BNSF matching gift program makes employees’ charitable donations twice as nice
With the spirit of giving in the air, this is a magical time of year, and a key benefit at BNSF helps employees’ generosity go even further—not just during the holidays, but all year long.
The BNSF Railway Foundation’s Employee Matching Gift Program matches employees’ financial donations to public charities dollar for dollar up to $20,000 per employee per year.
“The Employee Matching Gift Program, in my opinion, is one of the best benefits we offer here,” said Zak Andersen, BNSF Railway Foundation president and director. “I encourage our employees to learn more about the program and how it can double the impact of their contributions. I hope to see the number of applications grow each year.”
The foundation matches about $1 million annually to more than 700 organizations. An employee’s own donation may be eligible to receive a foundation match by simply filling out a matching gift form and meeting the required criteria. The program is available to all full-time employees with a minimum of one year of active service.
Behind each of these matching gift requests is an employee who yearns to make a difference with a charity that has special significance. Here are four examples:
Karl Rodmyre, maintenance welder
Rodmyre has been using BNSF’s corporate matching program for about 15 years. He gives back to his childhood private school in Des Moines, Washington: Holy Trinity Lutheran.
“I know there are a lot of benefits that BNSF has available for employees, and this is one I’m very proud to use,” Rodmyre said. “It directly matches all the donations I make, dollar for dollar, to a cause I believe needs it very much. I’m thankful this program is available for us employees, and I hope it continues for the rest of my career.”
Jason Lamers, general director, Internal Communication and Engagement
Lamers’ reason for giving is personal. Growing up, he didn’t have an ideal home situation and was headed down a dangerous path in his youth. Fortunately, at the age of 12, Happy Hill Farm Academy (now called North Central Texas Academy) in Granbury, Texas, took him in, providing him a safe place, three square meals a day and a good education surrounded by people who cared about his success. He lived at the boarding school through middle and high school.
“Everything at Happy Hill Farm Academy was provided thanks to generous private donors,” Lamers said. “I truly believe the people, support and education I received there saved my life. I would certainly not be where I am today without the support of others who cared.”
Lamers said he and his wife, Kelli, feel fortunate to have the opportunity to use BNSF’s matching program to support the Happy Hill Farm Academy Home for Children Foundation and make a positive difference in the lives of local kids with high potential but low opportunity.
“To me, the matching gift program sends a clear message that BNSF cares about what I care about—and empowers me to channel that passion to make a positive difference in my community,” he said. “I feel blessed to work for a company that not only cares about what its team members value but puts real dollars behind that. When it comes to living our personal and company values, that’s powerful.”
Rebecca Wurtele, train dispatcher
Wurtele’s heart for supporting the humanitarian organization Global Effects stems from being able to help feed, clothe, educate and find homes for orphan children in many countries across the world, including Romania, Latin America and in Asia.
“We have been to a few of these countries Global Effects serves and have seen firsthand how lives are affected by their government, caste systems, and poverty,” Wurtele said. “We just can’t stand by and not help.”
Wurtele said it’s hard to put into words the number of lives Global Effects has changed and is so thankful BNSF helps their contributions toward the cause go even further.
“These funds have fed villages and built orphanages and schools in remote villages. Children have been given a chance at an education their parents never dreamt possible,” she said. “We are so thankful to BNSF and their partnership through the corporate matching gift program. I could go on and on about what our combined efforts have accomplished.”
Amanda Hodson, train dispatcher
Amanda Hodson serves as the director of 3 Hearts Farm Animal Rescue, of which BNSF is a dedicated partner. 3 Hearts’ mission is to protect, advocate and rescue livestock animals from neglect, abuse and abandonment.
“The BNSF Railway Foundation has been a crucial element to our success,” Hodson said. “We have many supporters within the company and it’s always exciting for them to find out that every donation over $100 doubles when BNSF matches it. If a BNSF employee can sponsor one farm animal with their donation, BNSF Foundation can help them save TWO! We have literally saved twice as many lives thanks to BNSF.”
Dr. Kenneth Kirkham, a Fort Worth-area dentist who cofounded the medical mission nonprofit group Global Hands of Healing, said their small operation has been helped by BNSF’s matching program.
“Having so many patients who work at BNSF due to the proximity of our office to BNSF campus, many of them have heard me talk about Global Hands of Healing (GHOH) over the years, and have generously donated to our cause,” Kirkham said. “Our mission trips have benefited greatly from BNSF’s corporate matching program. GHOH relies heavily on our local donors, and these donations have been amplified by BNSF’s giving spirit, allowing us to buy more supplies on our trips to Central America, like anesthetics, eyeglasses and medications. These are things we all take for granted here that are often out of reach for these patients we see in remote villages in Guatemala, Panama and Costa Rica.”
A broad range of organizations can qualify for the matching gifts, including educational, cultural, environmental, and health and human services. Employees can find more information about the program on the company’s intranet. Happy giving!
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