Livermore's Sandia employee contributions stay here

Most of 2013 'giving campaign' funds help Tri-Valley charities

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.

Most of the contributions by Livermore employees were earmarked for Tri-Valley and East Bay organizations.

An earlier story posted on the Pleasanton Weekly website erroneously indicated that the donations from Livermore were folded into the laboratories' $6,050,426 raised in the 2013 Employee Caring Program and then disbursed to New Mexico nonprofits.

That information was based on a press release Sandia issued citing the amount raised in Livermore, but then listing only New Mexico charities as recipients.

Randy Woodcock, vice president and chief strategic officer of the United Way of Central New Mexico, said that while that organization processed all of the contributions made by Livermore employees, it then forwarded 100% of their donations to the charities of their choice.

His report lists the 205 different 501(c)3 organizations that SNL 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 $26,810 will go to the Community Fund of the United Way of the Bay Area.

"No SNL Livermore contributors' unrestricted gifts go to charities in New Mexico," Woodstock said.

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, Woodstock's report shows major contributions by Sandia' 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.

Undesignated contributions totaling $26,420.28 went to the United Way of the Bay Area.

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).

Sandians in Livermore 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's campaign in Albuquerque, where Sandia is headquartered.

"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."

Kim Sawyer, Sandia National Laboratories executive vice president and deputy laboratories director, works with children at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Central New Mexico, an educational program supported by the United Way. Sawyer is chair-elect of the United Way of Central New Mexico and a past campaign chairwoman.

Of the total giving, $1,575,949 was designated to the Community Fund, up $66,347 from the previous year. The fund supports a range of nonprofit agencies and programs that help people in Bernalillo, Sandoval, Torrance and Valencia counties in New Mexico.

Deputy Laboratories Director and Executive Vice President for Mission Support Kim Sawyer, chair-elect of the United Way of Central New Mexico (UWCNM) 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."

Ed Rivera, UWCNM's president and CEO, said Sandia's generosity is an inspiration. Since the Employee Caring Program was launched in 1957, Sandia has been the single largest supporter of the organization's annual campaign, contributing more than $82 million.

"Sandia National Labs is an exemplary partner in the work of the United Way of Central New Mexico," he said. "In addition to raising millions each year in their Employee Caring Program, many Sandians are engaged as volunteers throughout central New Mexico and in so many areas of United Way's work. This includes services in key leadership roles on our board of directors and in vital volunteer council work that guides our programmatic endeavors to benefit 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 says. "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."


Like this comment
Posted by John
a resident of Vineyard Hills
on Feb 28, 2014 at 12:02 pm

What did the Sandia Livermore site spokesperson have to say about this?

Like this comment
Posted by Scott
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 28, 2014 at 12:09 pm

I work at Sandia, and this information is not correct. The charitable donation campaign was indeed run by United Way of Central New Mexico, but employees at the Livermore site were allowed to choose from many local charities in and around Livermore as the recipients of our donations.

Like this comment
Posted by James
a resident of Livermore
on Feb 28, 2014 at 6:39 pm

Seriously, where is the fact checking? The headline and opening sentence are both hogwash!

To add to Scott's point, not only are "employees allowed to choose from many local charities" but they are allowed to send their money to ANY charity, local, national, international, etc, by way of the program organizer.

If someone does not designate their funds to specific charities, then the UWCNM community fund would decide how to dispense the funds. This is exactly the same process which was used with Tri-Valley Community Fund, except that UWCNM doesn't steal the money.

Like this comment
Posted by James
a resident of Livermore
on Feb 28, 2014 at 8:36 pm

Thank you for getting the story right 12 hours after publishing, but the address for this story still perpetuates the original inaccuracies with it including 'sandias-livermore-lab-employees-give-189000-to-charities-150-in-new-mexico'

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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