Our Investments are Paying Off

July 5, 2021

Six months after the first distribution of FirstEnergy’s Investing with Purpose grants, we’re seeing our dollars at work and fulfilling needs across our service territory.

The initiative was developed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic – which created health, financial and educational hardships for many of our customers – as well as events of 2020 that highlighted racial and social injustices impacting our nation. With these issues in mind, FirstEnergy Foundation, with input from External Affairs and the MOSaic Executive Business Resource Group (EBRG), identified nonprofit organizations that are responding to the needs of vulnerable populations across our service territory.

The $3.4 million Investing with Purpose funds are supporting organizations that advance health and safety, workforce development, education and social justice initiatives. The support represents an additional commitment on top of the Foundation’s annual charitable giving, which averages approximately $10 million per year. The grants awarded in December 2020 represent the first round of donations. Below are a few examples of our Investing with Purpose grants helping those in our communities who need it most.

A Shot in the Arm – For Many

A $50,000 grant to The Salvation Army of Greater Cleveland played a big role in fighting COVID-19. The Salvation Army of East Cleveland is one of seven operation centers under the umbrella of the Greater Cleveland organization. Realizing the need to make it easier for East Cleveland residents to receive COVID-19 vaccinations, the organization teamed up with the Cuyahoga County Board of Health and the city of East Cleveland to open a vaccination site. As a result, more than 300 residents safely and conveniently received their two doses of the Moderna vaccine.

An East Cleveland resident receives the COVID-19 vaccine.

A Work Force with Purpose

SW Resources in Parkersburg, W.Va., is vital to helping individuals better their lives. Founded in 1964, the nonprofit provides vocational training and employment opportunities for those with disabilities. More than 200 employees work in a variety of services from printing and graphics to warehouse and production solutions supporting area businesses.

Over the past year, SW Resources developed a more structured 16-week program for individuals with substance use disorder. Program participants are assigned various jobs within the agency that will support training and learning goals within their plans. They also will earn a competitive wage while performing their assigned tasks. The organization received a $35,000 grant that will help fund a portion of the wages that SW Resources pays out to the 50 people expected to enroll in the program over the course of this year.

An SW Resources program participant (l.) reviews options with a staff member. Please note: this photo was taken prior to the pandemic.

Preparing Future Leaders​

The LindenPointe Entrepreneurship Academy (eAcademy) in Mercer County, Pa., is a unique program that gives high school students practical experience by partnering with business leaders, including Penn Power and FirstEnergy employee volunteers, to develop entrepreneurial skills.

Through a $10,000 grant, the academy was able to upgrade the audio and video conferencing equipment in an eAcademy classroom. “Upgrading our technology allowed us to continue learning from local business leaders so that our students could get the most out of this entrepreneurship program,” said Lisa Evans, program director of the eAcademy. “We are extremely thankful for the relationship we’ve built with Penn Power and FirstEnergy. Their support touches the lives of many local students.”

LindenPointe students hard at work in a technology lab.