Amy Tapia is the Community Relations Manager at Sandia National Labs, She is an active partner in our work. She was recently honored for her work as a mentor for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central New Mexico. This article was originally published in the Sandia LabNews.
The United Way’s Sandia Gives campaign is very special to me, and I’d like for you to consider participating this year.
Sandia has a long tradition of giving generously to both the United Way and 501(c)(3) charities, beginning with its first United Way campaign in 1957. Sandia has since made it easier to support our communities by conveniently giving to the United Way of Central New Mexico through payroll deductions, while underscoring the critical role Sandians have in making life better for those in our communities who are struggling.
You may choose to allocate your donations to United Way or opt to give to other charities that support our communities. And the needs in our local communities are great. In New Mexico, 30% of children live in poverty. In the Bay Area, one in five residents lives in poverty. Too many young people in New Mexico and California are not completing post-secondary education and are unable to earn a living wage.
Local United Way organizations and many local nonprofits depend on Sandia employees’ generosity to provide services to the most vulnerable among us. Every year, Sandians generously give through payroll deductions, providing more than 30% of the funds given to the UWCNM.
Sandia’s workforce participation has been as high as 90% but is currently at an all-time low of 45%. This year, the Sandia Gives campaign is looking for 2,020 new Sandia Gives donors in calendar year 2020.
I remember being given a blue pledge card on the first day I started at Sandia. I signed my name to receive my benefits and signed my name to commit 1% of my paycheck to the UWCNM. I was excited to work for a company that valued exceptional service to our nation, as well as to our local communities.
In the ensuing years, I served as a loaned executive to UWCNM and helped allocate donor funds to the programs that have the most impact in serving those in need. These experiences allowed me to better understand the tremendous needs in my community, and to see how the UWCNM and many nonprofits are working tirelessly to meet those needs.
United Way helps increase family stability and educational attainment. Children can’t thrive and finish school when they’re facing trauma, so the focus is on tackling the root cause of that trauma and preventing it for the next generation.
The United Way of the Bay Area also is addressing the greatest challenges faced by their residents who struggle to make ends meet with skyrocketing housing costs and a high cost of living.
National Technology and Engineering Solutions of Sandia and Sandia’s senior leadership team have preserved Sandia’s corporate giving, which represents another part of our giving culture. Annually, $1.4 million of fees are invested in educational excellence, family stability and community leadership, primarily through grants to local nonprofits in Albuquerque, Carlsbad and Livermore.
NTESS is a UWCNM Corporate Cornerstone Partner, providing $100,000 annually, as well as sponsoring UWCNM leadership giving groups, including Young Leaders Society, Women United, Hispano Philanthropic Society, Guys Give and the Tocqueville Society. These donor groups provide an opportunity for many of our dedicated Sandia employees who believe in the power of UWCNM to work together to make positive change in our community.
Maybe you aren’t sure how much you can really afford. I get it — many new employees have graduated from college with debt, are purchasing their first homes or are starting families. Many midcareer employees might be preparing to send kids off to college.
You don’t have to give a lot to make a difference. One dollar a week, or $52 dollars a year, can provide 26 books for low-income children that have few or no books at home. Five dollars a week, or $260 dollars a year, can provide 50 wool blankets for people living in a shelter. The idea is to participate, give what you can and be a part of Sandia’s commitment to doing what we can to improve the lives of our neighbors.
I look forward to increasing Sandia’s participation in the Sandia Gives campaign, as you thoughtfully consider being part of 2,020 new donors in 2020.