Over the last several years, local biotech company Teknova has operated an employee giving program which continues to expand each year. It began when United Way of San Benito County approached Teknova about developing a program to give back to their community.
The program asks all employees to donate some amount of money to a nonprofit. During the most recent giving campaign, Teknova raised $18,362. In previous years, the campaign raised $17,127 (2018-19), $10,500 (2017-18), $6,400 (2016-17) and $1,500 (2015-16).
“I give to the United Way because they support social justice in my community,” said purchasing assistant Robert Blasingame. “It is important to me that everyone grows up in a community with equal opportunities in education. No child should grow up without an equal education to their neighbor because of financial limitations.”
Lindsay (who asked that her last name not be used), another Teknova employee, said she never thought she’d need to reach out for help until she found herself stuck in a dangerous relationship.
“I went in search of help and I found myself in the arms of a woman I never met who brought my sons and me back to our feet,” she said. “They gave me guidance, shelter and friendship at a time I felt very alone and thought I had nowhere to turn. I am so grateful to the United Way and all they do for our community. Without the programs and volunteers, I do not know if I would still be here to raise my sons.”
United Way Director Vicki Fortino said Teknova had close to 80% employee participation this year, with donations—taken through payroll deductions—ranging from 50 cents to $50 per paycheck.
“They have supported the United Way employee giving for eight or nine years,” Fortino said.
Unless the donor specifies that their money should go to a specific nonprofit, money from the campaign goes into United Way’s community fund, which is allocated to nonprofits in the areas of youth success, financial stability for families, and good health for all residents.
“I am so thankful to Teknova, Irene and Ted Davis, and their leadership team for their continued support of United Way and our community,” Fortino said.
Bella Neufeld, scientific director with Teknova, is a recent transplant to San Benito County. She said United Way and the team welcomed her with open arms, and through meeting them she became part of Girls Inc. of the Central Coast and the adult literacy program at the San Benito County Free Library.
“I am honored to be a contributing member of this outstanding organization,” she said.
Other related BenitoLink articles: