Unloading rhino at zoo

TEP lends out trucks, lights up community events and even moves zoo animals to help support our community.

TEP supports nonprofit organizations with a variety of in-kind donations in addition to financial gifts and the volunteer efforts of employees. In-kind donations include the use of trucks and portable light towers as well as printing services and refurbished computers.

Such assistance is granted in response to requests for in-kind services submitted online through the Community page of tep.com.

“Any 501(c)(3) organization that’s eligible for financial assistance from our companies can also request in-kind donations. Many times those requests come in together,” said Cheryl Gottshall, who manages in-kind contributions for TEP. “We then work within our companies to get those requests filled.”

Tucson charities frequently ask to use heavy equipment, including trucks and mobile light towers, at community events.

“The type of equipment we use for donations is multiple and varied,” said Ric Merlino, Transmission and Distribution Line Construction Supervisor.

“Sometimes an organization will request a truck and driver for hauling, while other times it’s for interactive, hands-on events,” he said. “We also have events like the Downtown Parade of Lights in Tucson where we provide a truck and company volunteers dress it up with Christmas lights.”

At the Reid Park Zoo, TEP has donated equipment and operator time for decades to assist in moving animals and building enclosures. Large animals, such as elephants and rhinoceroses, take special care to move. In 2013, TEP used a forklift to transport a rhinoceros. See the video below of the rhino move.

Most of TEP’s in-kind contributions involve less lifting, including the donation of used office furniture, equipment and computers to local nonprofits.

TEP also helps with printing. “We’ve done everything from printing tri-fold brochures to reports for nonprofit charitable organizations. We have the capability to print flyers, posters and banners,” said Celina Alday, TEP’s Business Services Coordinator.

“The value ranges anywhere from $25 up to several hundred dollars. TEP must be the sponsor of an event for us to provide printing services so that we’re not competing with local printing businesses and the request must be approved by Community Investments and Philanthropy. That’s part of the criteria that goes into consideration of what we can and cannot do for our community partners,” she said.

With so many requests, TEP tries to distribute in-kind donations evenly across its service territory, depending on the need.

“In-kind donations are an extension of our corporate philosophy of philanthropy,” Gottshall said. “Our leadership is committed to community involvement and volunteerism and the in-kind piece is an integral part of that. Many times, if we’re unable to provide funds or volunteers, we can still make contributions to our community partners that are equally as beneficial as any financial assistance they might request.”