We help create a better future for professionals and a better planet for future professionals
About the Brunel Foundation
The Brunel Foundation was founded in 2012 by Maritska Aarts and Femke Dijkstra, two passionate Brunellers who shared the goal of doing good together. It has since grown into a global foundation that supports both Brunel’s Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) strategy and the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. It also continuously inspires us to positively impact the environment and contribute to a better society.
A decade of inspiring, impacting and educating people
Doing good, together. That’s exactly the goal Maritska Aarts and Femke Dijkstra had when they won an internal ideas contest in 2012. Their idea, the Brunel Foundation, became a reality thanks to their passion and dedication and the hard work and support of volunteer Brunellers around them.Our interview with the Brunel Foundation Directors
Brunel Foundation: Celebrating 10 Years of Doing Good Together
We build a better future for our professionals by positively influencing the labor market for people on the autism spectrum. We raise awareness by helping them unlock their talent and connect to the labor market in a meaningful way. In so doing, we create awareness, educate and mobilize our people to support a diverse and inclusive culture.
We build a better planet for our (future) professionals by helping to increase environmental awareness and inspire inspiring people to build sustainable behaviors. These include supporting the ecosystem through the growth of the Global Brunel Foundation Forest, for example, as well as our Trash ‘n’ Trace initiative, which takes action to reduce (plastic) waste before it gets into the water.
We encourage our employees, candidates, clients, industries and society at large to actively contribute to a more sustainable world. Our aim is to foster engagement on all levels, from the bottom up, by capturing and connecting passion, talent and intrinsic motivation.
Together we create impact
The Brunel Foundation is managed by Femke Dijkstra and Maritska Aarts. It is headquartered in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Working together with colleagues – the global Foundation community – we seek to inspire others and set up initiatives across all regions to contribute to our mission.
To create maximum impact, our regional community focuses on specific interests in each region and stimulates local partnerships that align with our commitment to people and the planet. Through this community, we join forces and work together on a global scale.
By inspiring colleagues, partners and clients on the global and local levels, we aim to strengthen Brunel's sense of community and strives to be a catalyst for change, both within Brunel and beyond.
Want to reach out?
If you would like to take part, discuss initiatives, have ideas to contribute, or would like to share some feedback, please contact Femke and Maritska via email@example.com.
Brunel Foundation News
From good idea to global organization: The Brunel Foundation has grown over the years, giving a face to the dedication and compassion of Brunellers worldwide.
The first year
During the first year, Femke Dijkstra and Maritska Aarts did the groundwork for the Brunel Foundation in the Netherlands, defining focal points, goals and working processes. The core activity in the initial years was making the knowledge and expertise of Brunel specialists available free of charge to non-profit organizations and associations that lacked budget but were working to make society a better place.
The first steps toward local partnerships were taken, and the Brunel Foundation became one of the charities benefiting from end-of-year donations from clients and employees. This gave it the opportunity to financially support existing projects and initiate new ones.
Coding workshops for children
In 2015, the Brunel Foundation organized coding workshops for children. These workshops were designed and supervised by our Brunel IT colleagues. Children learned about digital literacy, how to code, build a website and explore technology in an informal and social environment at one of our Brunel offices. Our workshops were frequently attended by children on the autism spectrum. In conversation with the parents and children, we learned about the issues and challenges they face on a day-to-day basis.
Creating awareness – Team-building
The Brunel Foundation organised team-building sessions for all Human Resources Managers in the Netherlands. In small groups, our colleagues discussed various topics relating to people who find it hard to access the labour market, in particular people with autism. They learned more about the difficulties these people face in finding a job and what their role in this process could be.
Autism and work
The Foundation and the Dutch Autism Association (NVA) joined forces to help enable meaningful employment for people on the autism spectrum. Brunel Foundation and the NVA collaborate on the WorkWeb-Autism project, an online tool that helps people with autism disorders find suitable employment opportunities. The Brunel Foundation also organized 'AUT in the Brunel Office', where they invited people with autism to a transparent and open introductory meeting with one of our consultants.
Tech Playgrounds partnership
In 2018, the Brunel Foundation partnered with Tech Playgrounds, a workshop where (neuro-divergent) teenagers and coaches with a distance to the labour market come together, interact on a social level and create great things. This partnership is actually a blueprint for how the Brunel Foundation strives to work with local partners: making the knowledge and expertise of Brunel specialists available in combination with financial support and the opportunity to strengthen each other.
Brunel Foundation goes global
Starting with a focus on the Netherlands, the Foundation went global in 2019 and, by the end of the year, the Brunel Foundation community was up and running. In all regions, the Foundation works together with colleagues who strive to motivate others and set up regional initiatives that contribute to our mission.
Brunel Global Trash n’ Trace challenge
Since the Brunel Global Trash 'n Trace challenge built around the Litterati app was introduced in June 2020, thousands of pieces of litter have been picked up and registered in our challenge. Brunellers, friends, family and many others have rolled up their sleeves and joined us on our journey to clean up the Earth and eradicate litter. The data collected in the app are used to create awareness, cultivate a new mindset, challenge organizations and – on different levels – find sustainable solutions for a litter-free world.
Building new habits
The Brunel Foundation also launched a campaign to raise awareness among our colleagues about making sustainable choices in their private lives. Making these choices is all about building new habits: discovering what can we change on a daily basis that will impact the environment on a global scale – one habit at a time.
Brunel Foundation Forest
The Brunel Foundation Forest came to life by partnering with EcoMatcher. This certified B corporation and UN partner plants trees and forests with vetted foundations and NGOs from around the world that specialise in planting trees. Through technology, EcoMatcher knows everything about every tree, ensuring total transparency. In June 2022, every Bruneller was gifted a tree that can be visited virtually. What began in July 2021 with 1,000 trees in Thailand has since grown into a huge forest of 16,000 trees across the world.
The Brunel Foundation embraces upcycling. Upcycling occurs when old, worn or otherwise 'unusable' materials are transformed into something that is valuable and functional again – and often even more beautiful than before. Working together with Vanhulley and NAAICE, we turn unused Brunel-branded items into something new and unique.
Brunel Foundation 10th anniversary
The journey of the Brunel Foundation started in December 2012. In the space of ten years, the Foundation has grown from an idea to a reality that mobilises initiatives in line with Brunel’s ESG strategy. Today, the Foundation operates globally, relying on its community members around the world. We have thoroughly enjoyed this first decade of ‘doing good together’. December 2022 is a month of festivities: a time to look back, but above all to look forward!