Serving Our Communities

Grainger’s culture of service extends into the local communities where our team members live and work. Our partnerships, products, and people enable us to provide vital resources to advance the lives of those around us. Our community investments reflect the nature of our business, and our commitments are focused where we make the most of our resources. We focus on disaster preparedness and response, education and workforce development, and local civic and community engagement.


Since 2001, Grainger has leveraged its passion for education and job training to create positive changes and new opportunities in our communities. We work with several nonprofit organizations to build a foundation of new possibilities for highly motivated students based on need. We leverage the strength and backing of our BRGs to partner with several organizations to provide guidance, funding and tools to students in our communities.


We invest in the future of the skilled trade workforce through our Tools for Tomorrow® scholarship program. Each year, Grainger works with the American Association of Community Colleges to offer two scholarships of $2,000 each at participating community colleges in the U.S. The scholarships are awarded to students in skilled trade and public safety programs such as plumbing, welding, automotive, construction, fire safety and law enforcement. Half of the scholarships offered are earmarked for veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces. In addition to the scholarship, Grainger provides tools to students after they graduate to help them launch a successful career. Since 2006, Grainger has donated more than $4 million to support technical education.

Tools for Tomorrow® 10th Anniversary Celebration

In 2016, we marked a full decade of support for the Tools for Tomorrow® scholarship program. What began as a way to support workforce development in the skilled trades has grown into a robust program dedicated to the success of highly motivated students who demonstrate commitment and aptitude in their field. To commemorate the occasion we awarded special one-time grants to the six community colleges most active in the Grainger Tools for Tomorrow® scholarship program, to three community colleges with the most students earning scholarships overall during the last 10 years and to three community colleges with the most veterans earning scholarships.

Tools for Tomorrow® Student Profile

Throughout my 23 years in the United States Marine Corps and the Wisconsin Army National Guard, the process of exchanging heat and HVAC systems designed to meet specific needs piqued my interest. As a recently retired First Sergeant who is changing careers from logistics passed operations to a service technician with the Heating and Air Conditioning career field, the opportunity to help offset the cost associated with purchasing quality diagnostic tools was outstanding.

The tuition assistance has allowed me to focus on the challenging aspects of HVAC training, and the WestwardTM tool kit will be instrumental in the success of my transition from education to full-time immersion in the HVAC career field.

I take great pride in a job that is complete and done right. As a technician, I’ve found that one of the best feelings is when I leave a service call and the homeowner thanks me because they noticed the attention to detail and because they feel confident that their system will work when needed.”

Team Member Engagement

We are proud of the passion demonstrated by team members toward the causes they care most about. That is why we encourage our BRGs to align with nonprofit partners to echo the effect our team members have in communities where we live and work. In 2014, Grainger launched the BRG Community Fund to partner with each BRG to support local nonprofit organizations with programs that align collectively with our Inclusion & Diversity and philanthropic goals. A critical component of the fund is BRG collaboration and volunteer engagement. BRGs are encouraged to partner with community organizations where they can embed team member volunteer engagement to make a more meaningful difference. In 2016, the BRGs worked together to support community partners by giving time and money.

One Million Degrees     In 2016, our African American and Latino BRGs partnered to support One Million Degrees (OMD). OMD is dedicated to providing comprehensive support to low-income, highly-motivated community college students to help them succeed in school, work and life. From tutors and coaches to financial assistance and leadership development, OMD provides tools and resources that empower scholars to transform their lives. Currently, Grainger is the second-largest provider of OMD coaches. As a result of our support of community college students, Grainger received One Million Degrees’ inaugural Corporate Leadership Award.

Our Leaders in Action: Executive Board Placement Program

The Grainger Executive Board program is designed to accomplish the following goals:
Provide opportunities for executives to refine/enhance their leadership skills
Raise awareness of Grainger in the local community
Engage in civic activities that foster inclusion and diversity
Cultivate strong and strategic partnerships with nonprofit organizations and civic leaders
Enhance opportunities for team member volunteer engagement

Currently, approximately 20 Grainger executives participate on Boards focusing on:
Education & Workforce Development
Disaster Preparedness & Response
Civic Engagement
General Business

The opportunity to serve One Million Degrees while representing Grainger has been an amazing experience. The ability to serve the communities in which we do business, while providing an opportunity for team members to participate and engage is where we as an organization deliver against our corporate vision and strategy of delivering increased value. This is a win for the business, our team members, and the community. I am proud to serve in an organization that values investing time, energy and resources into the local community, and fully embracing the development of their team members through differentiated investments and experiences.”
From the first time Brent came to see a One Million Degrees program, he was hooked. His enthusiasm and passion for our work serving highly motivated community college students is inspiring and infectious. But most importantly, Brent is a doer – a focused board member who works to engage his colleagues at Grainger to muster more support for OMD, while being a strategic thought partner who asks all the right questions and pushes us to do the best work for our scholars and staff.”

YWCA Tech GYRLS     Our Women’s BRG partnered with YWCA of Metropolitan Chicago to support the TechGYRLS program, a youth empowerment program designed to raise girls’ interest, confidence and self-efficacy in the critical areas of science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics. The TechGYRLS program helps young girls develop the usage of technological tools, critical thinking and problem-solving skills in any profession they pursue. The program offers students a safe, supportive environment for exploration and learning using curriculum comprised of design, animation, programming and robotics.