by Tonie Hansen

Project Inspire, NVIDIA’s largest single community project, is now completed, and I think it’s safe to say it was an unqualified success. More than 1,000 people joined in to renovate the McKinley Elementary School campus in San Jose, from both NVIDIA and the local community. For NVIDIA, it was a chance to give back to the community, and direct more than $250,000 to a good cause, rather than spend it on a holiday party. And for community members, it was a chance to be directly involved in making a difference in their neighborhood.

Project Inspire '09 Project Inspire - Volunteer Cheer

Here’s some of what we achieved in a very full Saturday:

  • Painted all school buildings and community center, including a range of murals
  • Built outdoor classroom and community common space
  • Installed 74 computers donated by individual NVIDIA employees
  • Designed a computer lab for teens center
  • Landscaped the grounds
  • Built storage and bookshelves for classroom and library
  • A ton of additional projects too numerous to list, but you can check out some pics from the day.

The best parts of the day for me were seeing dads working side-by-side with their sons, and entire families coming out to help. Employees see Project Inspire as a great opportunity to educate their kids about giving back. They also appreciated working alongside the community members, as they got to learn about the people who were going to benefit from the changes once we finished.

Project Inspire - The whole family Project Inspire - Unloading the mulch Project Inspire - The whole family Project Inspire - Happy FacesI was at the school on Monday when the parents and students arrived. Despite the rain, families took in the new setting and kids played on the school maps we painted and on the stage of the new classroom. It felt good to talk to the parents directly and it was gratifying to feel their excitement about the great technology their children can now access.

Something that always makes me proud about our community events is how many of our top execs attend. They stay all day, work hard and aren’t afraid to provide input where needed. We tore Jen-Hsun away begrudgingly from building the outdoor classroom to capture his thoughts about NVIDIA’s giving philosophy and why he likes Project Inspire so much:

The scope of Project Inspire attracted local media, which filed some great reports.

We hope other companies see this event, which is built and nurtured by employees, and are inspired to do something of their own, if they’re not already.

Happy holidays.