In 1906, Russian immigrant Sam Schnitzer founded a one-man scrap business called Alaska Junk Company. Sam and his wife, Rose, raised seven children in Portland, Oregon. With his sons, Sam grew the family scrap metal business into a steel recycling, shipping and real estate organization known as the Schnitzer Group. Sam’s youngest son, Leonard, became the CEO of Schnitzer Steel Industries in 1973 and remained chairman until his death in 2003.
Schnitzer Steel's early charitable donations were concentrated in Portland and throughout Oregon, where there businesses were located. As Schnitzer Steel grew to other communities across the country, so did its giving.
When tragedy strikes, Schnitzer Steel and its employees rally to help. When Hurricane Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast in August 2005, Schnitzer Steel employees demonstrated their generosity by responding with donations to the charities of their choice. In addition to fully matching employee contributions, Schnitzer Steel donated $50,000 to Mercy Corps and individual $25,000 donations to local Red Cross chapters in Louisiana, Mississippi, Georgia and Alabama. When the tsunami struck Southeast Asia just after the holidays in 2004, Schnitzer Steel immediately donated $125,000 to Mercy Corps to support relief efforts.
Throughout the company’s operations, the Schnitzer tradition of generosity lives on through the community service provided by dedicated Schnitzer Steel employees and the passion they feel for the communities where they work and live. Some examples include:
- Employees at our Tacoma, WA metals recycling facility donated steel to make sure the solders at nearby Fort Lewis would have sufficient armor for their High Mobility Vehicles (HMVs) when fighting insurgents in Iraq.
- Our Portland, OR headquarters honors the spirit of giving each holiday season by sponsoring a "Giving Tree" that provides contributions to organizations that help less fortunate inner-city children and their families.
- Employees at our Sacramento, CA Pick-n-Pull offices joined the Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) walk-a-thon and donated $5,000 to the cause.
- Some of our Pick-n-Pull facilities support fire safety and prevention efforts by providing space and auto bodies for local fire departments to use in "Jaws of Life" and other lifesaving training exercises.
- The team at our steel manufacturing facility in McMinnville, OR has supported various efforts to fight against childhood cancer and even donated steel rebar used to construct a nearby children's hospital.
- One of our employees at our Portland, OR metals recycling facility shared the lessons he learned overcoming drug and alcohol addiction by starting a 12-step fellowship meeting to help himself and others progress with their recoveries.
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