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A word with Dee Mooney about the Micron Foundation

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Dee Mooney

Idahoans typically think of Micron as just one of the state’s, and Boise’s, major employers; as former Boise mayor Dave Bieter used to say, “When Micron sneezes, Boise catches a cold.”

But the company also runs a charitable foundation that helps support and educate state residents. Earlier this year, the company announced plans to commit $35 million to help those affected by COVID-19, including a new Micron Foundation $10 million relief fund, an increase in employee gift matching and financial assistance for team members through grants.

The Micron Foundation COVID-19 Relief Fund will go toward global initiatives focused on economic recovery. It also made a one-time assistance payment, offering $1,000 to U.S. team members earning less than $100,000 annually.

In addition, Micron implemented a 2-to-1 company match for designated COVID-19 donations to its Micron Gives program and provided up to 300,000 protective masks to local health officials.

We talked with Dee Mooney, executive director of corporate citizenship at Micron, to find out more about the foundation’s work.

When did Micron set up its foundation, and what is its goal?

We established the Micron Technology Foundation in 1999. The foundation aims to fund effective programs that promote science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education and supports our community address basic human needs and equitable opportunities.

Why does Micron have a foundation?

Micron believes in applying our strengths and resources to support our communities worldwide. We set up the foundation as a separate legal entity with an endowment to maintain consistent support for our giving programs, despite the cyclical nature of the semiconductor industry.

Micron has a relatively new CEO. How has he influenced the direction of the Foundation?

Sanjay Mehrotra is the chairman of the board for the Micron Foundation. He provides input into the vision and strategic direction of the foundation. In addition, he supports employee engagement through volunteerism and a robust matching gifts program that benefits schools and charities (in addition to traditional grantmaking). Sanjay and the Micron Foundation Board of Directors have also prioritized giving to the community to address basic human needs in the form of hunger relief, housing support and equitable opportunities.

How much funding does the Micron Foundation distribute in a typical year, and for what kind of projects?

During a typical year, the Micron Foundation funds $10 million globally. The strategic grants support STEM education and our communities.

This year wasn’t typical, though. How did the Micron Foundation change its focus this year to deal with COVID-19 and its economic disruption?

2020 has undeniably been a challenging year, with the COVID-19 crisis, national social unrest, massive fires and relentless hurricanes. This year, the Micron Foundation’s giving is on course to hit $24 million globally.

Aided by matching funds from the foundation, Micron team members have contributed $10.7 million to more than 1,600 organizations, to support causes and charities most important to them. We implemented a two-to-one company match for all charitable donations made by team members during 2020 and increased matching thresholds to $12,000 per person (up from $2,000) to double the effects of contributions. We plan to continue matching this way in 2020 until we have reached $8 million in matching gifts (up from the previous threshold of $2 million). Additionally, we gave Micron team members the option to donate the cash value of their accrued time off to charity this year and have those contributions matched.

In a year dominated by the pandemic, Micron committed $35 million to help those disproportionately affected by COVID-19. That commitment included corporate and foundation giving.

The Micron Foundation established a $10 million COVID-19 Relief Fund focused on global initiatives to support economic recovery, addressing both current and future community needs. We funded a range of charities and initiatives, from food banks, school meal programs to online learning resources for students and research initiatives that improved our understanding of the coronavirus. Micron’s corporate efforts included a new financial assistance fund for team members, in-kind support and supplies for emergency medical response, and accelerated payments to small business suppliers. These initiatives supported people harmed by the pandemic in countries around the world: Germany, Malaysia, India, the U.S. and more.

In Idaho alone, the Micron Foundation contributed approximately $895,000 across different organizations, including the Idaho Foodbank, St. Luke’s Health Foundation and the Boys and Girls Club of Ada County and Nampa to name a few. In addition to grants, the company promoted the Idaho Community Foundation’s COVID relief fund to Boise team members who, along with the Micron match, raised approximately $1.5 million for distribution statewide.

Micron provided personal protective equipment to health care professionals, emergency response organizations and other charitable and service groups. Including items distributed from partner and customer donations, by June, the company had donated nearly 368,000 masks, 9,750 pairs of gloves, 2,982 face shields and 50 drums of isopropanol alcohol, among other materials. These items are in addition to PPEs provided to protect our team members and their families.

What are your plans for next year?

Our Micron Foundation team members are already working on 2021 budgets and strategies. We are looking closely at our programs and examining the best ways to help our communities and schools, with focuses on promoting human potential through STEM education, basic human needs and equitable opportunities.

About Sharon Fisher