Merck's ripple effect on non-profit groups - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Merck's ripple effect on non-profit groups

November 29, 2005

Albany--The closing of Merck next year won't only hurt its employees but also many charities who came to depend on one of Albany's best corporate citizens.

When Merck disappears for good, so will the donations that many groups in Albany depend on.

"It's a sad thing for them, for us, for all of Albany, I think," says museum director, Aaron Berger.

The Albany Museum of Art is one of the many places that relies on Merck's generosity.

"Merck has probably been the leader in contributions to non-profits in this town," says Berger. Each year the museum partners with the company for different events.

"The Merck staff has always worked hard at trying to find different ways to keep Merck as a partner in different programs and exhibitions that we've done," says Berger.

But with Merck soon out of the picture, fewer donations will mean less money going toward good causes, including the United Way.

"It's just devastating really, coming on the heels of Bob's Candies closing who was also a major contributor," says United Way president, Wayne Mehearg.

Behind employees at Proctor and Gamble and the Marine base, Merck is the United Way's third largest contributor.

"They've been a big help," says Mehearg.

And not just financially. "There are other employees that have been long time, loyal volunteers, so it'll sort be like losing members of the family," says Mehearg.

In the past Merck has helped the United Way fund thirty-nine different organizations throughout southwest Georgia.

"About fifty percent of it goes to youth agencies, like the Boys and Girls Club, Girls Incorporated, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, YMCA youth programs," says Mehearg.

Places like the United Way and the Albany Museum of Art, won't officially feel the effects of Merck's closing for some time, but hope that another company will step in and take the place of Merck.

"Hopefully, they'll be successful in what they're trying to do, which is sell the plant to another employer, and employ these same people," say Mehearg.

So that the donations continue to pour in.

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