Special Gifts of the Season

January 16, 2020

There are so many wonderful organizations doing great work throughout our service territory. And each year, the FirstEnergy Foundation surprises a group of deserving nonprofits during the holiday season with extra support through our Gifts of the Season program.

“We continue to grow this very special program, as the recipients are so grateful for the surprise holiday contribution,” said Lorna Wisham, vice president, Corporate Affairs and Community Involvement. “It’s great assisting organizations that in turn are helping those less fortunate in our communities. It’s a wonderful initiative – especially during the holidays.”

Let’s take a look at a few of the surprise deliveries.

Toledo Edison

Meg Adams, consultant, Regional External Affairs, and Rich Sweeney, regional president, Toledo Edison, presented a $5,000 check to Equality Toledo. The organization works to eliminate discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression through education, activism and other anti-defamation efforts. The agency also has a food pantry that serves more than 700 households.

L.-r.: Meg; Sheena Barnes, Equality Toledo; Rich; and Nick Komives, councilman, Toledo.

Victor Coleman, consultant, Regional External Affairs, and Rich presented a $5,000 check to Bittersweet Farms in Whitehouse, Ohio. The organization provides a secure, safe environment for individuals with challenging behaviors and limited social and communication skills. It offers agriculture, horticulture, landscaping, animal care, craft-making and woodworking activities, designed for individuals with autism disorders.

L.-r.: Victor; Dustin Watkins, Bittersweet Farms; Rich; and Mark Dudley, analyst, FEU Business Services, whose daughter is a member of the Bittersweet Farms community.

West Penn Power

Horses of Hope, Inc. (HOHI), a therapeutic riding organization in Clinton County, received $10,000. HOFI offers equine-assisted activities for individuals with special needs, a Heroes & Horses program for military personnel and a Silver Saddles initiative for those 55 years and older.

At the presentation, l.-r.: JP Tambourine, advisor, Economic Development; Mike Flanagan, Clinton County representative; Joleen Hindman, consultant, Regional External Affairs; HOHI representatives Anne Gibson and Laurie Flanagan; and Jazz.


Members of our Helping Women Grow (HWG) Employee Business Resource Group delivered a $5,000 gift to Safe Berks in Reading. The organization provides a safe haven and ongoing support system for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault.

Gary Mason, consultant, Regional External Affairs, presented a $5,000 check to Miracle League of Northampton County (MLNC) in Palmer, Pa. MLNC uses baseball to create positive experiences for those with intellectual and physical disabilities and their families.

L.-r.: MLNC representatives Ric Agretto, Jennifer Dietrick and Lauren Dietrick with Gary.


Ohio Edison

Representatives Brooke Harless, Daryll Mauder and Bryan Bowman from the SAM (Serving Area Military) Center in Massillon, Ohio, were very appreciative of our $5,000 gift to the organization. SAM honors active service members, veterans and their widows by providing support and hope through love of the community. In the photo, l.-r.: Dan DeVille, manager, Regional External Affairs; Brooke; Laura Tubo, consultant, Regional External Affairs; Daryll; Ed Shuttleworth, regional president, Ohio Edison; and Bryan.

Here are the other organizations that received grants of $5,000 or $10,000:

  • Richland New Hope Industries, Mansfield, Ohio – equips individuals with disabilities with the skills they need to live and work in their communities.
  • Northeast Ohio Foundation for Patriotism, Rocky River, Ohio – provides direct financial assistance and other programs for military members, families and veterans.
  • Disability Options Network, New Castle, Pa. – provides programs and options for those with disabilities who choose to live independently.
  • Embracing Our Veterans, Erie, Pa. – fills the gaps in services for veterans and their families, working closely with the homeless veteran population.
  • Community Hope of Parsippany, N.J. – helps individuals and veterans and their families overcome mental illness, addiction, homelessness and poverty.
  • Girls Inc. of Washington County, Hagerstown, Md. – provides after school programming for girls aged 6 to 18 to improve the quality of their lives now and into the future.
  • Morgan County Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund, Berkeley Springs, W.Va. – working to build a monument to Vietnam Veterans in Morgan County, WV.
  • Operation Welcome Home, Morgantown, W.Va. – works with veterans and their families to overcome barriers to employment, providing the resources necessary to secure fulfilling employment in the civilian workplace.