Engineers, Ambassadors and Beekeepers, Oh My! Supporting Education at Clorox

Ana-Lizet is a painter who plans to major in bioengineering. Joe is majoring in public health, and Joseph is studying aerospace engineering. There’s also Tyler, an agricultural ambassador and Sonora, a mathematics major and beekeeper.

All talented and all headed off to school with support from Clorox scholarships and Clorox people.

Over the past 20-plus years, Clorox has helped provide scholarships to hundreds of students like these.

  • Since 1996, The Clorox Company Foundation Scholarship program has supported 194 students of Clorox employees with $1.7 million in scholarships.
  • The Knauss Scholars — a program funded personally by former Clorox CEO Don Knauss and his wife Ellie — has supported 135 students of Clorox employees with $936,250 in scholarship funds.
  • Since 1992, Clorox employees have raised more than $1 million that, combined with more than $560,000 in grant funding from The Clorox Company Foundation, has sponsored more than 500 Clorox Partners Scholarships through the Marcus Foster Education Fund for Oakland and Pleasanton students.

PowerPoint PresentationAnd the educational support also goes well beyond scholarships for these aspiring scientists, nurses and artists. Many Clorox employees give their time, money and energy to support education at a wide range of organizations. Here are just a few.

Sarah Coulter, Innovation Sourcing Manager, Pleasanton, California
I currently serve on the East Bay Junior Achievement Advisory Board. Junior Achievement (JA) is focused on helping bring financial literacy and entrepreneurship to grades K-12 and works closely with students to prepare them for future careers through a wide variety of job shadowing programs.

I also love to share my passion for science by leading the annual science fair at our elementary school. The students come up with some of the most creative ideas to explore, and are so passionate about their projects. There is an evening event where I have local scientists share the science they love through all sorts of crazy demos.

I also really enjoy mentoring middle school and high school students through Dinner with a Scientist events sponsored by GetSet (Girls Exploring Technology, Science and Engineering Together) and OUSD (Oakland Unified School District). I find it really rewarding to answer their questions and to share my experiences as they begin their own journey into this exciting field.

Clorox-education-Iris-Wedeking-2Iris Wedeking, Associate Director – Brand Insights, Oakland, California
I’m president of the board of SEED (Special Education Enrichment & Development Foundation of Lafayette, California). We’re an entirely volunteer-run nonprofit that provides resources and support to families of children with special needs.


Clorox-education-Danielle-Freeman-2Danielle S. Freeman, Manufacturing Resource Manager, Kennesaw, Georgia
We focus on inspiring enthusiasm and developing proficiency among local youth in Georgia through classroom visits, STEM fairs and the Atlanta Science Festival. We do demos, lead panels, help with science fairs and generally show kids that science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) is quite “cool.” In our second year, we met 21,750 kids and a whopping 71,150 in the two years we have worked together. This is done with an awesome network of volunteers who share their time with us and local youth.

Clorox-education-Jonathan-Weisman-2Jon Weisman, Scientist, Pleasanton, California
I work with Clorox’s Science Education volunteer team, which interacts heavily with Community Resources for Science, a San Francisco Bay Area organization that connects our professionals to schools to volunteer. We go to many schools in the East Bay and do science experiments and education for students. We teach them that science and careers in science are accessible to anyone. All that is required is passion!

Ann Hatanaka, Legal Specialist – Contracts, Oakland, California,
Clorox-education-Ann-Hatanaka-2For the past several years, I have led the Girls, Inc. Pen Pals Project at Clorox. The project builds literacy skills for girls and boys in first, second and third grade through letter writing and formatting. This is the first letter most of the girls and boys write and receive. This year 32 Clorox Pen Pals wrote 128 letters to their young Pen Pals. Our Clorox Pen Pals are wonderful role models for penmanship, writing, and language skills. Receiving a hand-written and hand-decorated letter in the mail is exciting for all of our pen pals, no matter what age.

Liz Stapleton Zerella, Associate Finance Director, Oakland, California
My job share arrangement at Clorox allows me to volunteer at my daughters’ school every Thursday and Friday. I serve on the Parent-Teacher Group Executive Committee, volunteer for Art in Action lessons and yard duty, and organize and chaperone field trips. I also serve as an alumni interviewer for Georgetown, my alma mater.

My parents are both educators, and I have seen former students who visit my parents and thank them for contributing to their successes. My parents also made education the priority in our home as I was growing up, holding me and my brother to high academic standards, while also providing support in terms of time and resources. These experiences have shaped my philosophy regarding education, and I believe teachers can be most successful when they have the support of an involved parent community.

Clorox-education-Vanessa-Mitchell-2Vanessa Mitchell, Sourcing Analyst, Alpharetta, Georgia
I am co-chair for our women’s employee resource group’s HEART Committee and lead our annual JA Day. I also lead an annual Back to School Drive “Stuff the Bus” where students receive the necessary tools to help enable a good school year. We are helping to build stronger families and stronger communities.