January 1, 2013

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Article

It’s Time to Give Back

Sarah Ryther Francom

January 1, 2013

In today’s challenging economic environment, giving back to the community may not be at the top of your company’s to-do list. Yet many businesses have discovered that now is not the time to stop giving and have remained committed to enhancing Utah through charitable actions.

In this issue, we learn what companies are doing to improve one of Utah’s most challenged, but vital, sectors: education. It’s no secret that Utah’s schools face funding hardships. As Peri Kinder describes in “A Smart Investment,” Utah’s per-student investment was $6,078 in 2011, significantly lower than the national average of $10,425 per student. Because of the considerable shortfalls, many businesses have made education a top priority in their charitable activities. Learn how these businesses are impacting Utah’s schools—and learn how you can become involved—on page 54.

Beyond the education industry, many Utah companies have found other areas in which they can have a meaningful impact, whether through giving monetary donations, volunteering or collecting much-needed items. Here’s a glimpse at just a few of the positive actions we feel are worth celebrating.

Snowbird Ski and Sumer Resort accepted food donations in trade for free tram rides and was able to collect and donate thousands of pounds of food to the Utah Food Bank. Salt Lake-based Simply Mac also helped the Utah Food Bank by donating more than $15,000 worth of food products. Bank of Utah branches collected coats, blankets and other warm clothing, all of which were donated to the Crossroads Urban Center. Bingham Canyon Mine Visitors Center Charitable Foundation collected and donated a record $211,000 to support many community charities. And Mountain America Credit Union’s annual golf fundraiser, Swing for the Kids, raised $100,000 for Primary Children’s Medical Center.

Many Utah-based companies are also having a national and international impact. Goal Zero recently donated nearly $600,000 in portable power products to victims affected by Hurricane Sandy. The company also donated its products to Japan after the 2011 tsunami tragedy. And Smith’s Food & Drug Stores donated $32,000 to support the American Cancer Society’s Quality of Life program.

While we are happy to celebrate the many charitable actions of these and other businesses, many of Utah’s nonprofits are in dire need. According to a report published by the Utah Community Foundation, Utah’s nonprofits experienced steep declines in corporate, foundation and individual giving during 2009 and 2010, which was followed by two years of flat donations. And according to the report, 31 percent of Utah nonprofits have less than three months of operating capital on hand.

If you’re inclined to give, the Utah Community Foundation has designated March 22 as Love Utah Give Utah, a day dedicated to donating. The foundation is encouraging businesses and individuals to donate to the nonprofit of their choice through the organization’s website, www.utahcf.org.

If a financial contribution is not an option for you or your company, there are still many ways you can help. Open your doors to a school tour, give employees time off to volunteer, coordinate a blood drive. However you choose to give, know that you and your company can have a big impact.  

From the Editor
Sarah Ryther Francom

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