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Community Relations

Whether contributing to more secure local economies through annual giving campaigns or encouraging our employees to donate time to various volunteer initiatives, individual engagement is a hallmark of Oak Ridge Associated Universities' commitment to supporting our communities.

We also prioritize investing in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education. From free professional development workshops, technology makeovers, and education grants for teachers, to summer science academies for students, ORAU is making a “STEMpact” every day.

Impact Areas

ORAU Extreme Classroom Makeover

The ORAU Extreme Classroom Makeover competition invites local teachers to submit short videos to demonstrate how a $25,000 classroom technology grant would benefit their students' education. The program supports educators who are working to better the education system and illustrates how technology in the classroom helps teachers inspire more students to pursue math- and science-based careers.

Young boy using virtual reality headset

Education Grants

ORAU annually funds grants for teachers from East Tennessee schools. Educational materials and equipment purchased with the grants—such as iPads, computer software, robotics kits, and more—help teachers continue to meet statewide curriculum standards and enhance the learning experience of their students in STEM subjects.

Young students participate in an outdoor science project

United Way and Community Shares

In 2023, ORAU exceeded its goal of raising $100,000 in donations as part of its internal annual giving campaign that benefits the United Way and Community Shares, making total donations of more than $1 million for the past 10 years.

Group of volunteers cleaning roadway

Imagination Library

As an original corporate sponsor of Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library program in Anderson County, Tennessee, ORAU has provided more than 577,400 books to area children from birth to age five since 2001.

Young boy reading a book

Helping Paws Animal Network

Helping Paws Animal Network (HPAN), founded by ORAU employees, is a Section 501(c)(3) nonprofit that supports animal rescue groups across the East Tennessee region. Since 2011, HPAN has donated more than $200,000 to animals in need of food, vet services and forever homes.

Cute dog

See the ORAU community in action

ORAU has demonstrated its commitment to strengthening local communities through investment and participation in acts of service. It's a commitment that has continued for more than 75 years.