The FirstEnergy Foundation awarded more than $3.43 million to nearly 100 organizations across its six-state service territory for the final round of "Investing with Purpose," an initiative focused on supporting nonprofit organizations that advance health and safety, workforce development, educational and social justice initiatives.
In addition, FirstEnergy Corp. provided $220,000 to five organizations as part of the initiative. The grants build on $3.3 million in charitable contributions the foundation awarded in December 2020 as part of the initial round of giving, which has collectively gifted $7 million to nearly 200 nonprofit organizations making a difference in the communities served by FirstEnergy's 10 electric companies.
"Investing with Purpose" was developed in response to the COVID pandemic, which created health, financial, and educational hardships for customers across FirstEnergy's footprint, and in response to the events of 2020 that highlighted racial and social injustices impacting our nation.
With those issues in mind, the foundation identified philanthropic opportunities through nonprofit organizations across its service territory that are responding to needs of vulnerable populations. The "Investing with Purpose" initiative represents an additional commitment on top of the company's annual charitable giving, which averages approximately $10 million per year.
"Many of our communities are still facing a significant hardship due to the pandemic. Nonprofit organizations on the frontline of our current health and economic crisis have realigned to support current needs in the community, including housing, workforce development and training, and the continued support of our healthcare workers," said Lorna Wisham, VP of Corporate Affairs & Community Involvement and president of the FirstEnergy Foundation. "We've witnessed the positive impact these grants made for deserving organizations in 2020, and we look forward to seeing how the second round of contributions will help strengthen the communities we serve."
"Investing with a Purpose" grants were presented to organizations that support initiatives in four key areas:
Health & Safety – Approximately $1 million was presented to organizations that provide food and shelter, disaster relief, protective equipment, financial assistance, health screenings and other important services to underserved populations and to those active in the fight against COVID. Recipients include hospitals, youth organizations, shelters and other organizations across FirstEnergy's footprint.
"Investing with a Purpose" grants were presented to organizations that support initiatives in four areas:
- Workforce Development – To assist those impacted by job loss and to continue to foster a viable workforce in the community, approximately $993,000 was presented to organizations working to enhance job training, mentorship and opportunities for non-traditional workers. Grant recipients include organizations such as technical schools and programs, disability services, economic development agencies and job resource programs.
- Education – The Foundation granted nearly $682,000 to organizations supporting learning initiatives, including resources for parents and teachers, and to those who are working to combat the challenge of the digital divide. Recipients include schools, libraries, and community education programs, among others.
- Social Justice – Approximately $448,200 was granted to social justice organizations that help advance multicultural awareness, equality and inclusion. Grants were provided to both national and local nonprofits actively assisting minority business development, LGBTQ cultural programming and other important causes, including a donation to The Tri-State Diversity Council to conduct unconscious bias training and assist formerly incarcerated individuals with training to return to the workplace in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey.