Big Gives

By Stephanie Holinka

Friday, January 15, 2021

Sandia’s employee and corporate giving campaigns shine during pandemic year

Participants at Common Bond thank Sandia employees
SIGN OF THE HOLIDAY GIVING TIMES Participants at the local charity Common Bond thank Sandia employees for helping with a donation of $5,000, as part of the United Way Healthy Living, Healthy Giving campaign. (Photo courtesy of Common Bond)

In an extraordinary year that tore many at the Labs away from their extended family and work colleagues, Sandia employees came together to support charities and projects that contribute to resilience within its New Mexico and California communities.

Sandia employees contributed $4.8 million to the annual Sandia Gives 2020 campaign, which benefits United Way of Central New Mexico, United Way of the Bay Area and other nonprofits. The campaign achieved a recent record, increasing donations by $324,000 over 2019.

“Sandia employees and retirees have supported vital needs in our communities for more than 60 years,” said Labs Director James Peery. “The challenges of 2020 brought that generosity to a new level. Throughout the year, Sandians answered every call to donate time, money, goods and services to those facing unforeseen hardships. The impact has been profound. I could not be prouder of our workforce.”

The New Mexico site’s annual Holiday Gift Drive, which went virtual this year, raised more than $33,000 to ensure that every child in Bernalillo County foster care received a gift during the holidays. National Technology & Engineering Solutions of Sandia, LLC, also contributed a corporate donation of $12,500 to NM Kids Matter to support their Court Appointed Special Advocates program. The program advocates for children who have been abused or neglected and works with children in foster care to ensure their needs are met and their voices are heard.

“Sandia employees are generous with their money and with their time,” says Community Involvement Manager Amy Tapia. “This year, they stepped up at a time when the need was greatest.”

Sandians in New Mexico and California also contributed to the Marine Toys for Tots Program at both locations. The Albuquerque drive donated about $9,500, roughly half the total monetary donations from all sources in previous years. The California campaign raised garnered 240 toys.

Unprecedented need

In addition to its regular giving efforts, Sandia and its employees responded to calls for monetary and volunteer help to meet unique needs generated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sandia employees in New Mexico were challenged to raise $15,000 in 15 days to support the drastic increase in food insecurity in the early months of the pandemic. Employees exceeded the challenge amount and donated more than $75,000. An additional $25,000 came from National Technology & Engineering Solutions of Sandia, the contractor that manages the Labs. In addition to raising $100,000 for the Roadrunner Food Bank, hundreds of employees volunteered to sort food, while following COVID safe practices.

In late April, a grassroots effort initiated by Sandia’s workforce sparked a Labs-wide fundraising drive for hard-hit tribal communities in New Mexico, which accounted for disproportionate numbers of COVID-19 cases. The American Indian Outreach Committee (AIOC) and Community Involvement coordinated The Need is Now fundraising drive, which generated more than $225,000 from 1,766 donors in just two weeks, plus a $25,000 match from NTESS. In early May, the AIOC brought supplies and donations to Zuni Pueblo’s Emergency Mobile Pantry, which supports elders and pueblo members most in need while under lockdown as the COVID-19 pandemic swept through McKinley County.

Employees also contributed more than $20,000 to the California site’s Together Apart campaign, which supported local efforts to provide critical resources to the Bay Area community during the pandemic. NTESS also contributed $10,000 for a total donation of $30,000 to the United Way of the Bay Area and United Way of San Joaquin. In support of local efforts to provide food security in California, NTESS provided $15,000 to the Alameda County Community Food Bank. Sandia volunteers and their families joined in and bagged 24 pounds of produce and more than 14,000 pounds of pasta.

Volunteer coordinator Katrina Wagner says that, despite the limited opportunities for in-person volunteering this year due to pandemic restrictions, every volunteer opportunity was fully subscribed quickly by eager volunteers ready to help.

Corporate donations

The generosity of Sandia employees was also supported by NTESS corporate contributions to emergency relief, food security and family stability, in addition to annual support of education and STEM activities. In 2020, NTESS contributed $1.4 million on behalf of Sandia to local communities, including $175,000 in the Livermore area.

Early in the Spring, NTESS was the first corporate partner to step up and donate $20,000 to the United Way of Central New Mexico’s Emergency Response Fund, which supported nonprofits hurt by the pandemic. Funds went toward basic needs, economic development and recovery and family stability.

NTESS also contributed $120,000 to the United Way of Central New Mexico Corporate Cornerstone Program and Donor Group Sponsorship. Cornerstone Partners support the work of the United Way including Mission: Graduate and Mission: Families, the 2-1-1 helpline, Tax Help New Mexico and the Family Advocacy Center. Sandia also donates to individual community efforts that support domestic violence survivors, foster children, and those facing homelessness and food insecurity. 

To learn more about Sandia’s corporate contributions, see Sandia’s annual giving report.