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In 2020, the Messer Construction Co. Foundation awarded $25,000 each to four nonprofits as part of its annual grant program to support organizations focused on economic inclusion, education and workforce development in the communities where its employees live and work. All grant applications are championed by a Messer employee who is personally involved in the organization. Since its inception in 2005, the foundation has invested more than $1.4 million in nonprofit groups across the Midwest and Southeast. 

The 2020 recipients are:

  • Legacy Mission Village (Nashville, Tennessee) serves 374 refugees per month, seeking to empower them with the education and skills to achieve stability and become part of the Middle Tennessee community. Grant money is being used to furnish an existing classroom with an adjustable floor-to-ceiling divider system, soundproofing panels and furniture for adult education classes.
  • Nativity Academy at St. Boniface (Louisville, Kentucky) is an independent, tuition-free middle school serving students who reside in Louisville’s urban core and whose families live at or below the poverty level. As part of a larger project to renovate the 130-year-old building’s first floor, grant funds were used to modify the front entrance and upgrade the security system to protect students and faculty from crime in the neighborhood. 
  • Freestore Foodbank (Cincinnati) seeks to eliminate hunger by partnering with 500 local food pantries in 20 counties across Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana, and offers culinary and warehouse management training for underemployed and unemployed individuals. Grant money went toward the purchase of a new electric forklift to be used in a distribution center.
  • Hope Haven (Charlotte, North Carolina) is dedicated to helping people in recovery rebuild their lives by providing them with the support services needed to maintain sobriety and economic independence. Grant funding went toward upgrading a children’s computer lab with 10 new laptops, chairs, a printer, a TV, various software and educational games. All labor was provided by Hope Haven staff and residents through the organization’s building maintenance job training program.

“I joined the Hope Haven Board in 2018, just two weeks after moving to Charlotte,” says Juanita Kylander, senior project executive for Messer. “The organization serves such an important purpose providing safe, stable housing for individuals and families who need support to sustain sobriety.” 
The Messer Foundation grant program is completely driven by employees. 

“It’s so inspiring to see how much heart and dedication goes into the selection process every year. It’s a true testament to our collective goal to support organizations doing critical work in our communities,” Kylander says.

COVID-19 forced Hope Haven to close its typically open campus for the health and safety of their residents, including its resident children. When schools moved to remote learning, they were immediately faced with a technology crisis. 

“Generous funding from the Messer Foundation allowed us to completely renovate our children’s computer lab at a time when it was more critical than ever,” says Christy Baker, director of development for Hope Haven. “It’s remarkable to see children who are excited to participate in school and homework because of the inviting and cutting-edge environment provided by the Messer Construction Co. Foundation.” 

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