By FRANCES CHADWICK
Los Alamos National Laboratory
New Mexicans count their blessings and find ways to help their friends and neighbors in need. Employees of Los Alamos National Laboratory are no different.
Los Alamos employees are integral to the communities of Northern New Mexico. Not only do they live in the cities, villages, and pueblos from Albuquerque to the northern New Mexico border, they are active participants in those communities, providing support for nutritional, educational, and economic development, and, in doing so, serving as a guidepost for the Laboratory’s tailored approach to our community engagement efforts. In short, our goal is to understand each community’s needs and flow our resources to those challenges to make the greatest impact.
To accomplish this, the Laboratory partners with a robust group of local nonprofits who have significant experience and expertise in their fields. We have multiple partnerships to help tackle the region’s biggest challenges such as the Food Depot, the Los Alamos National Laboratory Foundation, the Regional Development Corporation, and the United Way of Northern New Mexico.
The Laboratory’s Community Partnerships Office works full time to foster nonprofit giving, economic development, and education in the seven-county area surrounding the Laboratory: Los Alamos, Mora, Rio Arriba, Sandoval, San Miguel, Santa Fe and Taos. Not surprisingly, these counties are also home to nearly 98 percent of our employees.
As part of its annual Community Commitment Plan, this year, Laboratory operator Triad National Security, LLC, invested $2.5 million to fund education, economic development, and nonprofits in these counties. Additionally, Laboratory employees gave part of their own salaries in the Laboratory’s annual Giving Campaign to donate $2.3 million to local area nonprofits. In addition, our employees responded to the unprecedented need driven by the COVID-19 pandemic and rose again to donate more than $137,000, or 548,000 meals, to New Mexicans experiencing food insecurity, making the Laboratory the largest corporate donor to The Food Depot.
Laboratory employees not only support their neighbors by way of monetary donations but also by donating their time. In fiscal year 2020, Laboratory employees rolled up their sleeves and provided more than 3,000 hours of hands-on community service to public schools and educational nonprofits, helping an estimated 6,420 students, teachers, and community members.
Through our new Community Technical Assistance grants, employees also lend their expertise and Lab technologies to help nonprofits solve problems important to our communities. Los Alamos soil sensors are monitoring the health of regional rangeland, and ground-penetrating radar pinpointed a new water source for an ancient acequia. Recently, area community colleges have used Laboratory data analysis to analyze retention rates.
For nearly 80 years, past and current employees have helped fulfill the Laboratory’s national security mission while providing critical support to our local communities. By engaging with our community and business leaders, we will continue to ensure that our assistance flows to the areas of greatest impact.
The uniqueness and beauty of Northern New Mexico are unparalleled—and so too are the warmth and generosity of the people who live here. Los Alamos National Laboratory is fortunate to count them among our workforce. As the Laboratory continues to expand, we are committed to continuing to support the communities we all know, love, and call home.
Frances Chadwick is the staff director in the Office of the Director at Los Alamos National Laboratory.