Jul. 20—SPENCERVILLE — Charles River Laboratories in Spencerville opened its checkbook Tuesday, donating a total of $25,000 to four local organizations — Lima South Science and Technology Magnet School, Spencerville Elementary/Middle School STEM Program, Spencerville High School STEM Program and the Spencerville Community Improvement Corporation.
Each received checks for $6,250.
"I think all corporations should give back to the community," said Rusty Rush, general manager at Charles River Laboratories in Spencerville. "The community provides not only financial support but personnel that work in these research facilities. They're really our goldmine, and the bottom line is without the community support, without the personnel they provide to work in our facilities, we would have a very difficult time being an organization."
Three of the checks are going to help Spencerville and Lima schools with their STEM programming.
"We're going to use it to help foster that outreach for our students to those explorations and those real-life experiences," said Chad Fallis, principal of South Science and Technology Magnet School. "In the science, technology, engineering and mathematics programs, this will be a great opportunity for us to get some of our younger students out and exposed as well to the sciences that are actually being practiced with those people that are doing it in the real world."
The extra funding will help kids thinking about entering the STEM field.
"It's a huge support for the schools and the community, just opportunities that they can bring into the schools as well as our students coming out here for job opportunities and exposure to what Charles River does and how that can impact many lives," said Cindy Endsley, Spencerville schools superintendent.
Charles River Laboratories, with 250 employees at the Spencerville location, works to test new pharmaceutical products and new treatments to help those with diseases and disabilities.
"We've worked on anti-cancer drugs. We've worked on Parkinson's drugs, diabetes, you name the disease, we've worked on those, including some of the very unique what they call 'orphan drugs' for diseases that impact maybe one in 10 million people. We're also working on cancer treatments that are very novel, including one where they use radio waves to try to kill the cancer cells," Rush said.
The facility is awaiting approval for a big expansion.
"We're at a point in our growth here where we may be adding 50% more buildings and 50% more staffing," Rush said.
An official announcement on that could happen by mid-August.
Reach Sam Shriver at 567-242-0409.