Special Gifts for a Special Season

February 9, 2021

At the end of each year, the FirstEnergy Foundation presents surprise contributions to selected nonprofits in our service area. And even through the pandemic, we were still able to provide those much-needed contributions to keep our communities stronger.

“We’re proud to support these organizations so they can continue to provide services to help during these uncertain times,” said Lorna Wisham, president, FirstEnergy Foundation. “The grantees were chosen by FirstEnergy External Affairs employees who identified organizations in their local areas that do extraordinary work to strengthen the community and enhance the lives of vulnerable and underserved individuals.”

Here are a few examples of our 2020 Gifts of the Season presentations.

The Miriam House, a shelter for homeless women in Norwalk, Ohio, received a $5,000 contribution. At the virtual check presentation are (clockwise from top left): Dan DeVille, manager, Regional External Affairs; Nick Katsaros, consultant, Regional External Affairs; and Tom Waniewski and Vickie Smith, Catholic Charities Diocese of Toledo.

Nick (in photo, top left) also did a virtual check presentation to the Nord Center in Lorain, Ohio. The facility, which provides mental health services, received $5,000. In the photo with Nick are (clockwise from top center): Betsey Kamm, The Nord Center; Jeff Hall, Engineering Services supervisor (Ohio Edison); Don Schiffbauer, the Nord Center; and Dan. Ed Shuttleworth, regional president, Ohio Edison, joined via cell phone.

Receiving a $10,000 contribution was The LindenPointe Entrepreneurship Academy – located in Penn Power’s Hermitage, Pa., service territory. The academy is an educational program that encourages economic development in the region by giving local high school students a year-long, practical work experience in which they partner with business leaders to develop entrepreneurial skills.

John Greenwood, consultant, Regional External Affairs, presented the check to Lisa Evans, LindenPointe.

The Imagination Station’s Girl Power 2021 program received a $15,000 FirstEnergy Foundation gift. The Imagination Station is a science center in Toledo, that promotes science education and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) professions for girls. In recognition of the gift, FirstEnergy Foundation will serve as presenting sponsor of Girl Power 2021, the organization’s annual STEM career day for girls. Participants get the opportunity to meet and learn from professional women in STEM fields and enjoy other hands-on activities. This year’s event will be virtual due to the pandemic.

Rich Sweeney, regional president, Toledo Edison, presented the check to Lori Hauser, the Imagination Station.

Taking Back Our Youth, Cleveland (CEI) – The organization offers at-risk children with mentoring programs and educational resources to keep their futures bright. The organization also provides incarcerated youth with services to help prepare them to be productive citizens when they transition back into society.

L.-r.: LaJeana Dickson-Gilliam, Customer Account specialist II; Mikki Smith, Taking Back Our Youth; and Darnella Robinson, consultant, Regional External Affairs.

USO of Northern Ohio, Cleveland (CEI) – The USO provides resources for service members, veterans and military families throughout various transition points of their service, including assistance to help them prepare for and secure civilian work. The organization serves military families throughout 29 Ohio counties, and helps nearly 45,000 active duty, guard and reserve members.

Sherry Ems, USO, displays the Gifts of the Season contribution check.

There also were $5,000 contributions to two organizations in our Mon Power territory: The Jack Strong Foundation in Bridgeport and the Mountaineer Food Bank in Gassaway.

The Jack Strong Foundation provides financial and moral support to families impacted by childhood cancer. The organization raises funds to assist with medical bills, lodging for out-of-state treatments, traveling expenses and meals.

The Mountaineer Food Bank is the largest emergency food provider in the state, distributing more than 20.7 million pounds annually. The organization provides food and other household items to more than 450 feeding programs in 48 counties. They include food pantries, soup kitchens and shelters, as well as senior, Veterans Table, mobile pantry and school food programs. Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the food bank has seen a significant increase in demand for food assistance across its footprint.​