Community | March 21, 2016

Corporations Giving Back: Community Champions

Customers are increasingly interested in engaging with companies that have a sense of corporate social responsibility. A May 2013 study by Cone Communications and Echo Research found 82 percent of U.S. consumers consider corporate social responsibility when deciding what products or services to buy.

Constellation didn’t need a study, however, to know that corporate social responsibility was something it wanted to put high on its to-do list. Giving back, according to Constellation Corporate Relations Manager Rachel Duncan, is one of the company’s top priorities. “It’s part of our core values to give back to the communities where our customers are,” she says.

Giving back in cities where Constellation has a large employee population, such as Houston, Texas, and Baltimore, Maryland, is easier, Duncan says, noting that the company has strong volunteer programs in those locations with groups such as Habitat for Humanity.

Getting involved in the community is trickier in places where Constellation has fewer employees.

That’s one reason Constellation created its Community Champions program two years ago. A community grant program, Community Champions, is designed to help local communities fund projects that are important to them. “Community Champions is a way to leverage dollars in a way to give back to the community,” Duncan says.

Grants, which are open to any Constellation or StarTex Power customer, are awarded three times a year. Nearly 80 new winners were just announced this month. Prior to this new round in the community grant program, Constellation had awarded 327 grants totaling a little over $200,000 since Community Champions began in December 2013.

While it might seem logical to assume this community grant program would be focused solely on local energy projects, in fact the projects that receive funding, Duncan says, are mostly anything but energy-related. “These are very local initiatives,” she says. “They’re intentionally very broad. We didn’t want them to be limiting in any way.”

As a result, everything from science fairs to marching band award cases have received grants so far. “One of our favorites,” Duncan says, “was a program where they bring trained dogs into the local library after school. Students who need literacy help read to these dogs; it’s less stressful than reading aloud to classmates. We’re animal lovers. We love that one.”

The top award is $500. While that might seem like a small amount for a community grant program, Duncan says the aim is for Constellation to help smaller groups that, for instance, don’t likely have a development director or large fundraising base. “These are intended to be local, where a little bit can go a long way,” she says, “so $500 is a pretty meaningful amount for a neighborhood cleanup or science fair.”

Here are just a few examples of the kinds of groups Constellation’s corporate grant program has helped so far:

Manchester Elementary School, MD

Manchester Elementary School, Maryland: The school used its Community Champions corporate grant to create a sensory garden behind the school playground. The garden will act as an outdoor learning center where students can hear wind chimes, smell fragrances of different flowers, feel different types of pathways and trees, see butterfly gardens and birdhouses, and enjoy sitting in the pergola seating area.

Old Colony YMCA North Easton, MA

Old Colony YMCA, North Easton, Massachusetts: This YMCA used its $500 award to buy youth fitness equipment, nutrition models and a duffle bag to house it in. This enabled YMCA staff to create a Mobile Youth Fitness Experience to bring education, teamwork and fun to community events, health fairs and field days.

Rebuilding Macon, Georgia

Rebuilding Macon, Georgia: Rebuilding Macon used its $500 grant for paint and supplies to rehabilitate four houses of low-income elderly and the disabled so they may live in warmth, safety and independence. Two hundred sixty students and twenty-five faculty members from across Georgia repaired and painted the homes.

These videos of some past Community Champion winners show other examples of the corporate grant program in action.

Duncan says Constellation’s program is unique, even in an environment where corporations giving back is increasingly common. “I actually don’t know of any other corporations doing something like this,” she says. “We thought it would be different and unique. Every company makes charitable contributions, but I don’t know of an application-based program like this where customers apply.”

The next deadline for applying for a Community Champions award is May 15, 2016.

 

Comments ( 62 )

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M. Benois Walton - 4/27/2016

Darlington Borough would like to apply for a grant thru your “Giving Back” program. I have been trying to open the grant application and it says sorry, cannot open at this time. Am I doing something incorrectly, or is your site down?
Thanks

Debbie Sutherland - 4/27/2016

How do I submit an application for Giving Back? The link does not seem to be working.

Kim Skinner - 4/10/2016

Hi,
I am a board member for Honey Brook Community Library. Our Director, Jenn Spade, has Constellation as her Electric Carrier. She asked me to get info on whether we could submit and application for a grant to help our library get funding for some special projects.

Please call or email me info, or mail a packet to apply for this grant which has a May deadline soon.

Thanks,

Kim K. Skinner
4482 Horseshoe Pike, #10
Honey Brook, PA 19344

for more info contact Jennifer Spade, library director at 610-273-3303.

Kim

Thomas Stagnaro - 4/7/2016

Holy Family Catholic ChurchI would like some native trees. Dogwood: Redbuds as well as Rhododendron also a rain barrel.

vernon e crider - 4/6/2016

Our organization would like to obtain more information about the Community Champions Grant from your company.

Thanks!

Carol Nowark - 4/6/2016

Would like to submit a request for grant for the Backback program. This program fills Backback with food so
That needy children have food on the weekends. Need info to submit grant request.

Amanda Green - 4/3/2016

Hi,
I have read through the information and looked through the Community Champion screen and cannot find the “Apply now” button. Could the link to this be forwarded to me? Thank you!

Alana Taylor/ Christina Gerard - 4/3/2016

KoumanKe’Le African Dance and Drum Ensemble is a cultural ambassador to the city of Houston and surrounding communities. We are interested in applying for a grant which would help our efforts tremendously! Hope to hear from you soon!

Mark H Beaudry - 4/1/2016

Can a boy scout preparing to do an eagle project apply? If so, how long does the application process take? And, what do they need to do to show how they used the funding?

Mary Ellen Faulkner - 3/31/2016

We are all volunteer to help organize and put on a yearly parade in Oxford Michigan. It is the home of the radio Lone Ranger. This year theme is Public Service.

We get around 5,000 people coming to our small town.

Any donations will help. This years our grand marshall is President Ab Lincoln a Lincoln Presenter
(Fred and Bonnie Priebe).

We try to teach the value of the Lone Ranger Creed.

Thank you,
Mary Ellen Faulkner
Posse member

RAY WEATHERBY - 3/28/2016

This organization holds a clay shoot every yr. to help Law Enforcement in Midland and Odessa with funds that are used to buy officers bullet proof vest and other items for officers safety and crime fighting.

Jennifer Cummings - 3/28/2016

Good morning,

I was contacted regarding your current Community Champions grant program and I am hoping for some additional information. We are currently customers of Columbia Gas and National Grid electric services, and I am not sure if these are affiliated with Constellation, or if we must have a Constellation account to apply for a grant. We are a registered 501(c)(3) organization operating in North Easton, MA.

Any information you could provide would be helpful.

Thank you,
Jennifer Cummings
Executive Director, NRT of Easton

Dana Levitt - 3/27/2016

Hello,
I’m interested in applying for a grant and am looking for the “Apply Now” button. Where is that located on the site?

Thank you!

Viv Mason - 3/25/2016

I cannot find out how to get to the application form. When I click on the deadline link above, it gives me a pdf about specifications that says click on website’s apply now button, but I cannot find that button… HELP!!!!!

Jean Gustafson - 3/24/2016

Please send me information about applying for the grant

Jean Gustafson - 3/24/2016

I’m with the Society of St Vincent de Paul in Rockwall Texas. We are always in need of funds. We assist with utilities, housing, food, & whatever other need arises.

Please advise me of the grant process and how we’d apply

Regards,
Jean Gustafson

    Constellation Community Team - 8/26/2016

    Hi! Sounds like your organization is doing great work and helping a lot of people. Here’s some more information about the Constellation Community Champions program and how to apply: http://www.constellation.com/community/community-champions.html. The next (and last) deadline for the year is approaching on 9/15.

Jean Gustafson - 3/24/2016

How does one apply for the grant? I’m with the Society of St Vincent de Paul in Rockwall Texas. We help with utilities, food, clothing, housing etc. Out assistance program is always in need of funds.

I could not find a link on your website explaining your process or general criteria

Please advise

Jean Gustafson

    Constellation Community Team - 8/26/2016

    Hi! Sounds like your organization is doing great work and helping a lot of people. Here’s some more information about the Constellation Community Champions program and how to apply: http://www.constellation.com/community/community-champions.html. The next (and last) deadline for the year is approaching on 9/15.

Paul Carbone - 3/23/2016

I submitted a 2015 Corporate Giving Back Program Grant that was approved and funded to the Friends of the Framingham Public Library, Framingham, MA, to support the funding of its Life Long Learning (LLL)Program focusing on the senior citizen population (i.e.; with a significant number of adult learners taking advantage of this learning activity at no cost). Due to an electrical explosion at the Framingham Pubic Library’s Main Branch where the program is held, library staff were able to make the necessary adjustments utilizing other town facilities to continue the program activities never missing a beat to ensure the successful implementation of program. Most important the funding of the Community Champions grant could not have come at a time of more need, because a large part of the funds needed to implement the program came from book sales sponsored by the Friends of the Framingham Public Library which were provided through the Main Library Facility which had to be closed for several months for necessary repairs to the significant damage that resulted in the electrical mishap. Need-less-to-say funding for the program was significantly diminished. The $500 that the Corporate Giving Back Program funded to the Friends of the Framingham (LLL) program could not have come at a better time of need. I must commend the staff and Friends of the Framingham Public Library for their efforts beyond the call to ensure another successful year of their outstanding program and services to the adult learners within the Framingham, Massachusetts area.

    Constellation Community Team - 8/26/2016

    Programs like yours are exactly the reason why the Constellation Corporate Giving Back program exists! We’re so sorry to hear about the electrical problems you’ve experienced, but thrilled that you were able to keep your vision alive and help those who needed it, even after suffering through a hard time. We’re so proud of what you’ve accomplished (and are continuing to accomplish) at the library, and we hope that you will update us again on the progress that Friends of the Framingham Public Library program is making. Thank you for your comment!

Mary stahl - 3/23/2016

Several of the churches around our small town are working on building a playground for our town. The money mark ng project is going extremely slow. Would love to have a grant or help with building this project. We have about 4 extremely old toys and probably not even safe. Thank you

mozell riggle - 3/23/2016

I don’t know anything about grants. But howe texas high school recently built a dugout for girls softball and they didn’t have money to put safety screen up to protect girls in dugout from errant foul balls. I would really like to see that get done for safety.
Great team too.

Nelson Fumo - 3/23/2016

I am a customer of StarTex Power and I received an email with the invitation to apply for a Community Champions award. I was wondering if that program would allow me to apply to get funds for a project I want to develop at the University. I can provide more information about the project but this is an abstract:

“As a concept idea, the Building Energy Performance Assessment Platform (BEPAP) can be defined as a digital venue for the convergence of actual energy consumption gathered by utilities, actual meteorological weather data, hybrid energy models of buildings, energy-efficient and renewable energy technologies models, simulation software, and users to assess building energy performance in a reliable and automated fashion. The modular concept of the platform will facilitate maintenance, update, and addition of modules. The concept of the Home Shadow Model embraces hybrid models of physical process governing the flow and use of energy. Parameters characterizing the hybrid models for a specific home will be determined by using statistical approaches/algorithms to correlate energy and weather data to energy consumption data. Statistical algorithms will also be able to discretize the energy consumption to identify schedules for the main system consuming energy in the household. As output of the BEPAP, a report on the building energy performance is generated. The report has the main goal of promoting energy consumption and emissions reduction by benchmarking the home’s energy performance.”

If someone could please contact me for further discussion will be great.

Thank you and I am looking forward to hearing from you.

Nelson Fumo, PhD
Assistant Professor
Mechanical Engineering Department
The University of Texas at Tyler
Phone: (903) 565-5588
Emai: nfumo@uttyler.edu

    Constellation Community Team - 8/26/2016

    Hi, Nelson: It sounds like your department is doing some great work, and of course, we’re all for a program designed to help save energy. Here’s some more information about the Constellation Community Champions program and how to apply:

    http://www.constellation.com/community/community-champions.html

    The next (and last) deadline for the year is approaching on 9/15.

GeraDessiel Simon,holy apostle - 3/23/2016

Greetings from the “the Global Harper”!
In serving my community,I do a lot of preservation-preparation through presenting how my neighbors in Chicago can relate to total globalization!
Using writing,music,arts & crafts,healthy food nourishing through cooking,courtesy-culture,bringing “you”the geni out of the bottle(blending aromas by individual names),inner Intrapreneurish:communicating your destiny-work of YOUR faith!
So,truly I could use some “back-up”!
How can I apply,or is what I offer not suitable for funding for my community?! No one else is doing anything of this sort! Grace,grace.Many thanksgivings,all thankfulness! “G7”

    Constellation Community Team - 8/26/2016

    Hi! Sounds like your organization is doing great work and helping a lot of people in some creative ways. Here’s some more information about the Constellation Community Champions program and how to apply: http://www.constellation.com/community/community-champions.html

    The next (and last) deadline for the year is approaching on 9/15.

Kathi Liberman - 3/23/2016

I am the Resident Services Coordinator at the Wethersfield (CT) Housing Authority.

I have helped many of my residents switch their electric supplier to Constellation.
Can I still apply for the Community Grant based on this criteria and without an account number? The addresses served by Constellation are 60 Lancaster Road 06109, 55 Lancaster Rd 06109 and 31 Butler St 06109

Gail DeGood-Guy - 3/23/2016

I’ve searched and can’t find the on-line application. I’ve looked for the “apply now” button but just don’t see it anywhere.

Margaret Stafford - 3/23/2016

I am a youth coordinator at my church, as you know our young people need more stibility now then ever before.
We try to educate them in health, physical, mental and spiritual,,,but to do so we need supplies like pens, note folders, and learning material. Thankin you in advance.
Margaret Stafford – (404)735-5188

    Constellation Community Team - 8/26/2016

    Hi Margaret,

    It sounds like your organization is doing great work and helping a lot of young people. Here’s some information about the Constellation Community Champion Program and how to apply:

    http://www.constellation.com/community/community-champions.html

    The next (and last) deadline for the year is approaching on 9/15.

Alex Boston - 3/23/2016

How can I get Constellation to support the Tinner Hill Heritage Foundation and its mission?

Jennifer Hodge - 3/23/2016

Would love to apply for a grant….

Sue Fields - 3/23/2016

Would our Brimfield Community Food Cupboard (non- profit) be eligible to apply for your grant?
We have gone “green” and are now using cloth bags instead of paper and plastic for distibution of groceries to our clients. We are a community of 11,000 in Portage County, Brimfield, OHio.
We serve approx 200 families with a 10 day food order every 30 days. All volunteers…. no one is paid for there services. We would use these funds to purchase good nutritional groceries for distribution. We also have very little donations during the Spring and Summer months.

Please let me know. Sue Fields

Jonathan Buss - 3/23/2016

Do you give college scholarships??

Cathie Beausoleil - 3/23/2016

My Church is actively seeking funding to restore our historic 200 year old New England Stone Church..
I would like to apply for your grant to help support our efforts to maintain this Connecticut landmark.
What is the process to apply?
Thank you
Cathie

Joan Malley - 3/23/2016

Dear Friends at Constellation:
Harbor House of Rochester is a small, not for profit hospital hospitality house. We provide temporary lodging for adult family members who have traveled to our city because a loved one is being seen at one of our area hospitals for a serious medical condition, such as heart failure. I am very interested in applying for this grant as we are in need of some new beds and mattresses. Would you please send me information on how to apply?
Thanks in advance for your kind consideration.
Joan G. Malley
Managing Director

    Constellation Community Team - 8/26/2016

    Thank you for reaching out to the Constellation Corporate Giving Back program. We’d love to hear more about your project. You can get more information and apply for a grant here: http://www.constellation.com/community/community-champions.html. The next (and last) deadline for the year is approaching on 9/15.

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