Aug
14

Community Partner Spotlight: United Way of Greater Atlanta

We’re giving over $1 million in 2020 to priority nonprofit partners whose services have become more critical than ever amid COVID-19. Learn how we’re making a difference together and how you can help

This series highlights each of the priority nonprofit partners we’re supporting throughout these difficult times. We previously highlighted the Atlanta Community Food Bank and the Heating Energy Assistance Team Inc. (HEAT), and the YMCA of Metro Atlanta. Now, let’s look at the United Way of Greater Atlanta, a nonprofit focused on creating a community where “all the children are well.”

Given the dire circumstances in our communities due to the economic fallout caused by COVID-19, we’ve committed over $1 million to support people who are directly impacted by the pandemic. This philanthropic commitment includes a $250,000 donation to United Way – triple our commitment from 2019 and our single largest contribution to any organization.

We have partnered with United Way since 2008, as we are aligned with their belief that a thriving community is only possible if the children are thriving. With a focus on creating a community where “all the children are well,” United Way hopes to give every child the opportunity to reach their potential and ensure that we are building a strong future for Greater Atlanta.

For children in our metro Atlanta community, COVID-19 brought several challenges, including an increasing digital divide and education gap between students. In conjunction with United Way partners, PowerMyLearning and the Atlanta Public School Foundation, our donation will help lessen the gap between students and provide those in need with computers and resources necessary to excel in school.

To combat the economic and social disparities caused by COVID-19, United Way partnered with the Community Foundation to form the COVID-19 Response and Relief Fund. $150,000 went to this initiative, with another $50,000 directly supporting impacted Florida communities and the remaining $50,000 granted to the National Restaurant Relief Fund, helping provide aid for affected restaurant workers.

For more information about United Way of Greater Atlanta and opportunities to give back, please visit their website.


Aug
5

Community Partner Spotlight Series: YMCA Metro Atlanta

We’re giving over $1 million in 2020 to priority nonprofit partners whose services have become more critical than ever amid COVID-19. Learn how we’re making a difference together and how you can help

This series highlights each of the priority nonprofit partners we’re supporting throughout these difficult times. We previously highlighted the Atlanta Community Food Bank and the Heating Energy Assistance Team Inc. (HEAT). Now, let’s look at the YMCA of Metro Atlanta, a nonprofit organization open to serving all through programs and services that help build spirit, body and mind. 

With daycare and school closures, many adjusted to the new norm of balancing full-time parenting and working from home full-time. Nurses, first responders and many more continued to report for work. Earlier this year, Gas South committed $1 million to ease the pandemic’s impact on our community, including $150,000 to the YMCA of Metro Atlanta to provide childcare for essential workers at club locations across the metro Atlanta area.

As families struggle to adjust to the “new normal,” the YMCA’s services have become critical for many, especially those with childcare needs. With the mandatory closing of its branches in mid-March, the YMCA transitioned six of its 24 Atlanta locations into help centers to provide meals for those in need and childcare support for first responders and frontline workers. In the first two months of operation, these programs served over 1,500 children. In addition, the YMCA launched Operation R.E.A.C.H, an initiative designed to connect with and engage seniors and high-risk groups needing resources and support to keep them connected and healthy. 

Considering the growing need for childcare support due to COVID-19 and the essential services the YMCA has provided, our $150,000 donation is five times greater than what we gave in 2019. In terms of the tangible impact created by the donation, our contribution funded one of the YMCA’s childcare centers, providing nearly 500 hours of high-quality childcare for children in our Atlanta community.

“The support of Gas South enables the YMCA to truly deliver on our promise of service to those who turn to us for community and those who turn to us for survival,” said Lauren Koontz, president and CEO of the YMCA of Metro Atlanta. 

For more information about the YMCA of Metro Atlanta and the different opportunities to give back and get involved, please visit their website

Jul
20

Community Partner Spotlight Series: Heating Energy Assistance Team Inc. (HEAT)

We’re giving over $1 million in 2020 to priority nonprofit partners whose services have become more critical than ever amid COVID-19. Learn how we’re making a difference together and how you can help.

This series highlights each of the priority nonprofit partners we’re supporting throughout these difficult times. We previously highlighted the Atlanta Community Food Bank. Now, let’s look at the Heating Energy Assistance Team (HEAT), a nonprofit organization that provides critical support to low-income families. 

Due to the economic impact of COVID-19, many metro Atlanta families need assistance to cover their bills. Gas South committed over $1 million to ease the pandemic’s impact on our community, including a $150,000 donation to the Heating Energy Assistance Team (HEAT).

For all too many Georgians, a missed paycheck or unanticipated challenge, such as COVID-19, creates difficult financial choices for basic necessities. Over the past 36 years, HEAT has been working to help eliminate the “heat or eat” choice many are faced with and has provided more than $23 million in energy assistance to over 100,000 households.

Gas South & HEAT

With Gas South’s longstanding mission to Be a Fuel for Good, we are committed to serving and giving back to our community, especially during these unprecedented times. That’s why our donation to HEAT is five times what it was in 2019, and we estimate this will help nearly 1,000 families avoid natural gas service interruption.

We have proudly supported HEAT, as well as other local charitable organizations long before the pandemic hit, and we will continue to do so long after. Giving back is an integral part of who we are at Gas South, as a company and as individuals. Gas South gives 5% of our annual profits to support children, families and our communities resulting in over $6.5 million dollars donated thus far.

For more information about HEAT and the different opportunities to give back, please visit their website or directly contact their team via email or phone: info@heatga.org or 678.406.0212.

May
30

Community Partner Spotlight Series: Atlanta Community Food Bank

We’re giving over $1 million in 2020 to priority nonprofit partners whose services have become more critical than ever amid COVID-19. Learn how we’re making a difference together and how you can help.

This series highlights each of the priority nonprofit partners we’re supporting throughout these difficult times.

In Mid-March, we became one of the first corporate offices in Atlanta to institute a work-from-home mandate to protect employees and do our part to flatten the curve. Although our workforce is currently 100% remote, it’s not stopping us from carrying out our mission to “Be a Fuel For Good.” In fact, the opposite is true. We’ve stepped up our giving efforts even more.

As our employees helped deliver meals, packed food boxes, and found ways to volunteer virtually, we began to increase funding to area nonprofits. In April alone, we deployed $850,000 in funding, focusing on organizations positioned to have the most significant reach during this time.

In this giving spotlight series, we’ll look at a few of the ways these nonprofit partners are helping people and communities during these uncertain times, starting with Atlanta Community Food Bank.

Atlanta Community Food Bank

Even before the COVID-19 crisis, around 1 in 5 Georgia children lived in food-insecure households. As schools remain closed, many children’s primary source of nutrition has disappeared. Organizations like the Atlanta Community Food Bank provide a lifeline for families struggling to keep the fridge stocked.

In an average year, more than 780,000 people across Metro Atlanta seek assistance from one of ACFB’s 700 food pantries. Now, ACFB’s CEO Kyle Waide estimates there are more than a million people in insecure food situations. ACFB has expanded its outreach efforts to meet the growing need, partnering with schools and YMCA branches, feeding hotel employees, and even setting up drive-through food pantries

“We’ve increased our distribution by more than 30% over the last two months,” Waide recently told Fox 5 News, emphasizing that support from the community is more critical than ever before. In total, ACFB is now distributing a staggering 2 million pounds of food per week—and anticipates sustaining this amount over the next several months.

How We’re Helping

While we have long supported Atlanta Community Food Bank and its mission, we’ve increased our financial commitment this year to $200,000—20 times what we’ve donated in years past. The funding will provide food for children who are no longer receiving free or discounted school lunches and who cannot access school food pantries.

The donation will also support Georgia’s hotel workers. Through our partnership with ACFB, funding will support the Georgia Hotel & Lodging Association by addressing what has become a massive need, considering  90% of Georgia’s hospitality workers have been unemployed since April.

Thanks in part to this funding, Atlanta Community Food Bank and the Georgia Hotel & Lodging Association have begun holding weekly pop-up food pantries every Tuesday to provide much-needed relief for these workers. 

The pop-up pantries will take place until the end of May at various hotels across Metro Atlanta. Initially, each event provided around 250 furloughed or laid-off workers with 30-pound bags of groceries; beginning April 28, it doubled that capacity, now serving up to 500 families.

“Hope is the fuel that sustains us through uncertain times,” said our President and CEO Kevin Greiner. “Hotel workers are often the ones smiling through the bad days, cheering up guests and spreading positivity. It is our turn to reciprocate the warmth and kindness of the hospitality industry by sharing our messages of hope and donating funds to provide food for them and their families.”

When the second pop-up food pantry event took place at The Westin, many of our employees were even there to show their support (from a safe social distance) with words of encouragement and handmade signs. 

How You Can Get Help

Atlanta Community Food Bank offers several convenient ways to seek assistance from one of its food pantry locations (and locate its partner agencies). To find help near you, you can visit their COVID-19 Help Map page and enter your ZIP code to see a list of locations (as well as their hours, phone numbers, and policies). 

You can also text “FINDFOOD” or “COMIDA” to 888-976-2232 to receive instant information about food pantry locations near you.

The Georgia Hotel and Lodging Association will be reaching out to impacted workers with updates on pop-up food pantry events, including times and locations. If the hospitality industry slowdown has affected you, you can visit the GHLA’s COVID-19 page for a list of available resources.

How You Can Provide Help

With a record number of requests pouring in (and major fundraising events like the annual Hunger Walk Run now canceled due to the coronavirus), Atlanta Community Food Bank needs financial support now more than ever. Even small donations keep someone from going hungry. As little as $1 provides four meals for someone in need, including children, seniors, and families in crisis.

You can choose to make a one-time donation of any amount or make a monthly gift. Be sure to check whether your employer will match your donation, too. If you’ve got a birthday coming up, consider starting a Facebook Fundraiser benefiting Atlanta Community Food Bank. We have a feeling your friends and family will be more than happy to brighten up your birthday while you’re all stuck at home.

Being a Fuel for Good: During COVID-19 and Beyond

We hope our commitment of more than $1M in 2020 inspires others to join us in supporting our communities and all those impacted by COVID-19. 

This commitment will continue long past the pandemic, since giving back is an integral part of our culture and purpose. Even in 2019, before the Coronavirus pandemic, we had already given more than $850,000 to organizations that provide basic needs, education, and illness/disability support to children in need in our communities.

In addition to funding, more than 165 Gas South employees logged 900+ volunteer hours last year, donating their time and talents to pack summer lunches for kids, help elementary students receive dental care, raise money for Bert’s Big Adventure and more.

And because we’ll continue giving back at least 5% of our profits in years to come, every one of our customers is helping us “Be a Fuel for Good,” too.

May
12

Communicating with Certainty in Times of Change

How Gas South is Managing Organizational Communication During COVID-19

by Secret Holland

The past few months have upended the modern-day workforce. Entire organizations have moved to a work-from-home model, employees are learning to collaborate while they self-isolate and leaders are tasked with building culture via video chat. It is understandable that these times of change have left many employees with concerns about the future and a desire for certainty in the workplace. As leaders, we may not be able to guarantee what the future holds, but we can help ease fears among employees through thoughtful, empathetic and transparent communication.

At Gas South, the following four tenets for communication have proven to be a successful guide in the time of COVID-19:

Clearly Communicate Key Points

In the age of digital communication, every word matters. This is even more true when miscommunications can cause undue fear or worry and negatively impact your corporate culture. To ensure our intended message is as clear as possible, we take care to identify and highlight the key points for employees. This includes bolding statements that communicate dates or changes to previously communicated policies. We also keep the statements to short, uncomplicated sentences at either the very beginning or very end of paragraphs to prevent them from getting buried in other messaging. We also vet our content with other leaders to ensure all employees are receiving the same message about our intent, without room for error.

Frequent and Transparent

One of the first procedures we established when we shifted to working remotely was a clear schedule for when employees should hear from leadership. Our president and CEO, Kevin Greiner, records a video every Friday that updates employees with information about our organizational wellbeing to assure employees that the company is running smoothly and effectively.  Employees also want to understand how state decisions around shelter-in-place orders or closing schools may or may not impact our plans, so we communicate with employees within 24 hours of key government announcements to provide employees sufficient information to make family decisions. We also created space for employees to ask and receive real-time answers to questions through periodic virtual town halls conducted on Microsoft Teams where they can hear company updates to keep them informed about Gas South, and the decisions our leaders are making to continue putting the health and safety of our employees and customers as a top priority. In addition to scheduled communications, our human resources team periodically checks in with our employees to see how they are managing during these challenging times. This offers a unique opportunity to connect on an individual level with our employees, and helps us respond to their needs the best we can.

Validate All Employee Experiences

This time at home has impacted everyone differently. For some employees who have children, pets or other potential distractions awaiting them at home, the office may provide a desired reprieve compared to employees who find themselves thriving in the solitude provided by working from home – we’re aware that both situations exist and we’re constantly working to accommodate all employees to the best of our ability to ease the transition out of the office. One way we’ve been able to do this is through employee pulse surveys.  An early survey revealed a significant portion of employees felt less productive working from home because they needed an additional computer monitor. We were able to swiftly respond to the needs of our employees by ordering and shipping monitors to those who needed them. While we cannot physically accommodate requests to return to the office early, we’ve been intentional about asking employees to prioritize their families. In some cases that has meant flexibly scheduling meetings around childcare or home-schooling obligations, and for others it means shifting work amongst the team so people can guiltlessly prioritize their lives how they need to.

Root Your Message in Your Values

The most important part of any communication is not the words used, but the impact it leaves.  For us at Gas South, it was important that our team knew the current health crisis wouldn’t change our commitment to our employees, community or customers.  Our company purpose is to Be a Fuel for Good, and that statement has been the single most important decision-making factor for us during this time.  We communicated our largest ever philanthropic donation of $1 million to organizations that are directly helping families impacted by COVID-19, halted all involuntary service disconnections and resolved not to lay off any employees for the duration of the crisis.  By aligning each of these actions with our purpose, employees know that we are the same company that we were before COVID-19 came to our shores.

These organizational communication guidelines have proven to be an effective and invaluable way of ensuring our Gas South team feels supported, informed and cared for throughout this time of transition until we can see each other in person again.

Apr
8

Gas South Commits Over $1 Million to Support COVID-19 Relief

ATLANTA (April 7, 2020) – Gas South, one of the Southeast’s leading natural gas providers, announced it will donate more than $1 million this year to support families throughout Georgia and Florida impacted by COVID-19.

Because the need for community assistance is so urgent, Gas South will deploy $850,000 of COVID-19 relief funds in the month of April. Additionally, the company increased annual funding to four of its primary non-profit partners with the broadest capacity to reach those in our community affected by COVID-19: the United Way, Atlanta Community Food Bank, Heating Energy Assistance Team (HEAT) and YMCA of Metro Atlanta.

Also receiving immediate funding as part of Gas South’s ongoing mission to “Be a Fuel for Good” are Ser Familia, The Salvation Army and the Society of St. Vincent de Paul.

“The difficulties presented by COVID-19 to our community and nation are unprecedented, and we want to support our neighbors with these donations while encouraging others to join,” said Kevin Greiner, Gas South president and CEO. “We have partnered with each of these incredible organizations in the past, so we’re confident in their ability to put these donations to work effectively and immediately.”

While Gas South’s community assistance annual giving typically includes smaller donations to dozens of local causes over the course of a year – and focuses almost exclusively on programs for children in need – Gas South will now commit more dollars to fewer organizations while expanding the focus to also include programs providing utility payment assistance and support for unemployed restaurant and hotel workers.

The donations to these non-profit partners represent substantial increases over prior year funding, including:

  • United Ways in Atlanta and Florida will receive $250,000, more than triple the funding provided by Gas South last year. This includes $150,000 to United Way of Greater Atlanta, which is directing some of its funding to address the digital divide – the significant disparities in students’ access to in-home learning devices and internet access – which is essential to enabling students to keep up with their schoolwork remotely. PowerMyLearning is one of the organizations aiding in this effort. Gas South’s relief funds also include $50,000 for unemployed restaurant workers in partnership with the Georgia Restaurant Association, and $50,000 to Tampa, Orlando, Jacksonville and Miami.
  • Atlanta Community Food Bank, which distributes more than 60 million meals across north Georgia, will be the beneficiary of $200,000 – 20 times the previous year’s amount. Funding will support feeding children who are out of school and have no access to school pantries and free/reduced lunches. This donation also supports the Georgia Hotel & Lodging Association to provide food for hotel workers.
  • YMCA of Metro Atlanta, which provides programming for all ages and hunger relief for thousands of children and families, will receive $150,000 – more than four times the previous year’s funding. Gas South’s gift will provide essential childcare for first responders and healthcare staff at one location — serving up to 50 children — for eight weeks during the COVID-19 pandemic. 
  • Heating Energy Assistance Team (HEAT), which helps low-income families and individuals across Georgia pay their heating bills, will receive $150,000 – five times the amount Gas South donated last year. These funds will provide heat for over 1,000 individuals who are unable to pay their bills due to these extenuating circumstances.
  • Ser Familia, which helps Latino youth, couples, parents and families through educational programs, will receive $75,000 – more than seven times the previous year’s donation. The funds will address basic needs of families in the Hispanic community impacted by COVID-19.
  • The Salvation Army will receive $50,000, with $20,000 donated in April for COVID-19 relief efforts and $30,000 in October for Project Share, The Salvation Army’s utility assistance initiative.

Each of the donations will be allocated to initiatives and programs that support families and children in our community most impacted by COVID-19. For example, grocery stores have become barren, and the need for food and supplies is so great, that the Atlanta Community Food Bank has become the main grocery store for families. Yet, it has been a struggle for the non-profit to keep its shelves stocked.

“With so many people stocking up at the grocery stores, we’ve lost about a third of what we normally get from stores and general donations,” says Kyle Waide, president and CEO of the Atlanta Community Food Bank. “This tremendous donation from Gas South will enable us to purchase nutritious food faster for our families in desperate need.”

The suspension of public school for the remainder of the year has put additional strain on parents, especially those who are on the front lines and not able to care for their children while working from home.

“Our childcare program is open to the brave individuals who are working to meet the needs of the community, including medical professionals, law enforcement, grocery workers, and others who cannot work from home at this time,” said Lauren Koontz, YMCA of Metro Atlanta president and CEO. “The support of Gas South enables the YMCA to truly deliver on our promise of service to those who turn to us for community and to those who turn to us for survival. We are extremely grateful for their commitment and contribution to our collective efforts during this crisis.”

Feb
19

Gas South and Cobb EMC Breaking Ground on Renewable Energy Project

On February 13th, 2020, Gas South and Cobb EMC broke ground on an innovative renewable energy project with a focus on the future, ensuring a greener outlook for both companies. This project includes both solar energy and battery storage.

“We’re committed to affordable, renewable energy and redefining what it means to be an energy expert,” said Peter Heintzelman, Cobb EMC president and CEO. “This project enables us to test the performance advantage and resiliency of solar panels and battery storage, which will benefit Cobb EMC members for decades to come. We’re proud to support sustainability efforts that make financial sense for all of our members.”

An estimated 1.85 MW of solar and 1 MW/4 MWh of battery storage is being added to the Cobb EMC campus to help power its operations. For perspective, that is enough energy to power approximately 200 homes for an entire year. This innovative method of renewable energy storage will also help the cooperative learn how to better support solar and battery projects for large customers. In April, Cobb EMC will add to the project and unveil three Smartflowers along Hwy 41, which can provide an additional 13,140 kWh of energy and afford the cooperative an approachable opportunity to educate the public about renewable energy.

This project is owned by Gas South for Cobb EMC to support future sustainable energy efforts for both companies. This arrangement provides Cobb EMC with the solar and battery output for 10 years and will enable Cobb EMC to share solar energy back to the grid during certain periods of time. “Together, we’re committed to renewable energy that will pave the way for a more sustainable future for our communities,” said Kevin Greiner, Gas South president and CEO. “As a subsidiary of Cobb EMC, we are excited to work with our parent company on this innovative project.”

The rooftop solar and energy storage solutions were developed by Creative Solar USA and Northern Reliability and are slated for completion by May 2020.

“The team at Creative Solar USA is proud to play a role in this important project, which will not only provide competitive renewable energy to the grid but serve as a learning tool for future projects,” said Russell Seifert, CEO of Creative Solar USA. “I founded this company to be a cutting-edge leader in our evolving energy market and this project is a standing example of our commitment to clean, economical electricity for our fellow Georgians.”

Cobb EMC is one of the first electric cooperatives in the nation to install battery storage and rooftop solar to power its operations. The cooperative recognizes that while renewable energy and battery storage will play a significant role in transitioning to a lower carbon future, consumers need guidance from their electricity providers. Along with Gas South, Cobb EMC stands ready to lead the change.

Cobb EMC’s commitment to sustainability and innovation is mirrored in the cooperative’s renewable energy portfolio. Cobb EMC currently offers Renewable Energy Credits to our members as part of our ongoing sustainability strategy.

Cobb EMC is a not-for-profit, member-owned electric cooperative. The company safely delivers reliable electricity to more than 200,000 residential and commercial consumers in Cobb, Bartow, Cherokee, Fulton, and Paulding counties. Cobb EMC is consistently recognized for low-cost, reliable power, a commitment to renewable energy and giving back to the communities it serves. Cobb EMC is one of the largest EMCs in the nation, and the company’s wholly-owned subsidiary Gas South is a leading provider of natural gas in the Southeast. For more information, visit www.cobbemc.com.

Creative Solar USA is a Georgia-based, turn-key installer of innovative solar panel systems, dedicated to alternative energy solutions for your home or business. Since 2008 their NABCEP
certified installers have ensured our clients receive the highest quality solar energy systems in the industry. For more information, visit www.CreativeSolarUSA.com.

Northern Reliability (“NRI”), based in Waterbury, Vermont, is an engineering and technology firm that designs, procures, installs, and supports stand-alone electric power and energy storage systems for utilities and governments across the United States and abroad. NRI, whose team was formed in the early 1970’s, boasts over 1000 systems deployed around the globe on all seven continents and is likely the oldest operating engineering group in the storage sector. For more information, visit www.northernreliability.com.

Photo by Pamela Dabrowa Photography

Jan
27

Gas South Illness and Disability Impact Investment Winners: 2019 Impact and 2020 Goals

Last week we discussed what our 2019 general impact investment winners were able to accomplish with their earnings. We also shared the goals that our 2020 general impact investment winners are looking to accomplish with their investment winnings.  

This week, we’re focusing on what our 2019 winners were able to accomplish for their non-profit organizations and the goals for our 2020 illness and disability winners.

2020 Illness and Disability Investment Winners 

Shepherd Center 

Shepherd Center’s mission is to help people with a temporary or permanent disability caused by injury or disease, rebuild their lives with hope, independence and dignity, advocating for their full inclusion in all aspects of community life while promoting safety and injury prevention.  

The Gas South impact investment funds will be used to purchase an adapted minivan to provide transportation for more individualized outings. Ensuring their young patients (as well as their general patient population) can venture out into the community feeling more confident and with a sense of belonging.

Additionally, an outing in a minivan vs. a Shepherd bus allows patients to experience an adapted vehicle and is often a catalyst for patients and families purchasing a vehicle that can be used and driven by their adolescent patients. Driving or returning to driving is often one of the primary goals of their teen patients.

Sunshine on a Ranney Day 

The mission of Sunshine on a Ranney Day is to renovate homes for children with long term illnesses and special needs. Sunshine on a Ranney Day renovates homes for children with long-term illnesses, disabilities, and special needs so that they can safely live in their own homes with their own families.  

Each year, they help around 20 children by providing them with life-changing modifications (in addition to the large-scale, special project they complete each year in the community). This year, they have 13 children that are still waiting for their modifications. Each child has a specific project budget that will address their unique needs. The funding from our Gas South impact investment will be used to outfit a home with a wheelchair accessible bathroom and bedroom for a child.  

Training and Counseling Center (TACC)  

TACC offers affordable counseling services specifically to the poor, vulnerable and disadvantaged. TACC has recently added a new counselor specifically to serve low-income and disadvantaged children due to the ever-increasing need for mental health services for the youngest community members. The Gas South Innovation Investment of $10,000 will provide 100 sessions to underserved and vulnerable children and youth in metro Atlanta.   

2019 Illness and Disability Investment Winners 

Bert’s Big Adventure 

Gas South’s Impact Investment allowed Bert’s Big Adventure to impact families at their Family Orientation, Send Off Celebration, Walt Disney World, and Spring Reunion. At the family orientation, they were able to surprise 8 children and 31 family members with the news they were headed to Walt Disney World! At the Sendoff, Gas South granted a child (Alex) and his family of 5, with a 4-night Disney cruise in September 2019. While at Disney World, 12 children were able to have princess and pirate makeovers and dance parties with characters. In May, over 450 family members gathered at the Fernbank Museum for a Spring Reunion. All the children that Bert’s Big Adventure touches have a difficult life because they are dealing with terminal illnesses. The Gas South impact investment helped to give them precious time and memories with their families that they otherwise would not experience.  

“We are beyond grateful for the continued support (not just financially) from the Gas South team – you are truly a unique organization dedicated to giving back in our community.” Molly Parish, Executive Director. 

Camp Twin Lakes 

Camp Twin Lakes provides a place where children with serious illnesses, disabilities, and life challenges can discover and be their best selves. Our Gas South 2019 investment helped Camp Twin Lakes serve children with limb deficiencies or defects, cancer, Type I diabetes, Tourette syndrome, autism, cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis, developmental disabilities, organ transplants, spina bifida, and congenital insensitivity to pain, as well as children in foster care, children with an incarcerated parent, kids who have lost a parent serving in the military or have active military parents, and those who have experienced a loss.  

Gas South’s investment of $50,000 allowed Camp Twin Lakes to transform the lives of 91 children and teens with special healthcare needs and life challenges. This program provides a 70% scholarship ($550) for every camper served, funding camper food, fully-accessible housing, and all program supplies and equipment. Because of supporters like Gas South, we were able to provide a scholarship to 100% of our campers, and more than 70% attended Camp last summer at no cost at all! 

Gas South will partner with each of the winning organizations to track and measure the impact that our investments are having. Our employees will also have the opportunity to engage in volunteer activities with the winners throughout the rest of our fiscal year.  

As a leading provider of natural gas throughout the southeastern U.S., Gas South has taken a close look at how we can make sure our success as a company directly benefits the communities we serve. Through volunteerism, charity partnerships and ongoing financial support, we’re helping people in our community fulfill their potential with the hope that, one day, they’ll join us in being a fuel for good. 

Thanks to our friends at Bert’s Big Adventure for providing the photo for this article.

Jan
10

Gas South Basic Needs Impact Investment Winners: 2019 Impact and 2020 Goals

2020 Gas South Impact Invest Winners

In 2019, Gas South awarded $300,000 to six local nonprofit organizations – Atlanta Mission, Kate’s Club, Los Niños Primero, Nana Grants, Shepherd Center and Sunshine on a Ranney Day were all recipients of $50,000 each. Additionally, Covenant House of Georgia, Girls, Inc. and Training and Counseling Center were awarded $10,000 each. 

Gas South makes it our mission to be a fuel for good for the community we serve. We strive to put our customers, employees and our community first in everything we do. Donating 5% of our profits to children in need is a core pillar of our mission to be a fuel for good, but you may be wondering how exactly those funds are allocated.

The Gas South investments address three main types of needs:

  • Basic needs 
  • Illness and disability
  • Education 

Let’s take a look at how Gas South’s past basic needs investment winners were able to make a difference in our Georgia community in 2019, and how the 2020 basic needs winners are planning to use the investment funds this year.

2020 Basic Needs Investment Winners

Covenant House of Georgia

Covenant House of Georgia (CHGA) is Atlanta’s only homeless shelter serving youth ages 18 to 21. Most of their youth are African American (80%) and the remainder are Caucasian (10%) and Latino (10%). About one-third were in the foster care system and more than half have a history with the criminal justice system. Covenant House will be providing interview and work attire for 200 youth in their vocational program with the $10,000 Innovation Investment from Gas South.   

Atlanta Mission

Atlanta Mission provides each child that comes to them for help, basic needs and services that include shelter, bedding, meals, shower, essential healthcare, laundry facilities, childcare, afterschool and preschool programming, and other social services.   

With an Impact Investment grant from Gas South, at the cost of about $30 per day, they will provide over 1,600 children with a bed and bedding, meals, showers, essential healthcare, daycare, preschool programming, school uniforms, school supplies, and other necessities.

When a child arrives with his or her mother at the doorstep of their Atlanta Day Shelter, they immediately begin meeting their basic needs. They provide three hot meals per day, showers, essential healthcare, laundry facilities, and a safe, secure place to sleep. In addition to a bed, they provide each individual their own sheet set, blanket, and pillow to help them find comfort off the streets.

Children are also given a bunk bag, which contains games, coloring books, and other stimulating activities to allow them a sense of play and normalcy amidst the chaos of homelessness. Infants and young children are enrolled in our quality childcare program, and school-aged children are enrolled in Centennial Academy Charter School to ensure educational stability and growth while they stay with them.  

Kate’s Club

Kate’s Club empowers children facing life after the death of a parent or sibling. Kate’s Club serves children in the greater metro Atlanta area, from five to 18 years old, who have experienced the death of a parent, sibling or primary caregiver at no cost to the child’s family.

Kate’s Club will use our funding to support their Clubhouse Services and Camp Good Mourning. Camp Good Mourning is a bi-annual two-night, three-day retreat held at Camp Twin Lakes in Winder, Georgia. Their members participate in both camp recreation and therapeutic activities.  

Their approach is two-fold: 1) they provide therapeutic services children need to grieve and cope with their loss and 2) they provide fun, recreational activities, which encourage them the be a kid in an environment where their peers are experiencing a similar loss. As with their other programs, they experienced an increased need for Camp Good Mourning – funding will help expand the number of children who could attend Camp Good Mourning in April 2020. 

2019 Basic Needs Investment Winners

Street Grace

Street Grace is a faith-driven organization that collaborates with faith, business and community leaders providing a comprehensive path to end the sexual exploitation of minors. CSEC involves the recruitment, harboring, transportation, and/or the obtaining of a child under the age of 18 for the purpose of a commercial sex act. Street Grace mobilizes community resources – financial, human, and material – to fight CSEC through prevention/protection, policy and pursuit. 

The Gas South Impact Investment was the final piece of funding needed for the development of a self-contained online toolkit that can be distributed to any school that wants to implement the Youth Education Initiative. The Youth Education Initiative is a student-led prevention program that partners with middle and high schools to teach children about commercial sexual exploitation, how to recognize it, talk about it, report it, and protect themselves and their friends against it.

In 2018, Street Grace reached over 61,000 youth with this critical message. Currently, creative production, including building and producing files for all educational materials to be placed on the website, is underway along with a strategic social media campaign to support the expanding initiative.  

The final phase of this project involves testing and then finally, implementation of the Online Toolkit within Dekalb Public Schools and Atlanta Public Schools, reaching 72 middle and high schools and approximately 100,000 students in the 2019/2020 school year.   

“These exciting updates would not be possible without the financial support and trust of partners like Gas South. Thank you for believing in us and supporting us in such a substantial way.” – Bob Rodgers, President/CEO Street Grace 

Covenant House

The Gas South Impact Investment directly impacted vulnerable young people in the residential programs and wrap-around services in 2019. The investment provided shelter to 518 youth seeking refuge from the streets of Atlanta. It also helped 119 youth to advance their education by registering for and taking the GED, applying to college and completing FAFSA applications. Finally, the investment trained and certified 48 youth in specialized vocational programs that provided skills and knowledge to meet current demand in the job market. 

An example of the Gas South impact is Leigha. She came to Covenant House nearly a year ago with an extensive history of homelessness, abandonment and neglect. Leigha expressed interest in becoming a dietitian, so she enrolled in the Health Technology and Administration certification program. She excelled in her studies, gained full-time employment and successfully transitioned to the independent living program. She is currently enrolled at Perimeter College for the fall semester. 

“We know it was the generous spirits of the Gas South team members that made this grant possible! Please pass along our sincerest appreciation and know that your support ensures that we can continue providing the services needed to triage, stabilize, and heal this vulnerable population.” – Dr. Alieizsoria Redd, Executive Director 

2020 Vision: Looking Ahead

As a leading provider of natural gas in the southeastern U.S., Gas South has taken a close look at how we can make sure our success as a company directly benefits the communities we serve. We believe our communities are strongest when children are well and have opportunities to reach their full potential. This means helping families build strong foundations, helping to meet their basic needs and providing positive pathways for kids. That’s why we’ve committed 5% of our profits to help children in need. 

Through volunteerism, charity partnerships and ongoing financial support, we’re helping people in our community fulfill their potential with the hope that, one day, they’ll join us in being a fuel for good. 

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Gas South – Dedicated to Making a Difference.

And we couldn’t do it without you.

Atlanta area children writing Be The Difference in chalk.

As we look back on 2019, we‘re grateful for the opportunity to serve our customers—and our community.

As part of our mission to Be A Fuel For Good, we are committed to giving back 5% of our profits to help children in need. We’re proud to work with local partners to provide financial assistance in three key areas:

Through your continued support, we’re warming the lives of kids in our community during the holidays and throughout the year.

Thank you for being a part of it all!