Employees of the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory contributed over $828,000 to local nonprofits through the lab’s employee giving programs in 2023. ORNL’s managing contractor, UT-Battelle, provided an additional $139,600 in support of employee efforts.
In addition, ORNL employees recorded over 1,497 volunteer hours, serving 56 nonprofits. With the value of these volunteer hours estimated at $36,232, total employee-led contributions for 2023 were valued at more than $1 million.
Donations benefitted 131 area and regional nonprofits including Second Harvest Food Bank of East Tennessee, East Tennessee Children’s Hospital, United Way, multiple TN First Robotics teams, Junior Achievement of East Tennessee, YO-STEM, several Boys and Girls Clubs, Centro Hispano, A1-Learning Connections, Discover Life in America and the YWCA of East Tennessee.
“Just as we have a commitment to deliver scientific innovation and operational excellence, we also have a responsibility to support our community through giving and volunteering,” said ORNL Director Stephen Streiffer, who also serves as president and CEO of UT-Battelle. “Last year was another remarkable example of our staff's commitment to giving back and engaging in the community.”
The lab’s multifaceted workplace giving program, ORNL Gives, enables payroll deductions to almost 50 local nonprofits, provides matching gifts, supports employee-initiated fund-raising and connects staff members with volunteer opportunities.
“We employ thousands of East Tennesseans who love their communities and want to give back,” said Kate Evans, who chaired the 2023 campaign in addition to her responsibilities as director of the Computational Sciences and Engineering Division. “We have continued to try to respond to employee interests in how we run the annual campaign, so we can continue to make an impact for our neighbors in need.”
ORNL Gives 2023 included on-site fundraisers, bake sales, 5Ks and t-shirt sales in celebration of the lab’s 80th anniversary, as well as specific efforts such as purchasing a high-tech infant simulator for East Tennessee Children’s Hospital. The lab’s Isotope Science and Engineering and Facilities and Operations directorates raised money for the simulator, which will be used for medical training in ETCH’s Discovery Innovation and Simulation Center, where pediatric providers get cutting-edge training in the care of premature babies.
Thousands of ORNL staff members participated in local philanthropy through direct contributions or by donating their time through volunteer service in 2023. In addition to payroll deduction and volunteerism, ORNL Gives programs include:
Matching Gifts Fund — ORNL matches employee contributions to 501(c)(3)s up to $500, up to a total of $1,000 per nonprofit each year.
Team UT-Battelle — This volunteer service program connects ORNL employees with outreach and enrichment opportunities to benefit Oak Ridge and communities across East Tennessee.
Disaster Relief — Employees contribute to specific disaster aid projects through the East Tennessee Foundation and raised more than $28,790. UT-Battelle donated $7,915. Projects in 2023 included the Middle Tennessee storm recovery, with Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee (CFMT) and United Way of Greater Nashville. Donations also went to the Turkey-Syria earthquake relief with UNICEF and Doctors Without Borders.
For 2023, the ORNL Gives total also includes contributions to the Angel Tree, a long-time employee-led effort to collect toys during the Christmas holidays. The most recent campaign made the holidays a little happier for over 200 children.
UT-Battelle manages ORNL for the Department of Energy’s Office of Science, the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States. The Office of Science is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, visit energy.gov/science.