April 18, 2017
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.
November 28, 2016
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 4, 2016
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.
October 24, 2016
The Sundt Foundation was formed in 1999 to give the company’s employee-owners opportunities to support the communities where they live and work. Over that time, the Foundation has made more than $7.2 million in grants to benefit nonprofits that assist disadvantaged children and adults. All of the Foundation’s expenses are absorbed by the company, ensuring that 100 percent of donations are given to deserving charities.
Longtime Sundt employee-owner Marian Enriquez, the company’s Corporate Director of Employee-Owner Experience and Diversity, is also Executive Director of the Foundation. She recently took a little time to explain the Foundation’s mission and the important role it plays in our company culture.
What was the impetus for the company starting the Sundt Foundation?
Former Sundt President/CEO J. Doug Pruitt spearheaded the creation of the Foundation inspired by Sundt’s community service culture, which is also one of our core values. Thanks to the contributions of employee-owners, during the past 17 years, the Sundt Foundation has reached numerous nonprofit organizations nationwide. These grants focus on disadvantaged children and adults, in line with our giving guidelines.
What does Sundt do to encourage employee-owners to participate?
The key to active employee-owner participation is to provide multiple opportunities for charitable activities.
Who decides which nonprofits get support?
The Foundation’s board of directors is made up of employee-owners who review and determine which nonprofits receive support based on recommendations from each corresponding local committee and for each main giving area. The Foundation makes more than $600,000 in grant awards each year. In order to see the effects of their generosity, employee-owners are encouraged to make check contributions in person to their local nonprofits each quarter.
What are some inspirational stories you can share about organizations the Foundation supports?
The Sundt Foundation’s water drive resonates more for me and it is probably because I live in the Phoenix valley where we have 113-plus degree weather. This Thirst-Aid water drive, in partnership with St. Joseph the Worker, generates approximately 200,000 bottles of water to the homeless in a given year. Lisa White, a Sundt employee-owner, has been doing a phenomenal job in taking the leadership in this cause. It is employee-owners such as Lisa who represent what Sundt is about.
The Arizona Heart Association Walk-A-Thon is another event that I’m quite passionate about, since heart disease accounts for more than 24 percent of deaths in the U.S and awareness is key to proactively addressing the symptoms that can save a life. I have also personally experienced the impact that heart disease can have in a family. Hence my goal is to be an advocate and help increase awareness. It is great that we are able to contribute to this important cause through our vehicle, the Sundt Foundation.
St. Vincent de Paul’s mission is another nonprofit that inspires me because of its diverse support of disadvantaged families nationwide. The Sundt Foundation has been actively supporting the organization through grants in addition to approximately 100 volunteer hours in a given year.
What does being Executive Director of the Foundation mean to you?
My role as the Sundt Foundation’s Executive Director has been a pivotal milestone in my career. Although, I’ve been a member of the Sundt Foundation for many years, these past three years have provided me with a closer view of how all employee-owner members are positively impacting the lives of many people through the Foundation.
I feel very proud to be part of a company that embraces serving the communities where we live and work. I work with a wonderful board of directors and local committee members who are also employee-owners and actively involved in various organizations nationwide. This has granted me with better appreciation of how these leaders at Sundt are helping us drive our mission and implementing ways to increase membership, which means more funds to help. It has also offered me an additional view of the opportunity and need that exists in our communities. It is a very humbling experience. It serves as a reminder for me about how fortunate we are to have access to simple things like clean water, food, and shelter and how we all have an opportunity to step up and help the less fortunate. I look forward to helping with the Sundt Foundation’s growth and success.
Our Thirst-Aid water drive helps the homeless in Phoenix.
Sundt does much more than construction. We also help build communities where we do business.
We are in the top 10 in both foundation and in-kind giving according to the latest Arizona Corporate Philanthropy lists compiled by The Phoenix Business Journal. In 2015, we made $458,000 in contributions in Arizona through our Sundt Foundation and $150,157 of in-kind donations, including tools, time, vehicle use and loaned office and meeting-room space for non-profits.
“We are honored to assist people in places where our employee-owners live and work,” said Sundt Foundation Executive Director Marian Enriquez. “Helping others is one of the bedrocks on which our company is built.”
Since its inception in 1999, the Sundt Foundation has made more than $7.2 million in grants to nonprofits that assist disadvantaged youth and adults. For more information on the Foundation, please take a look at last year’s annual report.