Computers and furniture are just some of the items that get new lives through TEP’s donations to local schools and nonprofit organizations.
In addition to financial contributions and volunteering, TEP supports education and other local causes through in-kind donations of supplies, equipment and technology. Often, those items still have plenty of shelf life but have expired warranties or are scheduled for replacement.
Here are three recent examples that support our goal of thoughtful reuse:
TEP donated 24 tablet computers for teachers and students in the Amphitheater Unified School District, continuing our longtime support of its schools. The tablets were delivered in May to the Amphi Foundation, a nonprofit group that assists 21 schools.
“When TEP’s IT department began repurposing computer equipment, Amphi was a natural recipient,” said Wendy Erica Werden, Manager of Community Investment and Philanthropy.
The Amphi Foundation received five Motion Computing rugged tablets and 19 Apple iPads, including first- and second-generation iPad Pros and iPad Airs, to help teachers and students with both in-person and virtual learning. In addition, TEP’s Community Investment and Philanthropy team purchased charging adapters and cables for the iPads.
The iPads were given to special education educators who are planning to use them with students in the 2021-22 school year. The devices can be easier to use than regular Chromebooks or laptops, said Leah Noreng, the foundation’s Executive Director.
“We are so grateful to TEP for the generous donation of iPads. This will have a big impact for our students to advance their communication, collaboration and academic skills,” said Kristin McGraw, Executive Director of Student Services for Amphitheater Public Schools.
Over the last several years, TEP has made donations to assist Amphi students with holiday food boxes, clothes shopping events, a fundraising gala, and other needs. Last year, TEP supported Amphi with a $10,000 financial gift and an additional COVID-19 relief fund contribution. The district’s boundaries extend north from Grant Road in Tucson to the community of Catalina, including many low-income neighborhoods.
Spaces to Learn
This spring, TEP donated 50 chairs for students to use at home during remote schooling through Spaces to Learn, a non-profit volunteer project of Village Community Ministries. The group provides low-income families with materials, including furniture and headphones, to create learning spaces at home.
During the pandemic, this need became urgent when many children were in remote schooling for much of the 2020-21 school year. Most of TEP’s chairs were given to Imago Dei Middle School, while others were distributed to families in Sahuarita and the Tucson area, said Jessica Dennes, Project Lead of Spaces to Learn.
“Most families report that their children were better able to focus and were more motivated to attend remote school after receiving items from Spaces to Learn, including the chairs donated by TEP,” Dennes said.
Dennes said she has heard stories from families who were greatly helped by the chairs. Some families had multiple children from different grades, all trying to participate in remote school at the kitchen table. In one family, all of the children were sitting on the couch or floor most of the year.
“Their physical health began to suffer from crouching down every day for months to do their schoolwork. The children had to visit a chiropractor,” Dennes said. “We provided them each with a desk and other items, including a chair from TEP. Now, they have their own space at home where they can comfortably learn without hurting their backs.”
Earlier this year, TEP donated six laptop computers to Casa Maria Soup Kitchen, where TEP employee Peter Valenzuela regularly volunteers.
Last fall, at the height of the pandemic, Interfaith Community Services also received useful items from TEP. Those included 1,500 masks, 500 dehydrated meals and 50 cases of Arrowhead water.
“It is rewarding when we can identify organizations that have need of our surplus or outdated materials,” said Jeanine Tracey, TEP Director of Settlements and Supply Chain. “We are mindful of protecting our environment and ensuring we are not unnecessarily filling landfills. But there is additional gratification when we know we are helping our friends, neighbors and customers.”
This story is part of our ongoing series highlighting TEP’s philanthropic focus areas. From October through December, we focus on community assistance. TEP works with nonprofit partners to develop invitation-based donation requests for community assistance efforts. Funds come from corporate resources, not customers’ rates. Learn more about donations.