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Growing Exceptional Communities

by Tom LeClair

At JUSTIN, we care deeply about the communities where our employees live, work and play. Each year, JUSTIN offers $150,000 in grants to North San Luis Obispo County schools and nonprofit organizations. Giving is in our company’s DNA, and it shows in the work we do and the ways we give.

In the fall of 2018, we launched our second annual School Grants program. Teachers received grants for art supplies, S.T.E.M. activities, books, and field-trip expenses. Since 2017, this grant program has funded 130 projects supporting 101 teachers and 13,000 students, and the students’ thank-you notes continue to bring smiles to our team.

Students working together while learning in the classroom was a consistent theme in the request for supplies that we reviewed. Educators creatively applying their subject matter to teaching about shared success is inspiring. One notable example of supporting student success was a teacher’s request for updated technology for students unable to communicate verbally. With the new devices, these students can access language via speech-generating applications and communicate with their parents, teachers and peers effectively. Another example was a digital arts teacher who had her students working together to create art. Several of the students’ works were framed and displayed at the San Luis Museum of Art in San Luis Obispo.

We are so proud to be able to support the diverse needs that our teachers respond to every day in their classrooms. Funding for such unique needs is part of what makes the School Grants program so special. We are looking forward to the program’s return in fall 2019!

On January 1, 2019, the JUSTIN Community Grants program began accepting applications. This program invites local nonprofit organizations to apply for one of twenty $5,000 grants. The winning organizations were chosen by a selection committee comprised of JUSTIN employees from throughout the business. This process gives our employees a great opportunity to be involved in our community efforts.

We look forward to sharing more about these projects when we gather next fall with our Community Grant recipients for lunch at the winery, where they’ll share their successes, network with other organizations, and meet members of the employee committee.