For more than a century, FirstEnergy and its predecessor companies have worked to improve the quality of life in the communities we serve. Generating goodwill, transmitting knowledge, delivering support and encouraging employee volunteerism are the basis for investments we make in communities across our service territory.
Our employees help foster the development of our neighborhoods and strengthen local organizations dedicated to enriching communities and serving those in need. Through a range of coordinated efforts, FirstEnergy and its employees are dedicated to making a positive difference in our communities.
Our giving strategy focuses on initiatives that parallel our business interests while helping our communities and the people who live in them succeed. For example, we support programs that enhance the safety of our customers, employees and their families. We also promote local and regional economic development initiatives that enrich neighborhoods and foster community growth and stability.
We are committed to building productive relationships to address areas of need in our communities. Whether it’s the United Way or a local charitable agency, our corporate contributions and philanthropic outreach are directed toward organizations and projects dedicated to improving the environmental, economic, social, educational and cultural aspects of our communities.
Funded solely by FirstEnergy Corp., the FirstEnergy Foundation awarded $54 million in grants over the past decade to qualified not-for-profit, tax-exempt organizations across our service area. These include the United Way, Habitat for Humanity, educational organizations, arts and cultural programs, and civic and economic development groups in communities where we live, work and do business.
Our employees donate their time and talents to assist hundreds of organizations and thousands of people each year—from volunteering at local food pantries and building affordable, energy-efficient homes to raising funds for quality health and social services. We continue to build key relationships and volunteer opportunities with organizations in our service territory and increase employee awareness of these volunteer opportunities. As we expand our efforts, our recently implemented VTO program enables us to better track and measure FirstEnergy’s community outreach and impact.
Highlighted below are a few examples of how our employees contribute their time and efforts in our communities.
Every year, our employees volunteer their time and resources during the American Heart Walk. In 2018, more than 200 FirstEnergy employees and their families participated in the 2.5-mile Akron Heart Walk to raise funds for the American Heart Association.
JCP&L employees participated in the 33rd Clean Ocean Action Beach Sweeps, one of the longest-running cleanups of its kind in the country. At three different locations along the New Jersey shoreline, our employees gathered with other local volunteers to clean beaches and waterways.
FirstEnergy employees in Reading, Pennsylvania, joined together to support The Salvation Army’s 2018 Thanksgiving Food Drive. Our volunteers filled more than 800 bags of food for distribution to families in need.
Since 2012, FirstEnergy employees have volunteered every summer at the annual FirstEnergy All-American Soap Box Derby in Akron, Ohio. In 2019, employees donated their time as more than 400 competitors from around the world participated in the 82nd world championship races.
In March 2019, Potomac Edison employees came together to support Go Red for Women, the American Heart Association’s national movement to end heart disease and stroke in women. Dressed in red on Valentine’s Day, our employees provided literature to help raise awareness about cardiovascular disease.
The FirstEnergy Foundation’s Matching Gifts program connects employee contributions to qualifying educational, cultural, youth, civic and health and human services organizations. Since the program’s inception in 2001, the Foundation has donated approximately $2.5 million by matching employee contributions to qualifying organizations, including more than $300,000 in 2018.
Since 2001, the FirstEnergy Foundation, employees and retirees have contributed nearly $69 million to United Way campaigns. We’ve built a strong reputation for encouraging philanthropy among our employees and supporting the United Way’s important work in our communities. Together with the FirstEnergy Foundation, our employees contributed $3.6 million to United Way agencies across our service area in 2018, exceeding our campaign goal by 21%. Hundreds of our employees also volunteered during the United Way’s Day of Action.
FirstEnergy is among the largest contributors to local food banks in our communities. Every March our employees and retirees organize friendly fundraising competitions and events that support local food banks and community pantries to address growing food insecurity.
In 2019, FirstEnergy’s Harvest for Hunger campaigns raised more than $523,000, or the equivalent of 3.6 million meals—far exceeding our 2.25 million-meal goal. Since 2001, FirstEnergy employees have contributed 1.3 million pounds of food and raised $5.6 million, or the equivalent of more than 40 million meals, for food pantries in our territory.
Located throughout our service territory, we offer seven FirstEnergy Community Involvement Centers that each provide a list of the surrounding community’s needs as well as a central location where employees can donate needed items for local charities.
In December 2018, our Williamsport Service Center employees collected and donated clothing, toiletries and other household items through Potomac Edison’s Community Involvement Center. Items will benefit Children In Need, a nonprofit organization in Washington County, Maryland, that provides children with necessities for learning, growing and becoming productive citizens. The group serves more than 1,100 Maryland families, including 2,700 children.
Supporting STEM programs and educational initiatives in our communities is one of our giving priorities. Teachers in our communities count on our support through much-needed grants and educational materials. For years, we have lent a hand to educators through programs that promote electrical safety, career development, literacy, science, technology, engineering and math education and other initiatives. The FirstEnergy Educational Advisory Council—a panel of elementary, middle and high school teachers and administrators—helps us create and select timely and relevant educational materials that we provide to local schools and community groups. Through our SecondLIFE program, we also donate computers, monitors and other technology and resources to benefit schools and non-profit organizations.
FirstEnergy awards STEM grants of up to $1,000 to educators and youth group leaders across our service area. Hundreds of our grants have funded projects ranging from magnetism and robotics to the physics of kites, superconductors and high-speed transportation. We also provide students with tours of our facilities and exposure to STEM-related jobs.