraced the idea of responsibility and giving something back to society. It’s a function of the school’s DNA. So when we achieved the buy-out, it occurred to me that that money could be put to use to address the lack of physical education in for more than 400.000 children who cannot practice sports for financial reasons. To put it simply, I wanted to use this opportunity to give kids a chance to pursue healthy activities, develop themselves and enjoy practicing sports with others and avoid feeling left out.
The result is Stichting IT4Kids, a not-for-profit founded by Jordy on a simple but effective premise.
“IT4Kids collects used and written-off hardware from companies – computers, laptops routers, printers and so on. We refurbish this hardware and resell it. In turn we donate the value of this used hardware, to our network of charities working for children’s health.
Jordy credits his MBA at Rotterdam School of Management as the catalyst for initiating his awareness of his responsibility both as a leader in business and as a human being.
“At RSM you learn that your responsibility goes beyond your company. It is woven into the curriculum, learning journey and dynamic interchanges that characterise the experience. I think young people today really have this awareness developed. They are 10 or 20 years ahead of our generation at the same point. They just need to build a sense of what’s going on around them and join the dots.”
Watch the video about his story: