PITTSBURGH — Duquesne Light Company (DLC) investments in the community went beyond keeping the lights on in 2021. The electric utility donated more than $2 million across its service territory while employees volunteered more than 3,200 hours to various communities in Allegheny and Beaver counties.
Donations from the $2 million-plus figure were distributed among three focus areas: social and economic equity ($551,500); workforce development ($623,200); and sustainable communities ($1,029,600).
“We’re committed to investing in our communities, and we actively seek out programs for communities or groups that have been overlooked historically. We demonstrated that this past year through charitable giving and volunteer efforts,” said Community Relations Manager Sam Hartzman. “We’re proud of the work we’re doing and the partnerships with the community organizations and leaders that we’re working with.”
To highlight that notion, 51 % of DLC’s charitable donations were distributed to diverse-led organizations, which are defined as those either run by women, gender non-conforming and/or BIPOC leaders.
A portion of those contributions went to DLC’s “Community Impact Grants,” the company’s new signature charitable initiative supporting diverse grassroots organizations with microgrants up to $10,000. DLC launched that initiative in April 2021, with a subsequent round of grants in October. In total, DLC donated nearly $215,000 to 44 organizations with projects focused on Community Safety and Energy Efficiency; Connectivity and Technology; Green Spaces; and Public Art.
Five $1,000 microgrants were also distributed to organizations in partnership with DLC’s business employee resource groups (BERGs): A-VETS (veterans), BRIDGE (Black/African American) and EmpowerHer (women).
Community Impact Grants will continue in 2022, with the application opening date to be announced later this Spring.
Advancing its commitment to environmental sustainability, DLC partnered with the Pittsburgh Pirates to create the “Duquesne Light Power Hitters” program, in which one tree was planted in the city of Pittsburgh for each homerun hit by a Pirates player during the 2021 regular season.
The Pirates closed out the season with 124 homers. DLC and the Pirates joined Tree Pittsburgh to plant 124 trees at several locations across the city. As a result, DLC received the honor of Corporate Partner of the Year from Tree Pittsburgh.
DLC employees, along with teammates from sister companies, TEN and DQE Communications, furthered the company’s mission by volunteering several thousand hours across the service territory while separately taking advantage of the employee-led “Campaign for the Community.” This program encouraged them to contribute money to local nonprofit organizations. Employees raised more than $350,000 in 2021, a portion of which DLC will match in 2022.
“Every year, we’re amazed by the collective generosity of our team members at DLC, TEN and DQE. Our employee volunteer program a really exciting element of how we serve and how we show up for our neighbors,” Christine Waller, vice president of communications, ESG and corporate giving.
Five giving areas received 89% of employee donations: social and community services (31%); education and mentoring (16%); animals and environment (16%); health and medical (15%); food access (11%). The diversity of giving demonstrates the wide range of interests and commitments that our employees value in their local communities.
“We’re on the path to creating a clean energy future for all, and our efforts to serve the community forms an important part of DLC’s commitment to the customers and communities in our service territory,” Waller said.
For a full list of DLC’s 2021 grantees, click here.
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