April 25, 2017
April 18, 2017
Families stay at the Reynolds Home in El Paso for an average of four to six months.
For the past 26 years, Reynolds Home in El Paso has provided a safe refuge for women and their families who are homeless or escaping physical abuse. Most of that time, the shelter survived on volunteer work from a caring community to keep the doors open.
With the need for their services increasing, contributions from the private sector, including $1,825 from the Sundt Foundation, enabled Reynolds Home to hire staff and double the size of the shelter.
“The cost of running a shelter is high,” said Reynolds Home Director Dorothy Truax. “We’re always looking for options. It’s very limited. We need a lot of support from all over.”
The facility is busy, with 13 to 16 moms and up to 35 children staying there an average of four to six months. Reynolds Home is one of three similar shelters in El Paso. Dorothy said roughly half the families who enter Reynolds are escaping domestic violence. El Paso is among the top five counties in Texas for most domestic violence deaths.
Reynolds staff members, called Family Workers, go beyond providing shelter and meals for the families. They take women who often have very little education or work experience and help them find jobs and homes.
“When they come in, many women feel like they can’t make it on their own,” Dorothy said. “They prove they can take care of themselves and their kids.”
It takes a team effort to help these women and their families regain their independence. Family Workers get to see inspirational stories firsthand as women and their families go from frightened and unsure to confident and independent.
“The change from when a mom first comes in to when she leaves is tremendous,” Dorothy said. “Regaining belief in herself is just part of it. We have moms who come back to visit 20 years after staying here.”
This is the third in a series of stories about non-profit organizations that were supported by the Sundt Foundation in 2016. The articles will appear on our blog on Tuesdays through May 23.
April 11: Project Healing Waters
April 18: Restore Education
April 11, 2017
Restore Education students are eight times more likely to earn college degrees than average GED graduates.
In Bexar County, more than 35,000 youth and 300,000 adults do not have a high school diploma or GED, the high school equivalence certificate. The impacts on the San Antonio region include demands on social services, strains on the justice system and the loss of good jobs to places such as Austin because of that region’s better-educated workforce.
“There’s quite a bit of economic disparity and big pockets of poverty (in San Antonio),” said Restore Education Executive Director Kelli Rhodes, whose organization helps area youth complete a high school equivalency credential and college degrees after dropping out of school.
Restore Education has spent the past nine years providing adult education, college preparation and workforce connection services to more than 4,500 residents from San Antonio and surrounding areas of Bexar County. It’s the only organization in the region that offers an integrated General Education Development (GED) and college prep program to dropouts and provides continued support to graduates as they complete college. Participants attend classes at Restore Education’s learning center in central Bexar County or at one of its satellite sites.
The results are clear: Restore students are eight times more likely to earn college degrees than average GED graduates. Restore Education even covers the $170 cost of its participants taking the GED exam. Proceeds from a $2,150 grant from the Sundt Foundation helped cover some of those expenses.
“We offer an individualized adult education program,” Kelli said. “Each person gets his or her own learning plan and is connected to one of our staff. We pay for their tests and can connect them to resources to pay for bus passes and childcare.”
Kelli said students who participate in adult education programs can increase their yearly income by as much as $10,000. Moreover, being in an adult education program has a direct impact on the literacy of the students’ children. These students are also the first in their families to attend college.
“What I’ve learned is that all students left high school for a reason,” Kelli said. “It wasn’t because they didn’t want to be there. But they all willingly choose to come here to improve their employment and change their lives.
This is the second in a series of stories about non-profit organizations that were supported by the Sundt Foundation in 2016. The articles will appear on our blog on Tuesdays through May 23.
April 4, 2017
A $2,500 Sundt Foundation grant helped Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing take 11 veterans on a fishing trip in Arizona.
When American veterans return home from overseas deployments, there’s often a degree of physical and emotional rehabilitation that must take place. Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing has found a unique and enjoyable way to meet the needs of those who have bravely served our country.
The organization provides a free fly-fishing experience to an ever-expanding number of disabled active duty military and disabled veterans.
The program, which recently received a $2,500 grant from the Sundt Foundation, helps veterans:
• overcome physical limitations;
• improve dexterity and fine motor skills;
• tackle depth-perception issues;
• gain better focus and concentration;
• develop friendships;
• build camaraderie with other vets who have faced similar challenges;
• gain confidence;
• become more comfortable around larger groups of people.
Project Healing Waters originated in 2005, serving wounded service members returning from combat in Afghanistan and Iraq to Walter Reed Army Medical Center. The organization has since expanded nationwide, establishing its highly successful program in Department of Defense hospitals, Warrior Transition units and Veterans Affairs Medical Centers and Clinics.
There are more than 200 Project Healing Waters programs across the United States.
“We focus our resources wherever the local need is greatest and expand our partner base in the process,” said Phoenix Project Lead Norm Johnson. “We have been recognized as an innovative leader and model in the field of therapeutic outdoor recreation for the disabled through our successful application of the sport of fly fishing, fly-tying and rod building as rehabilitation tools.”
The program in Phoenix started in April 2013 with seven veterans and 11 volunteers. By 2016, it had grown to 68 veterans and 61 volunteers, with locations in Phoenix and Gilbert.
Thanks to the Sundt Foundation grant, Project Healing Waters this past November took 11 disabled veterans on a three-day fly-fishing experience in the lakes and streams of Arizona’s White Mountains. The gift covered the cost for the veterans’ transportation and food and lodging, plus five guides.
This is the first in a series of stories about non-profit organizations that were supported by the Sundt Foundation in 2016. The articles will appear on our blog on Tuesdays through May 23.
November 28, 2016
Arizona residents are passionate about improving education in their state. The strength of our classrooms has a direct impact on the health of our communities.
Expect More Arizona is a nonprofit advocacy organization working to ensure every child receives an excellent education. Expect More Arizona’s priorities include early literacy, teacher recruitment and retention, post-secondary attainment and more.
Today is Arizona Gives Day, an important opportunity to support the meaningful work of great organizations such as Expect More Arizona. Sundt has contributed $5,000 to support the cause of improved education and workforce development.
Private support makes it possible for Expect More Arizona to raise awareness of important education issues and create opportunities to support students and teachers locally and statewide.
Learn more about the organization or donate here.
Improving the places where we do business involves much more than the built environments we create. It also includes a longstanding commitment to helping the less fortunate through employee-owner and company support of the Sundt Foundation.
Earlier this month, we made top philanthropic company lists in Arizona released by Arizona Business Magazine and the Phoenix Business Journal. This past fiscal year, which ended Sept. 30, employee-owner and matching company donations in the state added up to $317,300. The previous fiscal year’s total was $310,800.
Created in 1999, the Sundt Foundation has made more than $7.2 million in grants to community organizations and programs across the country that benefit disadvantaged children and adults.