Earlier this year, the RS&H Board of Directors launched an initiative to dedicate a portion of the firm’s corporate profits to provide grants to nonprofit organizations. Now, the firm is ready to make its first donation -- $50,000 across 11 nonprofit groups.
The mission of the RS&H Elevate Fund supports associates in aiding the communities they work and live in by encouraging and funding volunteer and charitable activities that align with the company’s values. RS&H aims to provide grants to nonprofit organizations that focus on helping people in need, supporting children and youth programs, and enhancing education.
“A large part of our firm's character and culture stems from our associates' generosity,” said RS&H CEO Dave Sweeney. “This caring spirit manifests itself in the continued contribution of our time, talents, and dollars to support activities that improve the quality of life in our communities.”
The first Elevate Fund recipients are:
- Friends of Children of Brevard, Melbourne, Fla.: The funds will go to support kids in foster care to help them get items like clothing, beds, and school supplies. Nearly 1,000 children are in Brevard County’s foster care system and many are abused or neglected. RS&H associate Carl Madsen and his wife have been a part of the charity’s Guardian ad Litem program since 2016.
- Feeding the Gulf Coast, Milton, Fla.: With this funding, more than 75 children at Kate M. Smith Elementary School in Milton will be provided bags of nutritious, easy-to-prepare meals for the weekend each week. Associate Sharon Hynes donates her time to this organization.
- Court-Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) for Children, Geneva, Ill.: The Guardian ad Litem Program helps thousands of children who become the subject of the judicial proceedings each year. Citizens volunteer to represent the best interest of an assigned child. The funds will help with the training and support needed to prepare these volunteers. RS&H Vice President James Shaw has provided numerous hours of in-kind engineering services and regularly volunteers on CASA cases.
- Communities in Schools, Jacksonville, Fla.: The funding will support a STEM program called FIRST LEGO League for 3,441 disadvantaged elementary and middle school children in 24 Duval County Public Schools. Students use their imagination while learning and applying STEM concepts to solve a problem and develop critical thinking, team-building skills and presentation skills. Vice President Jesse Forst is the Treasurer and Chair of the Finance Committee for the charity.
- The Ability Experience, Charlotte, N.C.: Elevate funds will support the Ability Camp, a national service project of Ability Experience, that provides funding and manpower to build and renovate structures for camps and facilities serving the disability community. Associate Chris Ryle served as the local philanthropy chair while in college and has continued to serve regularly to support the organization, including building a playground for disabled children.
- MATHCOUNTS, Jacksonville, Fla.: MATHCOUNTS is the only live mathematics competition of its kind for middle school students. The program is providing today’s students with the foundation for success in science, technology, engineering and mathematics careers. RS&H’s give will impact 50 schools and more than 450 students. Associate Priscilla Brubeck has spent upward of 100 hours volunteering for the organization in the past year.
- Center for Independent Living, Orlando, Fla.: Funds granted will be used to purchase materials for the annual RAMPAGE event, supporting the build of four ramps for people with disabilities. The Center focuses on serving the low-income population: making it cost prohibitive to them and their families to have the ramp built on their own. Orlando Office Leader Edward Gonzalez has been passionate about this organization for over 4 years and has shared that passion with the Orlando office, getting them involved in building ramps.
- Tree Hill Nature Center, Jacksonville, Fla.: The funds will support the Outdoor Explorer Project, allowing 500 Title 1 kindergarten students to attend Tree Hill Nature Center. During their visit, students are taught nature and energy conservation education and sustainable living practices. Associate Ben Moore has volunteered with the organization since 2004.
- Discovery Science Place, Tyler, Texas: The funding will support several Title 1 children to be able to participate in fun, hands-on exploration programming, including staple events like Science ala Cart and STEM Like a Girl. Associate Kate Lindekugel currently serves on the organization board as the program director for facilities.
- Meals on Wheels, San Antonio, Texas: Funds granted will provide a day of lunchtime meals to approximately 3,800 local seniors through Meals on Wheels San Antonio. The funds will help support the mission of eliminating hunger, alleviate isolation, and foster independence among seniors, in partnership with volunteers and the community. Associate Amanda O’Krongley has delivered Meals on Wheels for 12 years now.
- Heritage Camps for Adoptive Families, Denver, Colo.: HCAF is a post-adoption resource and advocate for children, adults, and families with diverse heritages. The goal is that all adoptees will develop a knowledge of themselves and their culture of origin and that families will have a better awareness of, and sense of pride in, their adopted family member’s birth heritage. Associate Samuel Severns attended the first camp in 1992 and continues to volunteer with the group.