Pleasanton Weekly

News - March 7, 2014

Livermore's Sandia employees give $189,154 to charities

205 different organizations benefit from Caring Program campaign

by Jeb Bing

Employees and retirees at Sandia National Laboratories in Livermore donated $189,154 last year to the lab's Employee Caring Program, with all of it being disbursed to designated nonprofit organizations at the donors' requests.

Altogether, Sandia employees here and at its Albuquerque headquarters installation contributed $6,050,426 to the program in 2013.

Although handled by United Way of Central New Mexico in Albuquerque, Sandia's local contributions were separated out and sent to organizations designated by Livermore employees. Most of those contributions were earmarked for Tri-Valley and East Bay organizations.

A report by Randy Woodcock, vice president and chief strategic officer of the United Way of Central New Mexico, shows there were 205 different 501(c)(3) organizations that Sandia Livermore employees designated their gifts to in the fall 2013 campaign through the Sandia National Laboratories SHARE campaign. There were 80 employees who elected not to designate their gifts to a specific agency, and 100% of their undesignated contributions of $26,420.28 went to the United Way of the Bay Area.

Through the SHARE campaign, donors may designate their gifts to any charity in the U.S. and those donations then go to the charities of their choice. The United Way of Central New Mexico processes the Livermore employees' contributions but does not deduct any administrative or fundraising expense.

In fact, Woodcock's report shows major contributions by Sandia's Livermore employees to a large number of Tri-Valley charities, including $16,251.76 to Shepherd's Gate in Livermore, $7,465.72 to Open Heart Kitchen, $5,765.84 to the Tri-Valley Haven for Women, $5,890.08 to Tri-Valley Animal Rescue and $4,005.90 to Hope Hospice.

Other major contributions went to the American Cancer Society ($4,293.68), American Red Cross ($3,777.92) and Children's Hospital and Research Center Foundation in Oakland ($2,010.52).

Specifically designated contributions also went to St. Mary's Dining Room in Stockton ($3,020.95), Congregation Beth Emek ($3,199.86), Livermore Valley Educational Foundation ($2,720.78), Axis Community Health ($1,393.92) and Interfaith Sharing in Livermore ($2,070).

Local employees also showed a wide range of choices for their donations, including $50 or several hundred dollars to such organizations as Livermore's Asbury United Methodist Church's homeless refuge fund, Valley Crisis Pregnancy Center, Guide Dogs for the Blind, Livermore Valley Opera and the Patriots Jet Team Foundation in Byron.

Overall, the Sandia National Laboratories 2013 Employee Caring Program saw an increase of 8.2% in donations over the previous year, according to Kelly Westlake, chairwoman of the Sandia campaign.

"This level of generosity is astounding," Westlake said. "Sandians (including those in Livermore) faced the prospect of a lab shutdown due to the federal budget crisis early in the campaign and still came through, setting new records. Everyone at Sandia should be extremely proud."

Deputy laboratories director and executive vice president for mission support Kim Sawyer, chair-elect of the United Way of Central New Mexico board of directors and a past campaign chairwoman, said the response from Sandia staff and retirees this year demonstrated the strong culture of giving at the labs.

"Sandia has a rich history of supporting those who are most vulnerable," she said. "Every year we strive to do more to help the community."

Woodcock, who provided the Livermore list of contributions, has provided staff support to the Sandia Employee Caring Program since 1996.

"In the 18 years that I have supported the campaign, I am in awe how Sandia employees and retirees continue to surpass their aggressive goals each year," he said. "Last year we celebrated Sandia breaking the $5 million mark, and now to raise $6.05 million in a single campaign, especially in such a challenging economic climate, speaks volumes to how much Sandians care about helping their neighbors."

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