UNION COUNTY — Of the more than $400 million in grants the Timken Foundation of Canton, Ohio has given to public charities in communities in which the Timken Company has a presence since 1934 more than $3 million has been given in Union County including $205,000 given last Thursday.
In a ceremony at the Timken Tyger River Plant Thursday afternoon, company officials presented representatives of the following four organizations with checks from the foundation for the following amounts:
• Bonham Fire Department — $25,000
• Union County Detention Center — $28,475
• Union County YMCA — $30,000
• Spartanburg Regional Healthcare Foundation — $121,525
While awarded by the foundation, grants are sponsored by the local Timken Company facilities. The grants presented Thursday were sponsored by the Tyger River Plant, Gaffney Bearing Plant, and Duncan Distribution Center.
In announcing the grants, Timken Tyger River Plant Human Resources Director John Robbins talked about the history of the foundation, including its founding, the reason it was established, the amount of grants made since its founding, and the purposes for which those grants may be used.
“The Timken Foundation is a private, family foundation founded by Henry H. Timken in 1934,” Robbins said. “This concept was based on the family desire that a charitable institution be established to allow some of their personal assets from TKR stock to flow back into the plant communities in which the earnings were generated. The Timken Foundation has been preserved and expanded by subsequent generations of the Timken Family.”
Robbins said that since its founding the foundation “has made over $400 million in grants to public charities” in the communities in which Timken Company facilities are located. Those are allocated for the following purposes:
Facilities and activities administered by public and private schools, colleges, and similar institutions.
• Health & Hospitals
Facilities and services related to the provision of medical and health care.
Facilities and services owned, operated, or funded by government or quasi-public organizations.
Facilities and activities established to advance the fine and performing arts.
• Human Services
Facilities and services administered by agencies providing general and special social services available to the general public.
Robbins added that, as of Thursday, the foundation “has awarded $3,173,539 for grants in Union County.”
The institutions and organizations that have received funds from the Timken Foundation also includes the Miracle League of Union County, the Bonham and Buffalo fire departments, Union County Arts Center, Salvation Army, Union County Carnegie Library, Union County School District, Union County Stadium, and the Cross Keys House. In September of 2017, Union County received a $75,000 grant from the Timken Foundation which was used to purchase a backup emergency generator for the Union County EMS.
“We are a big part of the employees’ lives and we’re a big part of the community and the lives of the citizens of the community,” Robbins said. “It’s the associates giving back, it’s the plant giving back, it’s supporting the community and giving back at all levels.”
The grants awarded at Thursday’s ceremony will be used for a variety of purposes that will assist those organizations in serving the community.
In accepting the grant awarded his department, Bonhan Fire Chief Scott Austin thanked Timken and said the $25,000 will “fully outfit eight firefighters with new equipment that will last 10 years. It’s a win-win for us, it really helps us out.”
Union County Detention Center Director Neil McKeown said that the $28,475 grant awarded to the center will be used to help construct a much-needed multi-purpose building which will be used to provide inmates with services that could help them turn lives around and become law-abiding citizens when they complete their sentences. McKeown said that people have offered to provide educational and other services aimed at providing inmates with the counseling and skills they need to avoid returning to crime once they are released. To provide those services, however, McKeown said a facility was needed and that the grant awarded by the foundation will enable it to be built.
“I’ve got people offering these services and we need a building for them so we can help these guys get back on track,” McKeown said. “This grant is really helping us out.”
When completed, McKeown said the facility, which is already under construction due to funds from the Spartanburg Regional Healthcare Foundation and donations from the City of Union, will house a doctor’s office, a classroom, and an inmate vocational area. He added that it will also include a small workout area for officers.
The grant for the YMCA was accepted by Associate Josh Freeman and Board Member Nancy Kennedy who said the $30,000 will be used to upgrade its swimming pool including a new water slide, sun shades, tables and chairs. They said the improvements will help make the swimming pool an even more pleasant facility for public use.
One of those accepting the grant for the Spartanburg Regional Healthcare Foundation was Director of Philanthropy Dania Beck who said the $121,525 will go toward the purchase of a mobile mammography unit. Beck said that a unit and the necessary equipment costs approximately $800,000 and that approximately $678,000 had already been raised. She said the grant from the Timken Foundation will cover the balance of the cost of the vehicle and equipment.
While the Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System — including the Union Medical Center — already has a mobile mammography unit, Beck said it is already at its maximum capacity in serving the mammography needs of the women living in the system’s service area. Beck said the new unit will enable the SRHS to serve even more women, especially underserved women who, because of the demands of their jobs, are not able to take time off to go to the hospital to get a mammogram. She said the new unit will enable these women to have more opportunity to get needed mammograms while still being able to work.
A mammography can detect breast cancer which affects 1 in 8 women in their lifetimes and can prove fatal if not detected early enough.
“It truly does save lives,” Beck said of the services that will be offered by the new mammography unit.
Charles Warner can be reached at 864-762-4090.