The primary vehicle BNSF uses to contribute to our communities is the BNSF Railway Foundation. The Foundation funds scholarships, community groups, veterans’ causes and other worthy endeavors throughout the year.
In 2019 BNSF once again supported the Big Red Challenge. Every year since its inception in 2014, BNSF has provided sponsorship for the obstacle course race in Lincoln, Nebraska. Proceeds from the event help veterans overcome the obstacles in transitioning back to civilian life. The race attracts 1,000 participants and features military-themed obstacles like a “save your buddy” tire carry and belly crawling “under fire.”
Supporting veterans and their families is a cause close to our hearts. One effort we annually support is Wreaths Across America, in which, with trucking partners, we help transport wreaths to be placed on veterans’ graves at more than 1,600 locations. Others include Toys for Tots, Military Miles Marathons and the Wounded Warrior Project.
Once again, the BNSF Holiday Express provided seasonal merriment for military families with a scenic trip, decorated rail cars, food, entertainment and, naturally, Santa Claus himself. Stops included: Bend, Oregon; Great Falls, Montana; Klamath Falls, Oregon; Pasco, Washington; Rathdrum, Idaho; Richmond, California; and Spokane, Washington.
Other holiday-themed train trips for kids in need and other guests in
BNSF Topeka Christmas Train in Topeka, Kansas
Santa Claus Express in San Bernardino, Fullerton and Barstow, California
Northstar Holiday Train in St. Paul, Minnesota
Every year, BNSF takes the opportunity to celebrate police officers, firefighters and other first responders and their families by giving them a fun day out on the First Responder Express. In 2019, this special train made a stop in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where a local nonprofit that supports first responders was awarded a grant by the BNSF Railway Foundation.
A scenic train trip on immaculately restored vintage passenger rail cars from the 1950s and 1960s is one special way BNSF shows our appreciation to our employees and their families. In 2019, the Employee Appreciation Special ran 40 round trips for more than 10,000 employees and their families in Alabama, Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma and Tennessee.
BNSF’s Tribal Relations program, the first of its kind among U.S. Class I railroads, continues to strengthen our ties with the many diverse tribal nations along our network. This includes ensuring communications protocols are established between tribes, First Nations and BNSF, and fostering collaboration on key agreements from project permitting to tax agreements, as well as hazmat and first responder training.
We continue our tradition of supporting nonprofit organizations focused on helping Native Americans, including an almost 25-year history of funding scholarships for Native American youth through the American Indian Science and Engineering Society. And in 2020, we will join other top sponsors at the commemoration of the National Native American Veterans Memorial, now under construction on the Mall in Washington, D.C.
Here’s a small sample of the generous giving of BNSF employees in 2019:
Seattle Diesel Shop employees supported the Make a Change Foundation and Hand in Hand Snohomish County, with the shop’s three shifts collecting enough items to fulfill the holiday wishes of nearly 70 kids transitioning from neglectful homes to foster care.
Employees at BNSF’s Chicago facilities donated more than 1,000 toys to the Chicago Diversity Council’s Toys for Tots Campaign.
BNSF employees in locations including Fort Worth, Texas, and Kansas City, Kansas, supported Salvation Army Angel Tree programs to provide clothing and toys for local families.
For the third year, employees at the Car and Locomotive Shop in Commerce, California, held a toy drive for kids in need at Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles.
A dozen BNSF employees in Topeka, Kansas, volunteered at the Topeka Rescue Mission Christmas Shop.
Members of BNSF’s Industrial Products team volunteered for a day at Mission Arlington Christmas Store in Arlington, Texas.
At BNSF headquarters, the Fort Worth Business Resource Group hosted a month-long drive for the Hearts of the Military, supplying care packages to deployed military personnel.
Berkshire Hathaway and its subsidiaries engage in diverse business activities, including insurance and reinsurance, utilities and energy, freight rail transportation, finance, manufacturing, retailing and services.
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