Glass industry gives back during the holidays

The holiday season is generally a time when individuals and companies ramp up their charitable giving. The glass industry is no different.

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December 11, 2015 |
Bill O'Keeffe
Glass industry gives back during the holidays

10-year old Eliyana, a patient at the Burn Center, playing with one of the Starlight® Fun Center® mobile entertainment units donated by SAFTI FIRST to provide entertainment to children receiving treatment at the Community Medical Center in Fresno, CA

The holiday season is generally a time when individuals and companies ramp up their charitable giving. According to Steve MacLauglin at the Blackbaud index, “about 34% of all charitable giving is done in the last three months of the year. Of those donations, about 18% are given in December alone.”

The glass industry is no different. Numerous glass manufacturers and contract glaziers see the season of giving as a time to also give back to their communities and other charitable organizations. 

Walters & Wolf, recently named as the #1 glazing and curtain wall contractor in Engineering News Record’s “Top 600 Specialty Contractors,” has been involved in a great number of charitable efforts over the years.  Through the leadership and generous example of owner Randy Wolf, employees acknowledge the significance of reinvesting in the surrounding community.  This year’s beneficiary was One Warm Coat, an organization that gives out coats to children, women and men in need.  The employees were excited to contribute, and all together they were able to make a combined donation of 303 coats, sweaters and blankets for their local community. In addition, the employees also join together in sponsoring a local family in need through San Jose’s foster care program and President Randy Wolf makes a holiday donation to the Lucile Packard Foundation for Children’s Health on behalf of their vendors and contactors.  

Viracon is once again teaming up with the United Way to sponsor less fortunate families in their community through the Adopt-a-Family program. Organized by the employees, they participate in making the holiday season brighter for these deserving families through various ways. They can give gift donations through “Strings of Hope,” which has ornaments with the age and gift wish of the family members. They also raise money through cash donations or payroll deductions.  

Over here at SAFTI FIRST, we are donating two Starlight® Fun Center® mobile entertainment units  to the Burn Center at the Community Medical Center in Fresno, CA, in addition to the two units that we donated last holiday season. One will be placed in the pediatric ICU department and the other will go to Terry’s House, a hospitality home located directly across from Community Regional Medical Center where family members can stay while a loved one is being treated in critical care units in the hospital. The Starlight® Fun Center® mobile entertainment units provide the healing power of play to pediatric patients anywhere in a healthcare facility. Powered by the Wii U from Nintendo of America, Fun Center units offer family-friendly video games and online accessibility to provide kids and families with distraction, fun and a sense of normalcy. The Fun Center units can roll bedside, so that even patients with limited mobility can play or watch movies – by themselves or with family members and friends. Due to their accessibility, Fun Center units are easily integrated into physical therapy and therapeutic treatments, further improving the healthcare experience. 

Giving back also comes in the form of service. Glazing contractors Progress Glass and Mission Glass are making in-kind donations of construction services to 826 Valencia, a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting under-resourced students ages six to eighteen with their creative and expository writing skills and to helping teachers inspire their students to write.  The organization is building a new center in San Francisco’s under resourced Tenderloin District and will serve an additional 2,000 students per year. 826 Valencia currently serves about 6,000 students annually, including at its annexed locations at three San Francisco Unified School District campuses. In cooperation with BCCI Builders, Progress Glass will provide labor and materials for the storefront and doors while Mission Glass will be responsible for the actual glass, glazing and windows at their new location, which is scheduled to open in January 2016.  Other construction companies and design firms providing pro bono services include Gensler and Interstice Architects.

There are also companies the give back throughout the year, not just during the holidays. 

For over 10 years now, Tower Glass has been hosting the Steve Open, an annual golf event that raises money for Rady Children’s Hospital in San Diego, CA. What started out as a fun golf tournament between 24 friends and business associates is now a premier event, hosting 144+ players every year. Tower glass finances all the upfront costs and is also one of the major contributors. Vendors and other partners also participate in raising money through sponsorships and donations. Over the years, the Steve Open has raised over $450,000 for Rady Children’s Hospital, with next year’s event expecting to exceed the half a million dollar mark.

Wausau Window and Wall Systems is another company that is involved in several community activities and events throughout the year. The United Way is a primary partner in providing community support, with Wausau’s president Jim Waldron being part of the board of directors of United Way of Marathon County. In this year alone, the combined individual and company contributions totaled over $40,000. Its recent campaign included a chili cook-off, bingo game and penny wars to raise additional money. Other charitable endeavors included fill-a-backpack/fill-a-need, where employees collect backpacks and school supplies for the school year; adopt-a-family, where employees buy gifts for families in need; annual food drives and a company-sponsored $500 design scholarship at Northcentral Technical College. 

There are several more companies in the glass industry that give back to the community, and it is simply impossible to name them all in this blog. Nevertheless, I believe each and every one of them is committed and motivated in supporting their communities and other worthy causes – and not just during the holiday season, but all year round. 

With that, all of us at SAFTI FIRST wish you a happy holiday and prosperous New Year!  

Bill O'Keeffe | Clear on Technical Glass
SAFTI FIRST Fire Rated Glazing Solutions

About the Author: Bill O’Keeffe is the President and CEO of SAFTI FIRST Fire Rated Glazing Solutions, a leading USA-manufacturer of advanced fire rated glass and framing systems.  An industry veteran and innovator with over 45 years of experience in architectural glazing, he was first to introduce and manufacture clear, fire resistive glazing products in the US.  He is also a safety advocate who exposed the dangers of traditional wired glass, which lead to code changes and fire rated glass products that are safe, affordable and clear alternatives to traditional wired glass.  Today, Bill continues to develop building products that enable architects to create beautiful, safe and energy-efficient spaces with advanced glazing systems.

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