The Bechtel Group Foundation is donating $3 million to communities across the world coping with the coronavirus pandemic, in partnership with the crowdfunding nonprofit GlobalGiving, and $25,000 of those dollars will be sent directly to the United Way of Highway 55 in Tullahoma.
The Foundation will award direct grants from the newly-established Bechtel COVID-19 Relief Fund to charitable organizations in smaller U.S. communities that are the home to large Bechtel projects. This includes the Arnold Engineering Development Complex at Arnold Air Force Base because National Aerospace Solutions LLC (NAS), the Test, Operations and Sustainment (TOS) Contractor there, is a Bechtel-led company.
“What a great way to begin a Monday,” said Ashley Abraham, Executive Director of the United Way of Highway 55, talking about the email she received telling her the good news. “I was immediately overcome with joy and surprise. I cannot thank National Aerospace Solutions enough for their support, including giving The Bechtel Foundation guidance on how to effectively distribute these funds across our community.”
According to Abraham, The United Way of Highway 55 covers Coffee, Moore and Warren counties and partners with 16 nonprofit organizations.
“We passionately work to help our local partner non-profits, and the community in four specific areas,” Abraham said, “Education, Income, Basic Essentials, and Health. All donations stay within our community, supporting multiple missions that improve the quality of life in our community. On behalf of myself, our Board, and our non-profit partners, The United Way of Highway 55 would like to thank the Bechtel Group Foundation for their generous donation of $25,000, and NAS for being one of our community partners,” Abraham added. “This donation will help so many people who are in need.”
Since NAS assumed the TOS Contract at AEDC in 2016, it has been a major contributor to the United Way through company donations coupled with NAS employee payroll deductions.
“When we were approached by the Bechtel Group Foundation about the possibility of local charities receiving a donation, we immediately thought of the United Way of Highway 55,” said Dr. Rich Tighe, NAS General Manager and a Bechtel Principal Vice President. “The needs in the communities that surround Arnold Air Force Base are growing due to COVID-19, and this will go a long way in helping fill those needs.”
According to Dr. Tighe, the fact that the money donated stays local is a big reason NAS got involved with United Way of Highway 55 in the beginning.
“Our employees at NAS are all part of the local communities,” Dr. Tighe said. “Giving back to those communities has always been a big part of who we are as a company.”
A release from the Bechtel Group Foundation regarding the donation, states that The United Way of Highway 55 will receive $12,500 immediately to help with today’s urgent needs. The other $12,500 will be issued in November to ensure the United Way will have funding for its 2021 programs.
“This ($3 million) gift is the largest disaster response in the Bechtel Group Foundation’s 66-year history,” said Bechtel Chairman and CEO Brendan Bechtel. “These gifts will help local nonprofit organizations respond to urgent needs such as food, emergency financial assistance, and physical and mental health services.”
The Bechtel Group Foundation selected GlobalGiving as its partner because of the organization’s innovative approach to connecting philanthropic organizations with humanitarian needs around the world. GlobalGiving’s network will enable the Bechtel COVID-19 Relief Fund to immediately activate in support of suffering communities.
For information on how you can help the United Way of Highway 55, please visit their website at: http://highway55unitedway.org/