Social Impact

Unlocking University Education Opportunities In Italy

An Oliver Wyman team in Milan built a program to help disadvantaged students reach university and will step up as volunteer mentors 

When the Milan nonprofit Fondazione Don Gino Rigoldi approached Oliver Wyman’s Italian team about helping to set up a college mentorship program for disadvantaged high schoolers, Oliver Wyman didn’t just build the framework for the program. Oliver Wyman also did a round of fundraising among clients and signed up as volunteer mentors. 

Fondazione Don Gino Rigoldi was founded in 1972 to help young people coming out of the correctional system re-enter society. The youth learn a trade and get access to housing, education programs, and social and psychological support. Founder Don Gino, the former chaplain of a juvenile remand home in Milan, at the age of 83 is still active every day at the remand home and inspires and leads all the foundation initiatives.

The foundation has always been focused on the immediate and short-term survival needs of young people. But Fondazione Don Gino Rigoldi had a larger vision and asked Oliver Wyman to help imagine a program aimed at longer term educational impact, focused on high school students from vulnerable neighborhoods of Milan. The program would offer mentorship and financial support for students who have the potential to be successful at university, but lack the means, and often the vision, to even consider enrolling. The result is a mentorship program called Credito al Futuro. 

We were searching for an opportunity to engage in social impact and create social value in a new space, making use of our unique capabilities: imagination, program design, consensus building and a network of potential corporate donors and mentors. In these times of great tension and uncertainty, it is more important than ever to guide disadvantaged young people to opportunities and prevent the dispersion of talent
Giovanni Viani, Partner, Oliver Wyman

An Oliver Wyman Social Impact project team supported the foundation’s team to turn the mentorship idea into a designed program, identifying the broad range of educational and financial needs to be addressed. Oliver Wyman set up the program, first creating awareness in target high schools, then designing a selection process for candidates, supporting university access, and creating a mentoring infrastructure involving specialists and mentors from sponsoring partners, including Oliver Wyman and Marsh McLennan. 

This project was a unique and enriching opportunity to give back, making use of typical consulting skills for a high-impact and non-profit cause, an educational escalator for young people in need
Francesca Della Fiore, Associate, Oliver Wyman

As a result of the joint work, the foundation is launching the first class of Credito al Futuro for the 2023 academic year. The program enrolled the first set of ten sponsors, including one sponsorship from Marsh McLennan and one from the Oliver Wyman Milan partner team. As the initiative goes live, the first ten students will be selected and the first batch of mentors will be enrolled, including Oliver Wyman and Marsh McLennan professionals.

This is only the start. In coming years, program leaders expect more sponsorships so the foundation can expand the initiative and ensure that more talented young people get the opportunity of education that can change their destinies. 

Through the foundation, we want to support as many projects as possible dedicated to the growth and training of young people, especially those who, for social or economic reasons, have fewer possibilities to plan their own future. We will accompany them for a part of their journey to help them get a different and better future for themselves and their families
Don Gino Rigoldi, Founder, Fondazione Don Gino Rigoldi