Sabic's $1 million gift to Berkshire United Way is remarkably generous. It is also a painful reminder of what Pittsfield and the Berkshires are losing.
Sabic Innovative Plastics has not only provided good jobs it has, over the past 10 years, earned a reputation for charitable giving and dedicated volunteer work in the community (Eagle, July 22). Between employee donations and corporate matching funds, Sabic has averaged $250,000 a year in donations to the Berkshire United Way. BUY President Kristine Hazzard said on Friday that the money would be used in large part to strengthen the organization's high-priority early childhood literacy program, while also significantly bulking up the organization's endowment funds.
The trickle-down effect of Sabic's departure is already being felt. For example, Tiffany Morawiec, business administrator in the Lee Public Schools, is moving with her husband to Houston where Sabic has its corporate headquarters. The company's employees also volunteer for local youth groups and other organizations. Sabic's move to Houston certainly makes sense from a corporate standpoint and was not entirely unexpected, but it hurts on a variety of levels.
The ultimate fate of Sabic's separate Polymer Processing Development Center in Pittsfield is unclear and many plastics division employees are determined to find jobs and remain in the community. Ideally, there will be good news on both fronts. It can, however, be said with certainty that Sabic's positive legacy in Pittsfield and the Berkshires will live on courtesy of its generous gift to the Berkshire United Way.