Sandia Gives, stronger together

By Katrina Wagner

Thursday, October 08, 2020

It started as an idea one family had to feed other families in need and keep restaurants in business when the pandemic hit.

“We felt helpless,” Sandia engineer Rachel Gupton said. “Schools weren’t open, restaurants weren’t open. We wanted to help, and went to the United Way of Central New Mexico, who helped bring our idea to life.”

Feeding Families was born, and community members raised $223,000 to feed 1,575 families, serve 16,000 meals and provide business assistance to 41 restaurants. This is an example of the power of partnerships that can happen when working with the United Way. Together, our dollars can help the community in multiple ways. The United Way supports nonprofit organizations that demonstrate success in helping people reach educational and stability goals.

Need is Now

In April, Sandia partnered with the United Way of Central New Mexico to mobilize a donation portal and create a campaign to help New Mexico’s tribal communities that were hit especially hard with COVID-19.

Sandia employees donated $250,000 in a two-week period to help buy food, water and medical supplies. “That’s the most impressive thing I’ve seen in my 38 years at the United Way,” said Randy Woodcock, UWCNM’s vice president of corporate relations. About 1,600 people donated to the Need is Now campaign, demonstrating that participants can choose to give an amount they can afford and the contributions together add up to make a big impact.

Together Apart

The United Way Bay Area COVID-19 Community Relief Fund was established to address community needs by bringing together UWBA’s broad community network, corporate partners, local government agencies, schools and other community-based organizations.

Sandia mobilized to establish the Together Apart campaign. Sandia employees and the Corporate Contributions program contributed nearly $20,000 that went toward COVID relief funds for both the UWBA and United Way of San Joaquin, to help those in need with things like food assistance and living expenses.

The COVID-19 Community Relief Fund has raised $4.9 million to date and has distributed more than $4.3 million to 97 nonprofit organizations across eight Bay Area counties.

“There was a huge ask in the community for rental relief when the pandemic hit,” said Kevin Zwick, UWBA executive director. “Everybody rolled up their sleeves and figured out how to meet this need.”

Mission support

The UWCNM works with hundreds of community partners to focus and align the community around shared strategies designed to improve family stability and education through Mission: Families and Mission: Graduate.

These initiatives represent a comprehensive approach to improving outcomes for children, youth and families at scale in the central New Mexico region. The Community Impact Fund uses contributions to make the greatest impact by awarding grants to nonprofit programs also focused on family stability and education attainment. These UWCNM programs mirror the Sandia Corporate Contributions program, which also prioritizes funding for programs that support educational success and family stability.

Sandia employees can sign up to donate to the nonprofit organizations of their choice through the United Way during the annual Sandia Gives campaign, happening now. It doesn’t take a lot to make a big difference.

When there is a need, Sandia shows up. Employees have contributed more than $117 million since 1957, and this year, donations are needed more than ever.

Sandia employees contributed about $4.5 million during last year’s campaign, and retirees also made a significant impact, contributing $700,000 to the campaign.

This year, the Sandia Gives campaign has set a goal to increase employee participation from 45% to 50%, to continue the Labs’ long-standing commitment to the communities where we live and work.

Related employee videos:

United Way of Central New Mexico President Rodney Prunty thanks Sandians

Labs Director James S. Peery kicks off 2020 Sandia Gives campaign

Sandia Gives flyer