Lab’s community plan soldiers on

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Regional economy: LANS, LLC agrees to $3 million deal

By John Severance

Back in September, the Board of Governors of Los Alamos National Security, LLC unanimously approved recommendations to continue its $3 million a year contribution to support a Community Commitment Plan.

It was not a total slam dunk and there was some uncertainty about whether the program would carry forward.

According to Connections, the Los Alamos National Lab’s in-house magazine, LANS approved the plan even though it was not contractually obligated to continue the CCP, as it had been for the first seven years of its contract with NNSA.
The plan provides the lab’s Community Programs Office with funding from LANS’ management fee to invest in regional education, economic development and charitable giving programs.

“Reasons to approve a new plan were many, and I’m especially appreciative of the board’s decision because the plan is no longer a specific contractual obligation,” said the lab’s Community Programs Office director Kurt Steinhaus.

“We listened to many Northern New Mexicans and worked diligently to demonstrate that the previous $3 million LANS spent each year since 2006 in education, economic development, and community giving had a meaningful return on investment for the community and LANL.”

Steinhaus said input came from program reviews, interviews, surveys and meetings with a wide range of regional partners.

“Much of the plan’s work remains the same, but a number of modifications have been identified that will better address Northern New Mexico’s and the lab’s changing needs,” Steinhaus said. “These include, for example, additional emphasis on helping students and workers jump-start their preparation for the high-tech jobs available at the lab and elsewhere in the region.”

Steinhaus also credited LANL Director Charlie McMillan, who helped with the presentation to LANS.\

“He deserves a lot of the credit for getting this pushed though,” Steinhaus said.

According to the magazine, the following are examples of how LANS funding has benefited Northern New Mexico since 2006 in the areas of education, giving and economic development:
• LANS funded the “Northern New Mexico Inquiry Science Education Consortium,” which has demonstrated student achievement gains in science ranging from 16 to 29 percent in its first year.
• A $2.5 million investment in scholarships that enabled 481 scholarships to be awarded through the LANL Foundation
• Matching funds from LANS that have helped grow employee giving by more than 270 percent since 2006, culminating in a record-breaking 2012 campaign that reached the $2.8 million mark.
• More than 160 New Mexico businesses received support, which made possible the:
• Creation or retention of 327 jobs
• $9.8 million in additional salaries
• $17.7 million in revenue
• A total economic impact of $236.6 million leveraged from a $19.4 million investment.

“LANL is a vital member of the Northern New Mexico community,” said McMillan, who made the request to the LANS Board of Governors. “We and our neighbors are in this together and the LANS Community Commitment Plan has given us an unprecedented opportunity to partner with them on programs that are mutually beneficial and sustainable.”
Steinhaus met with the Board of Governors Sept. 6 in Santa Fe.

“We were pleased and thankful that the Board of Governors decided to sustain the commitment,” Steinhaus said.
“LANS’ generous financial investments are important to the lab and our Northern New Mexico neighbors and have helped take our employee donations and volunteer work far beyond anything we were able to accomplish in the past.”

The LANS Board of Governors will continue an annual review of the Community Commitment Plan and its investments.