Passion for Education

See how one Intel employee has helped bring educational opportunities to classrooms in far-flung corners of the developing world.

Each year, thousands of Intel employees generously donate their expertise and over a million hours of service to communities around the world through the Intel Involved volunteer program.

A select few have the opportunity to join the Intel Employee Service Corps, through which they help bring learning technologies to classrooms in developing countries. See how one Intel Employee Service Corps volunteer has taken the spirit of service to a whole new level.      

I don’t know how you quite describe that look—that spark that you see in their eyes. Just joy, utter joy for learning.

That look, which John Cartwright has seen on countless children’s faces, has propelled him to donate his time and expertise—again and again—to help bring educational opportunities to classrooms in far-flung corners of the developing world. It has even inspired him to start an educational nonprofit, as well as a small business to fund it.

In 2011 Cartwright—then an Intel IT manager and now a product manager in the Intel® Education group—journeyed to earthquake-shattered Haiti as part of our skills-based volunteer program, the Intel Employee Service Corps. Program volunteers receive extensive training and then travel in teams to developing countries to help set up technology in environments ranging from education to health to agriculture. In Haiti, Cartwright’s team setup a computer lab in an elementary school, installed interactive learning software, and provided training for local teachers. Six months later, he jumped at the chance to lead a second Intel Employee Service Corps team back to the same school to provide additional support.

John is an educator in his heart. For him, technology is not an end in itself: it has to serve the best interests of students. … Most of all here at LMV, we value his calming presence, his incredible hard work, and his commitment to providing the best that technology can bring to the students.

Madhab P. Sitaula, Principal, Lalitpur Madhyamik Vidyalaya (LMV) secondary school, Nepal 

Cartwright was so inspired by his Intel Employee Service Corps experiences that he decided to use his time on an extended sabbatical from Intel to improve the learning software that the teams had deployed in Haiti. He realized that the software, designed to run on a wired network powered by a server in an air-conditioned room, wouldn’t work in many developing countries. Cartwright adapted the software so that instead of running on a server, it could run wirelessly on a PC which, if necessary, could be powered by a car battery. He also used a month of his sabbatical time to travel to Kenya to deploy the newly ruggedized software in several schools—stopping on his way home to provide additional support to the school in Haiti.

Since then, he has spent much of his personal time working to bring educational technology to more kids in Kenya and in Nepal. When not traveling—or at his day job at Intel—it’s not uncommon to find him at his dining room table configuring computers for the next deployment. He also now serves on the board of Hands in Outreach, a nonprofit working to provide education for girls in Nepal. In addition, he started his own nonprofit, Just Learning Opportunities, dedicated to providing opportunities for youth through educational technologies. To help fund Just Learning Opportunities, he launched Just Coffee and Tea, a charitable company that sells tea and coffee from the countries where Cartwright has volunteered. His projects have become a family affair, with wife Sharon, and adult children Liz, Carolyn, and John now volunteering as well.

Recognizing his extraordinary record of service, Fortune selected Cartwright as one of 55 2015 Heroes of the Fortune 500, noting:

It’s easy to forget that Fortune 500 companies are composed of millions of people around the world. But it’s those employees who give humanity to the numbers we so celebrate.

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