Bayer Pittsburgh employee gets grant to aid poor

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To one woman, a $2,600 grant meant having a roof over her head, which would not have been possible without David Hanne, a Bayer Pittsburgh employee.

He chose to donate the money he was awarded to help pay for building supplies used during a one-week mission trip to West Virginia. Some of the money also was donated to help homeless people in Allegheny County.

Mr. Hanne, 56, of Hopewell was among 150 current and former Bayer employees -- the only one from Pittsburgh -- chosen by the Bayer Cares Foundation to receive the grant. He has worked for Bayer for 30 years and currently serves as a contract manager.

To commemorate Bayer's 150 years, the foundation will contribute more than $750,000 through employee volunteer projects throughout the world. Eight current Bayer employees and one retiree from the United States were selected. In all, 660 applications were submitted to the foundation.

About 30 people from Mr. Hanne's church, Christian Assembly Church in Industry, traveled to Gary, W.Va., a few weeks ago to install a roof on a woman's home. They also added a wheelchair ramp and helped with electricity and plumbing in the house. The grant money from Bayer was used to buy shingles, wood and paint for the project.

Mr. Hanne, who tries to go on at least one mission trip each year, said the group's efforts are always acknowledged.

"The people we are helping generally cry," he said. "They are really excited when we're there."

Members of his church also donate food, clothes and hygiene supplies to homeless people in Pittsburgh once per month. They buy those items with the money remaining from the grant after purchasing supplies for the trip.

What set Mr. Hanne apart from other applications was his passion for helping others, said Sarah Toulouse, donations officer at Bayer Corp., who helped advise German colleagues on the selection of American applicants.

She said her committee's role was to tell global judges that applicants like Mr. Hanne were doing projects that improve the lives of people using innovative ideas.

"David was able to articulate not only what his work does to help those in need but what it adds to David's own life in terms of personal fulfillment," Ms. Toulouse said.

She added that Mr. Hanne is an example of how Bayer employees make volunteering a part of their work and life balance.

"It's a unique and special occasion that Bayer can make a tangible gift in support of our employees' good works," Ms. Toulouse said. "It magnifies the impact our employees, and we as an employer, can have on the community."

neigh_west

Jessica Tully: jtully@post-gazette.com, 412-263-1159 or on Twitter @jessalynn4.


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