William Blair Global Community Partner Bridges started in 1993 as a four-week summer enrichment program, initially serving 18 elementary school students from a Title I school in northeast Baltimore City. Students were supported by a paid seasonal staff and a handful of high school-aged volunteers from The St. Paul’s Schools in Baltimore County, Maryland. In the coming 2024-2025 program year, Bridges will serve over 450 students aged 9- to 23-years old with 358 independent school volunteers.

William Blair’s Baltimore Team is proud to support Bridges in various ways, most significantly by nominating them as one of the firm’s Global Community Partners back in 2022.

Jen Viglucci
Jennifer Viglucci, sales and branch director

Sales and Branch Director Jennifer Viglucci described the relationship with Bridges as another way for the firm to join forces with a community partner to meet a common goal founded on shared values. Like managing a client’s financial investments based on longevity, the Baltimore team also believes there are major benefits to investing in students' long-term futures.

“Students need ongoing enrichment as they navigate new experiences throughout their educational journey,” Viglucci said. “Bridges does a fantastic job at understanding children have different needs based on their stages—whether that’s in third grade or graduating from college. Bridges provides a path as a reminder that no matter what challenges may arise, students will have support.”

Life-Changing Opportunities and Support

Bridges’ students participate in year-round programming from the summer after third grade until they graduate from college and enter their careers. Programs include:

  • A five-week summer institute
  • After-school programming
  • Weekend support
  • Middle and high school placement support
  • College admissions guidance
  • Jobs programs and career transition support

Viglucci explained the team's most impactful experience with Bridges was “Shadow Day,” when students visited the William Blair Baltimore office and shadowed employees to learn more about working in the financial services industry. Additionally, colleagues participate in “speed interview and networking” with students, discussing careers in the financial services industry and guiding students through the job interview process.

William Blair hosted a "Shadow Day" with two Bridges students, currently sophomores in college, to share what a career in financial services can look like.

School success is supported with regular workshops, community building, and individualized support, and as a result, 100% of Bridges students graduate from high school, 85% of high school seniors go to college, and 67% of those college students earn degrees within six years.

A Global Community Partner

A key component of William Blair’s mission is to engage in our communities. Our signature Global Community Partners program allows us to differentiate and invest in organizations through which our donations create catalytic change through significant and skills-based volunteer opportunities.

We are so grateful for William Blair as a partner and for the Baltimore office’s support…

ANITA HILSON, senior director of partnerships for Bridges

Chosen from nearly 100 employee nominations and selected by the firm’s Global Community Impact Steering Committee and local Community Engagement Ambassadors, William Blair is proud to partner with nonprofits in each of our global office locations.

“Events like ‘Shadow Day’ are about providing career access,” Bridges Senior Director of Partnerships Anita Hilson said. “We are so grateful for William Blair as a partner and for the Baltimore office’s support, and we are working hard to bring in other partnerships like this one.”

Making Us Stronger as a Community

While the Baltimore team provides unique insight and knowledge during volunteer opportunities like “Shadow Day,” Viglucci explained the team has gained valuable relationships from the partnership with Bridges. A key component of William Blair’s mission is to engage in our communities, and Viglucci described how the employee-inspired philanthropic approach empowers her and her colleagues to invest in the communities where they live and work.

“We believe it’s made us stronger from a community standpoint,” Viglucci said, “not just with Bridges, but with each other. It’s extended to other organizations, too. Every quarter, we volunteer as a team. We have always wanted community engagement to be a part of our mission. As a result, it’s now part of our DNA.”

Looking ahead, Bridges plans to grow to eight program locations, serving 1,400 Baltimore students with 800 independent school volunteers. They hope to create more opportunities and access within the Baltimore communities by enhancing their program system and operations infrastructure.