We’re Investing with Purpose

February 10, 2021

If the past year has taught us anything, it’s the need to come together and help each other during uncertain times. As always, FirstEnergy and the FirstEnergy Foundation continue our mission of supporting organizations that are keeping our communities strong.

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

“In light of the many challenges presented by the ongoing coronavirus health emergency and critical social justice work that remains at the forefront, the foundation wanted to focus contributions in areas that would drive meaningful change in the communities we serve,” said Lorna Wisham, president, FirstEnergy Foundation. “These awards benefit new and existing nonprofit partners on the frontline of our current health and economic crisis and whose missions also reflect FirstEnergy’s core values.”

The funds will support organizations that advance health and safety, workforce development, education and social justice initiatives. The grants awarded in December 2020 represent the first round, more than $3.4 million in charitable contributions to nearly 100 organizations. Investing with Purpose represents an additional commitment on top of the foundation’s annual charitable giving, which averages approximately $10 million per year.

The foundation is expected to finalize distribution of the remaining grants – comprising a $7 million commitment – in the first half of 2021.

Here is a look at some of our first-round recipients.

Spring Street CDC Table of Hope received a $10,000 contribution. This program supplements other hunger-relief agencies throughout Morris County in New Jersey. Through its mobile food pantry, Spring Street CDC has been able to provide more than 449 tons of food to more than 18,500 families from April through July. The program originally served 65 families per week, but that number has increased to 1,000 families due to the pandemic.

At the check presentation from l.-r. are: Rev. Dr. Sidney Williams Jr.; Teresa Williams, Spring Street CDC; and Bob Flynn, consultant, Regional External Affairs.

Tim Pingley, consultant, Regional External Affairs, attended a check presentation for SW Resources in Parkersburg, W.Va. The organization was awarded $35,000 in support of its Transitional Workforce Program. Pingley (c.) presented the check to Shannon Stricker, along with SW Resources staff and participants of the program. The organization provides jobs and skills training to those with mental and physical challenges, as well as transitioning people from troubled lives, into the mainstream workforce.

The Community Medical Center in Toms River, N.J., received a $25,000 Investing with Purpose contribution. The funds will go toward its emergency response efforts which includes personal protection equipment replenishment, cleaning and sanitation equipment and air filtration systems improvement to create permanent isolation rooms.

L.-r.: Ashley Whitehead, Customer Account specialist III; Ron Crocker, consultant, Regional External Affairs; Community Medical Center’s Jennifer Shuran, Adam Tart and Patrick Ahearn; and Toms River Mayor Maurice Hill.

The Boys and Girls Club of Washington County in Hagerstown, Md., received a $25,000 Investing with Purpose check. Shown with Jim Sears, president, Maryland Operations (l.) is Addie Nardi, Boys and Girls Club.

Bob Flynn, consultant, Regional External Affairs, presented a $5,000 contribution check to Roots & Wings. The organization provides young adults who age out of New Jersey’s foster care system, with safe housing, case management, education, counseling and life skills to empower them toward self-sufficiency. Roots & Wings also provides food, clothing and household essentials as well as preparation and assistance in finding solid employment.

At the check presentation, l.-r.: Jen Waverczak, Customer Account specialist V; Shaun Adams, Roots & Wings; and Bob.

Empower the Village, an economic program for minority businesses, received a $50,000 Investing with Purpose check. The organization provides empowerment programs and initiatives that strategically support policies, career readiness and economic prosperity for businesses and community organizations.

At the check presentation, l.-r.: Stan Prater, consultant, Regional External Affairs; Cheryl Easley, Empower the Village; Elaine Vincent, advisor, Community Involvement; and Ayo Sanderson Wilson, Empower the Village.

Lorna (third from l.), presented a $1 million Investing with Purpose check to the Northeast Ohio Chapter of the American Heart Association (NEOAHA). In the photo with Lorna, l.-r.: Jessica Doudrick, Tracy Behnke and Michael Long, NEOAHA; and Katie Thom, Eastern Region American Heart Association.

For a full list of Investing with Purpose grant recipients, visit the FirstEnergy Foundation page​ on the company’s website.