The RS&H Elevate Fund’s fifth payout will touch the lives of many with a total donation close to $50,000 to 12 nonprofit organizations. Driven by RS&H associates, the Elevate Fund is an integral piece of the company’s culture – proving a dedication to assist the communities we serve in many ways.
A Growing Environmental Focus
In the past, Elevate Fund grants have supported a wide range of organizations. But this year, a new environmental focus emerged in addition to the existing tenants of helping people, empowering children and youth, and supporting education.
To support the growing environmental focus, the Elevate Fund awarded a grant to the St. Johns Riverkeeper, an organization dedicated to protecting the St. Johns River in Jacksonville, Florida. The funding will go toward an educational program that will provide educational kits to students in grades 6-12.
Supporting Youth Programs
The Elevate Fund also seeks to support youth programs – each one uniquely dedicated to providing opportunities for children to succeed. This year, the payout breakdown reflected that focus through several organizations.
Dedicated to cancer patient care, the Mario Lemieux Foundation will receive funds to create a space called “Austin’s Playroom,” an initiative with the goal of creating a fun space for children to enjoy while going through cancer treatment.
“I wanted to provide this donation in honor of a childhood friend who passed away due to a rare form of cancer,” said Mark McRobie, a construction management business development leader. “And this organization really lives by the gold standard when supporting cancer patients.”
Also in alignment with a dedication toward children is an annual initiative at RS&H – wheelchair-accessible Halloween costume building with Jacksonville’s Independent Living Resource Center. The grant will fully fund three children’s costumes this year, allowing RS&H designers to continue bringing joy to children, their families, and their community.
Helping People Grow & Thrive
Personal and collective development is critical to growth, also making it a core focus for the Elevate Fund each year.
Nathan Stinnette, an environmental and sustainability specialist, nominated Pine Castle to receive an Elevate Grant. Nathan has been actively involved since 2015.
The grant will fully fund the revision of Pine Castle’s main lobby area, also presenting an opportunity for RS&H associates to lend their design services. The space will be reimagined to create a calming area that supports learning and growth for adults with autism.
And to bring families together, a grant will fund the Good News Outreach organization’s mission to renovate a community center for 132 residents of Maryland Oaks Crossing in Tallahassee, Florida.
Mariano Berrios Gonzalez, a senior transportation specialist, volunteered with the organization to help bring food to 11,000 people amid the pandemic, and knows that the funds will advance important work in the community.
Educating Through Programming
Educational programs serve a wide variety of ages and help further the Elevate Fund’s mission of making education accessible to everyone.
One program that helps achieve that is the Communities in Schools (CIS) of Jacksonville organization. A past Elevate grant recipient, the organization received a grant to continue supporting FIRST LEGO League, an important part of CIS Jacksonville’s educational afterschool programs.
RS&H Vice President Jesse Forst, an active leader within CIS Jacksonville committees, sees the organization encouraging the next generation of engineers and architects.
Also fostering STEM-focused classes, the Celestial Therapeutic and Ornamental Gardens will provide education to students in a unique outdoor classroom with its grant.
To aid in supporting adult educational programs, an Elevate grant was awarded to the Literacy Alliance of Northeast Florida organization. “The grant will fund an adult technology literacy program that provides a crucial skillset and supplies amid the pandemic,” said RS&H fire protection associate Alexa Rucinski.
Empowering All Missions
Additional Elevate Fund grant recipients include the Desert Arc Foundation, where funds will go toward the reopening of their center for those with learning disabilities, and the ALS Association Golden West Chapter, where funds will support an initiative to match patients with caseworkers to closely serve and treat those in need.
To serve animals and give back, funds were also dedicated to the San Antonio Great Dane Rescue and Pilots N Paws, an organization that taps volunteer pilots to rescue abandoned animals and unite them with loving homes across the country. The nomination for the organization came from Tom Slater, RS&H’s 2020 Community Volunteer of the Year.
Serving Every Community
Through varied causes and organizations, Elevate Grant recipients support an important mission: to build a better tomorrow, together.
“Each year, the Elevate Fund – with the help of dedicated associates – identifies important causes, and we are determined to continue giving back in this way,” said RS&H CEO Dave Sweeney. “It’s a successful partnership at RS&H that truly benefits so many.”
Learn more about our commitment to community involvement at RS&H.