When Emerson Electric moved to its current headquarters in Ferguson in 1941, the values of the then 50-year-old company, including improving the communities in which it operates, were already deeply rooted. Since establishing the Emerson Charitable Trust in 1975, the company has invested more than $600 million in education, health and human services, and cultural initiatives.
“We take great pride in supporting programs that enrich the neighborhoods where our employees live and work, particularly in our own backyard of Ferguson,” says Pat Sly, Executive Vice President. “In the wake of the city’s unrest, we knew we wanted to lead the corporate effort to address many of the underlying issues.” A logical step, he says, was partnering with Little Bit in adopting Koch Elementary, which is “literally across the street from our offices.”
Introduced to Little Bit in 2011, Emerson first provided a $15,000 grant to help fund Little Bit’s uniform program, followed by $25,000 in support of Bel Nor Elementary. In 2015, the company stepped forward to help finance Little Bit services at Koch with a $25,000 contribution. “Little Bit is able to provide for all of a student’s basic needs while treating him or her like a real person rather than a statistic – something I didn’t fully appreciate until I went to a school and saw them in action. It was a ‘wow’ moment,” says Sly.