Being a responsible corporate citizen goes beyond the fence line of our property to the heart of the communities in which we operate or that we serve. Our investments in our communities range from the thousands of hours our employees volunteer locally to corporate financial support for important community programs and initiatives. The need for our support is greater than ever as many areas continue to struggle economically.
Corporate philanthropy is also important because it helps enhance quality of life, advances education and other worthy endeavors and enriches communities. In 2012, AEP and the AEP Foundation donated more than $17.5 million to support more than 2,400 community organizations.
In Mena, Ark., for example, the AEP Foundation presented a grant for $38,000 to the University of Arkansas Foundation to fund improvements to the Polk County 4-H Education Center. It will support youth and adult education and enrichment programs in Polk County by providing a versatile space to meet many needs in the community. The AEP Foundation focuses on improving lives through education from early childhood through higher education through its ongoing charitable initiatives.
A $150,000 AEP Foundation grant for the Indiana Tech Energy Engineering Program was used to support curriculum, faculty and laboratory development for the university's Bachelor of Science in Energy Engineering degree. The program focuses on sustainable energy sources such as wind, solar, geothermal, biofuels and fuel cells, and also includes a business component. The field of energy engineering is changing quickly, and support from the AEP Foundation will provide Indiana Tech with the flexibility to add and keep existing materials and programs relevant, offer faculty training opportunities, and purchase software and equipment for students to use in the classroom in a hands-on, real-life experiential way. The gift will enable Indiana Tech to continue to increase the number of students admitted into the program and the means to educate students about the efficient production, delivery and use of energy.
Other commitments made in 2012:
- A $100,000 AEP Foundation grant to the Ohio University Foundation for the Watershed Research and Fellowship Program of the George V. Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs Center for Energy Workforce Development for the 2013. Funding will enable student recruitment and improve stream restoration across the region through existing and future partnerships.
- A $100,000 corporate gift to Living Lands and Waters of East Moline, Ill., for environmental and educational programs, including river clean-up efforts in the Mississippi and Ohio river watershed regions.
- A $50,000 AEP Foundation grant to the Consortium for Education Research & Technology (CERT) of North Louisiana for high school summer camps promoting energy careers. CERT serves as the intermediary - the convener and facilitator - that links five Louisiana post-secondary systems with industry to support work force development, technology transfer and economic development in North Louisiana.
- A $40,000 AEP Foundation grant to the Keystone Center for the Climate Status Investigations and Youth Policy Summit Programming. The Keystone Center for Education, in partnership with the AEP Foundation, hosted two innovative education programs attended by students from The Metro Early College Learning High School in Columbus, Ohio, and CSI: Climate Status Investigations, a professional development training for teachers in Roanoke, Va. The Keystone Center’s Youth Policy Summit challenges high school students to address the critical issue of energy resources in the state.
- A $50,000 AEP Foundation grant to the Texas Tech Foundation for creating the Dick Brooks Endowed Graduate Fellowship and non-endowed grant for Smart Grid Energy Center.