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November 2014
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How Textbooks Sparked a Charitable Revolution

Guest Post by Brendan Baker of Chegg.com – committed to making education more affordable by offering cheap textbooks for students to buy, rent or sell.

chegg for good, plant a tree

As we look for ways to make education more affordable, what can start as a simple idea can often expand into something bigger. Just as the open textbook cause spawned into a vast network of open textbook organizations and communities, you never know how big an idea can become until you’ve put it into action.

For Chegg.com it started with the idea that all college textbooks could be—rather should be—cheaper for students. But what if you take that belief one step further? What if students had the ability to rent textbooks, which would make them more affordable while helping to save paper?

The idea snowballed from there, and soon enough a partnership with the American Forest Global ReLeaf Foundation was formed. The idea: for every textbook rented or sold through Chegg.com, a tree would be planted. The result? Since the inception of the partnership, over five million trees have been planted around the world—from the San Juan National Forest in Colorado all the way to Pondicherry, India—and the number continues to rise.

Several years later, the trees are still serving their purpose. Whether it’s by repopulating areas that have been damaged by wildfire or through improving the water quality in community rivers, the trees are a much needed presence in their environments.

chegg for good

What’s more, since the start of their partnership with the American Forest Global ReLeaf Foundation, Chegg has picked up a few more partnerships along the way, effectively creating what they now call the Chegg for Good program. Their motto: to encourage and inspire students to become active on their campus in social causes and become philanthropic leaders who make a difference on their campuses, in their communities, and around the world. Beyond tree planting, Chegg wants students be a catalyst for change and help them realize their dreams of making an impact on the world.

Among many of their initiatives, Chegg has even hosted a competition where four student founded non-profit organizations competed for a chance to receive additional financial support towards their cause. Each organization posted their story on the Chegg blog in order to help drive votes (and ultimately more funding), to their respective programs.

And it doesn’t stop there. Chegg has also sponsored two Habitat for Humanity playhouse builds involving the company’s very own employees. In fact, a new employee volunteer program hopes to encourage everyone on the Chegg team to give five days a year, paid by Chegg, to volunteer with organizations that matter to them.

As they look to the future, Chegg continues to seek out influential partners that will expose students to some unique and once in a lifetime opportunities in the philanthropic space. And with any luck, the circle of giving will continue to spread from the high-level organizations down to the young and ambitious students of the world. Once again, a small idea has flourished into a worldwide network of positive and influential change.

To learn more about possible charities you can get involved with or to learn more about the Chegg for Good program, click here: http://www.chegg.com/cheggforgood/

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