Time for Action: 2021 Visitor Center Foundation Grant

:: Monday, February 1, 2021 :: Posted By Mary Beth Garrison
Throughout its history, U.S. Borax has recognized that the foundation of its success is its people. From its historic beginnings more than 150 years ago, the company has relied on the communities at the heart of its operations—and in return has provided opportunity and growth for those communities. Sustaining the balance of this relationship is always top of mind for our company.
As a part of Rio Tinto, U.S. Borax invests directly in the communities where we operate—where our employees live, work, and raise their families. These investments address essential and emerging needs for a diverse range of community-serving organizations.
One of the longest-running support mechanisms is the U.S. Borax Visitor Center Foundation grant program. Since 1998, the Foundation has returned in excess of $350,000—including more than $100,000 in scholarships—to the communities near our mine operations in Boron, California. In addition, Rio Tinto provides ongoing and generous support to our communities across the United States and Canada.

2021 Borax Visitor Center Foundation Grant application is now open

We know that the right support can go a long way toward enabling strong and thriving communities. And, we’ve seen first-hand how much community-focused work from citizen organizations matters to the individuals they serve.
The U.S. Borax Visitor Center Foundation provides grants to local non-profits and scholarships to graduating seniors across the California communities of Boron, Desert Lake, North Edwards, Aerial Acres, and Kramer Junction. In 2020, we were proud to offer scholarships to all the applicants from our local high schools’ graduating classes. In addition, we provided grant funds to a diverse range of local organizations for specific initiatives and needs.
Monetary awards were made to organizations including the Boron Senior Center, Reggie’s Kicks for Kids, Boron Little League, Boron Alive, 20 Mule Team Museum, and several local schools.
What do these organizations have in common? They support basic needs and provide services to citizens— from the youngest to the oldest, across Boron-area neighborhoods.

How can your organization apply?

Are you part of a local organization that focuses on one of these areas?
  • Education
  • Health and human services
  • Community improvement
  • Historic preservation
Your organization must be a government entity (such as a school) or non-profit, tax-exempt 501(c)(3) or 501(c)(6) as defined by the Internal Revenue Service, located and providing services in our specified local communities, (Boron, North Edwards, Desert Lakes, or Four Corners). You cannot be a religious, political, or fraternal organization.

If your organization is eligible, submit your application on or before MARCH 31, 2021

Partnering with employees to support COVID-19 relief

In turbulent times, it’s not always easy to see those who are most in need. Blaring headlines can often drown out quieter voices. But those everyday needs remain. Rio Tinto has always supported the local communities and organizations where our employees live and work, and that steady support continues behind the scenes across locations in the U.S. and Canada.
In the past year, Rio Tinto corporate and employees contributed $10 million to reduce the impact of COVID-19. Employees took the lead, spearheading and organizing a range of programs.
  • Movember: Employees organized a local fundraiser, generating an increase in facial hair and $6,000 in support of Movember Foundation initiatives, which include support for mental health and suicide prevention—critical concerns during the pandemic.
  • Muroc School District: U.S. Borax donated $200,000 to the Muroc Unified School District, a public K-12 district serving the California communities of Boron, Desert Lakes, North Edwards, and Edwards Air Force Base. The money enabled the district to purchase 800 Chromebook tablets to support students’ online learning.
  • Boys & Girls Club of LA Harbor and Beacon Light: Feeding families impacted by COVID-19, was the mission of two important non-profits based near our Wilmington port operation. Along with $30,000 in funding, our team helped pack hundreds of food boxes distributed to families in need. Their effort helped keep bellies full and families strong.
  • Community Action Partnership of Kern and Bridge for Hope: Focusing on communities in eastern Kern County, these two non-profits distributed the necessary food, clothing, health, and safety supplies to keep families strong and resilient during this challenging time. Our $15,000 in funding helped get the job done.
  • Resolution Copper partnership: Employees of Rio Tinto sister companies U.S. Borax and Resolution Copper teamed up to produce 50,000 masks and 1,000 gallons of hand sanitizer for citizens of the Hopi Reservation in Arizona.
  • Grassroots support: An additional $40,000 in Rio Tinto donations and employee funds supported efforts in communities surrounding our California operations. Community action efforts across Canada and in the U.S., enhanced the efforts of local communities to support people in staying safer at home.

Caring in Chicago: Our Midwest home

Chicago is home to Rio Tinto's commercial organization—including our sales, marketing, and customer service teams. As part of our $10 million pledge, we included generous donations across the city in 2020:
  • The Greater Chicago Food Depository services a network of more than 700 food pantries, soup kitchens, and shelters. Our $20,000 donation will help them provide more than 60,000 meals to people in need in the Chicagoland area.
  • The Chicago Children’s Museum creates a community where children play and learn. They have provided arts programs, STEM experiments, and imaginative play to more than 11 million children and their parents and caregivers. Our $10,000 donation will help them to bring children into the museum and continue their programing.
  • Since 1877, the Pacific Garden Mission provides shelter, food, clothing, and counseling to the homeless of Chicago. Our $10,000 donation will help them to continue their programs.
  • VFW National Home for Children offers housing, basic needs, daycare, counseling, and educational assistance to families of active-duty military personnel, veterans, and relatives of VFW and FVW Auxiliary members. Our $5,000 dontation will help them to continue offering this help to military families in need.
  • During the pandemic, World Business Chicago (an economic development agency with a mission is to drive inclusive economic growth) is supporting the small business community. Rio Tinto donated $50,000 to help drive economic recovery in Chicago. Our donation is directed towards racial equality rapid response, PPE for small businesses, and aiding in vaccine and domestic violence education/awareness.
  • The Chocolate Chips Association provides mentors and interactive educational curriculum for girls to instill a passion for science, technology, engineering, entrepreneurship, art, and math (STEAM). Our $5,000 donation will help them provide these STEM programs.
  • Between Friends is dedicated to breaking the cycle of domestic violence and building a community free of abuse. They help adult, teen, and child survivors of domestic violence to recognize that their experience is shared. Our $5,000 donation will help fund their work in Chicago.

Joining together to make a difference

U.S. Borax and Rio Tinto are proud of the generous spirit of our employees. We are honored to partner with them and provide resources to improve life in local communities in meaningful ways. We're happy to continue this giving in 2021 with the U.S. Borax Visitor Foundation grant. 

U.S. Borax, part of Rio Tinto, is a global leader in the supply and science of borates—naturally-occurring minerals containing boron and other elements. We are 1,000 people serving 650 customers with more than 1,800 delivery locations globally. We supply around 30% of the world’s need for refined borates from our world-class mine in Boron, California, about 100 miles northeast of Los Angeles.  Learn more about Rio Tinto.

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