Rittal North America Donates $18,000 to Urbana Youth Center


May 11, 2021

Rittal North America recently donated $18,000 to the Urbana  Youth Center in Urbana,Ohio, to support key educational, life skills, and career training programming such as homework assistance, nutrition programs, general operations, and upcoming programs on career readiness and placement. 

This recent donation is the latest gesture by the global manufacturer of industrial enclosures, IT racks, climate control, and power distribution systems to further its commitment to and investment in the Urbana community. Rittal’s contribution will help enable the youth center to bolster its career and job programming, which will include a trip to local career partners of UYC. The donation will also support ongoing efforts like the youth center’s Homework & Study Assistance program.

Mike Freund, Managing Director of Rittal North America, LLC, believes the UYC plays a vital role in helping educate young people in and around Urbana about the career opportunities that await them in the workforce, be it local, national, or even international. 

“When the Urbana Youth Center approached us, we immediately saw the value in what they are trying to accomplish,” Freund said. “We understand that about one in three of our area children lives in poverty. We are family and community-minded and feel a strong desire to step up and be part of the change.” 

Justin T. Weller, Executive Director for the Urbana Youth Center, said, “The students and team at the Urbana Youth Center, along with everyone at GrandWorks, are honored to accept this very generous investment from Rittal. Donations like this make it self-evident that our local employers understand and are willing to invest in the critical work we are doing at the Urbana Youth Center.”  

The UYC – a project of the GrandWorks Foundation, which is a local not-for-profit organization leading several efforts to reach, restore, and revive the community — opened in February at the former Champaign County Public Library. With about 400 student members and regular attendance of more than 100 area youth, UYC has already experienced sustained, strong demand for its programs which led the organization to determine additional space and funding were required to meet demand.

Tony Pearson, Human Resources Manager at Rittal, believes his organization is well-suited to support the UYC in its mission to continue growing and providing new programs and services. 

“Rittal believes that the community must invest in our youth,“ said Pearson. “They are our future. We are thrilled to support the work UYC is doing and our team is looking forward to volunteering to help ongoing efforts at the center.” 

The youth center also has the official support of Urbana City Schools, the Champaign County Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Bureau, Bundy Baking Solutions, Mercy Health Urbana Hospital, and others. 

Weller says that building a strong network of local employers and organizations like Rittal will be essential to the ongoing success of the youth center.

“Rittal’s contribution and some of the others we have recently received are ensuring that we can operate through the summer and expand our programming,” said Weller. “We are continuing outreach to local employers and organizations to make sure we can continue to offer young people at the Urbana Youth Center a quality experience. This is not a small effort; it is a big one. As such, it is going to require other community members to follow Rittal’s forward-thinking and generous example.”




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