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Tualatin firm gives big to resource center

One might not imagine a link between a company that engineers microchip wirings and a nonprofit like the Tigard-Tualatin Family Resource Center, but Novellus and the nonprofit organization have a history. Last year alone that history resulted in $25,874 in donations.

Novellus has a production site in Tualatin with 590 or so employees. Each year since 2000, Novellus' staff has donated goods and money to the resource center during the holiday season, and every year the company has matched the total employee financial donation, dollar for dollar. Donating between $4,000 and $7,000 several years in a row, the financial donations suddenly jumped to $15,370 in 2010. This past holiday season, employes donated $12,937, bringing the total to $25,874 after the company's match.

There seems to be no real explanation for the jump, other than a simple desire to give, said Operations Manager and primary donations coordinator Michael brown.

'I think the employees of Novellus were particularly generous this year due to the ongoing hardships so many people in our community are experiencing,' he said. 'It was our standard food and toy drive, accompanied by the manufacturing supervisor's determination to beat the previous year's financial donation. We feel extremely fortunate to be in positions to make a difference, especially for those children who are most deserving.'

Of the contribution, $3,000 was used to help families during the holidays; the rest will be used throughout the year to fund a number of programs and resources.

'We will be able to use it to fund multiple dental vans, transportation assistance - like gas vouchers and bus tickets - hygiene items, furniture vouchers, food carts, prescription assistance, scholarships for after-school activities and more,' said Catherine West, director resource center.

According to Brown over at Novellus, the company's fundraising efforts over the years have been very purposeful because they knew where the money was going.

'In 2004, we started really capitalizing on the company match, started trying to collect more cash,' Brown said. 'We knew we could be a big financial help in allowing the resource center to bring in the mobile medical and dentist team, that sort of thing.'

The resource center, which is based out of a portable classroom at Tigard High School, assists an average of 180 families every month in the Tigard-Tualatin area. The center's annual operating cost totals about $75,000, paid for by the Washington County Commission on Children and Families.

'(The donation) makes a huge difference in our ability to help local families in need,' West said. 'The base funding that we get covers staff time and benefits, so this makes it so we can provide a lot of services to families. That just makes a huge difference for us.'

The spike in donations comes at a crucial moment for the center, when it - and others like it - are facing uncertain times.

'This past year, with all of the revenue shortfalls, we didn't know whether or not we would be able to keep our doors open, but found out in late May that our contracts would be extended for one year,' West said.

State and local commissions like the one that funds the Tigard-Tualatin center are in danger of elimination as soon as this summer if the Oregon legislature follows the recommendation of the state's Early Learning Council.

'We don't know whether or not we will have funding to stay open next year,' West said. 'This is such a rewarding position, and we are able to help so many families by leveraging so much local support. It would be such a loss if we were not able to continue being a part of this wonderful community.'

For now, the folks at Novellus are determined to continue helping in any way they can.

'We truly feel honored and privileged to be able to help, especially at a time when so many programs like the Tigard-Tualatin Family Resource Center are facing funding cuts and resource shortages,' Brown said. 'I think everyone knows somebody who's been drastically affected in one way or another. We're just trying to give back and be good stewards of our community.'




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