Sandia Gives campaign encourages informed, compassionate giving

By Katrina Wagner

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Volunteer and Sandia health educator Jenny Thomas
BOUNTIFUL HARVEST — Volunteer and Sandia health educator Jenny Thomas loads yellow peppers for delivery at Roadrunner Food Bank. United Way’s Community Fund provided nearly 2.8 million meals to those in need, including the nearly 26 percent of New Mexico children considered food insecure.  (Photo by Katrina Wagner)

For more than 60 years, members of the Sandia workforce have generously volunteered their time and given money to improve lives and help the local community in profound ways.

The 2018 Sandia Gives campaign will be the first that does not have a set goal for either contribution or participation. Instead, the campaign will provide data and information, inspire compassion, celebrate the past year’s contributions and help donors understand how they make an impact on the community.

The best way to help the most people

The United Way of Central New Mexico’s Community Fund improves the lives of the most vulnerable people by providing grants to nonprofits in central New Mexico. In 2018, community fund grants supported 82 projects and programs totaling $3 million.

“There are so many nonprofits providing critical services in central New Mexico, but I direct my United Way giving to the Community Fund because I know they’ve done all the vetting for me and have identified the agencies making the biggest impact,” said Roberta Rivera, campaign manager.

The Community Fund helps New Mexicans achieve their potential by supporting programs that focus on education, health, financial stability and basic needs. More than 60 percent of donors give some or all of their gifts to the Community Fund. United Way and volunteers on allocation panels ensure the gifts are invested wisely to support the services most needed in the community.

“During my 36 years with United Way, my wife and I have always contributed at least half of our gifts to support the Community Fund and other programs led by United Way. Combining your gift with more than 16,000 others creates a powerful engine to community change,” said Randy Woodcock of United Way Central New Mexico (UWCNM).

“Through two major initiatives — Mission: Graduate and Mission: Families — we’re working with several hundred partners to increase our impact and alignment. United Way’s community investment is essential to changing lives across central New Mexico,” Woodcock said.

Get involved: join a donor group

UWCNM supports donor groups, such as Women United, Young Leaders Society, Guys Give and the Hispano Philanthropic Society, that work to create change in central New Mexico. More than 800 Sandia employees are members of these and other donor groups, and new members are always welcome.

“I am proud to be a part of the Hispano Philanthropic Society for many reasons,” says society chair Katie Esquibel of project management. “We have grown a strong partnership with Polk Middle School and will be expanding this year. It is exciting and rewarding to connect with students, learn about their dreams and let them know there is a community behind them that believes in and supports them.

Lesley Drain

YARD DAY — Lesley "Sissy" Drain from Sandia’s Microsystems Assessments cleans the grounds at New Day Youth and Family Services, which provides shelter and services for homeless youth. New Day’s Life Skills Academy received a $51,040 grant from the Community Fund to help youth develop key skills to improve their emotional and social intelligence.  (Photo by Katrina Wagner)

“It has also been wonderful to connect with the educators and families of these students who are so passionate and committed to their students’ success,” Katie said. “We are also growing our membership community. I love connecting with like-minded people in our community who love New Mexico just as much as I do, and I am honored to be leading the group this year.”

United Way Bay Area fights poverty

According to a recent report, Struggling to Stay Afloat — the Real Cost Measure in California 2018, one in three households in California struggles every month to meet basic needs. That’s more than 3.3 million families, including those with income well above the federal poverty level.

The United Way Bay Area fights poverty with programs, such as SparkPoint, through which residents receive financial and career coaching along with tax help and food assistance at 21 locations. The program’s goal is to help people live more stable lives and take control of their finances. Participants in the SparkPoint program have experienced an average salary increase of more than $800 a month when they attend the program for two years. 

The SparkPoint Program is just one way the United Way Bay Area’s Community Fund supports residents.

“Last year, I managed a campaign at a local company where the employees’ average gifts were less than $800 annually. Together, its employees raised close to $1 million,” said Lynda Tolley, United Way Bay Area. “When donors combine their gifts and give back through United Way’s Community Fund, we make an enormous impact in the community — more than we can make individually.”

Collective Goods Book Fair

Albuquerque employees can support the Sandia Gives campaign by shopping at the Collective Goods Book Fair:

  • Tuesday-Thursday, Oct. 9-11, 10 a.m.-3 p.m., Steve Schiff lobby
  • Tuesday-Thursday, Oct. 16-18, 10 a.m.-3 p.m., Steve Schiff lobby
  • Tuesday-Thursday, Oct. 23-25, 10 a.m.-3 p.m., IPOC, 2nd floor break room