Employees eager to return to HOME following terrorist attacks, aftermath

Oct. 26, 2001

Employees eager to return to HOME following terrorist attacks, aftermath




In the aftermath of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, some Lab employees are keeping a little closer to HOME — in this case, the campaign to Help Others More Effectively

The HOME Campaign, the Laboratory’s annual fund-raising effort to help community-based charities, along with umbrella agencies such as the United Way and the Tri-Valley Community Fund, among others, returns on Wednesday, Oct. 31. The Nonproliferation, Arms Control and International Security Directorate will chair this year’s campaign, while Computation will sponsor the annual Run for HOME and Agency Fair, which kicks off the campaign (see accompanying story).

Following the events of Sept. 11, employees began calling the organizers of the HOME Campaign to see if charities such as the United Way’s Sept. 11 Fund or the American Red Cross would be included in this year’s drive. Those funds were quickly added to the campaign.

“Employees have a real interest in helping any way they can,” said Roger Werne, this year’s campaign chairman. “The HOME Campaign has always been about awareness of other people’s needs. That need is pretty evident this year.”

“With the crisis that is going on, now is an appropriate time to think about giving and helping others,” explained Wayne Shotts, the associate director for NAI. “There are a great number of folks who need help out there. HOME is an excellent way to reach out.”

Each November, the Lab stages its annual campaign to “Help Others More Effectively” by raising money for a long list of employee-chosen agencies and umbrella groups. Employees may also select their own agencies through a write-in campaign, making any school, church or nonprofit entity with 501(c)3 tax status eligible to benefit from HOME.

Employees may contribute through a one-time donation, payroll deduction or appreciated assets. However, donations made to the Sept. 11-related funds will be through one-time contribution only.

This year’s goal is $1.3 million dollars, an slight increase from last year’s tally of $1.26 million.

Werne and Shotts expect another successful campaign — for the past three years, the Lab has eclipsed the million-dollar mark — but they also expect a few challenges. “But meeting those challenges is worth the effort for the benefits we can make in the daily lives of people who are our neighbors,” Werne said.

“Our employees realize how fortunate they are and have always had an awareness of others’ needs,” said Shotts. Although employees are showing interest in contributing to Sept. 11 funds, Shotts emphasized the growing needs in the local community.

Over the years, many of the employee-chosen agencies have come to rely on HOME Campaign dollars. These are agencies with small operating budgets that cannot afford to advertise or market their needs.

“Remember that the focus of HOME has always been the local community,” Shotts said. “People need to realize that the attacks of Sept. 11 are not just focused on the East Coast. They’ve had a domino effect on charities in our own community, which were already stressed.”

As an example Shotts cited charities that provide counseling, grief support and other crisis services. Many of these agencies found their resources already tested due to rising unemployment in the area. The Sept. 11 attacks are adding to that stress, he said.

So while employees are encouraged to contribute to the Sept. 11 funds, both Werne and Shotts remind people to remember their own community as well. “Just because many of us live in affluent communities, it doesn’t mean the needs are not there,” said Werne.

A good starting point for learning more about the agencies that represent those needs is through the Agency Fair, which begins at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday, Oct. 31, in the Z-1 and Z-2 parking lots (near Bldg. 111). During the fair, nonprofit organizations that stand to benefit from HOME set up informational booths on the work they do. Lab employees, who volunteer their time to assist the various agencies, staff many of these booths.

The HOME Campaign began 27 years ago as a way to assist Tri-Valley agencies that were, at that time, largely unsupported by the United Way. Over the years, the campaign has become a major fund-raiser for many of the employee-chosen agencies listed in the HOME Campaign packet. Groups such as Shepherd’s Gate, Tri-Valley Haven for Women and Tri-Valley Animal Rescue have come to rely on the HOME Campaign for a healthy percentage of their annual budget. Even the United Way’s Bay Area chapter cites the Lab as a top “corporate” contributor.

This year, the Lab received the Tri-Valley Community Champion Award for its “exemplary record of employee volunteering and fund-raising,” which includes the HOME Campaign. The Tri-Valley Community Foundation, Shaklee Corporation and Tri-Valley Community Television presented the award.

HOME Campaign packets will be distributed to employees the week of Oct. 29. The campaign will close Dec. 7. Johnson Controls, the Lab’s contractor for supplemental labor, will once again provide matching funds for every dollar contributed by its workforce.

As an incentive to participate in the campaign, NAI will offer a series of weekly drawings, in which employees who return their contribution packets will become eligible for various prizes – from restaurant certificates to wine country tours.

The incentive drawings will be held Nov. 7, 14, 21 and 28 and Dec. 5. The deadlines for turning in packets to become eligible for the drawings are Nov. 2, 9, 16, 21 and 30.

For more information about the HOME Campaign, see the Website at http://www-r.llnl.gov/home2001/