Volunteerism at AEP
Supporting community projects and programs requires more than financial support. It requires time and labor to make progress possible. Every year, AEP employees from around our service territory give their time, talent and financial donations to a variety of organizations throughout our service territory. Our employees are a force of voices, hands and hearts caring together to make our communities stronger and better for us all. Most importantly, our employees are consistent in their efforts, both when times are good and when hardship strikes.
The value of employee volunteerism to our communities and to AEP is long-lasting and impactful. It helps to enhance the quality of life, advance and expand education opportunities for underserved populations, and create shared social and economic benefits. Through the collective efforts of our employee volunteers, we are strengthening the social fabric of our communities. We set new corporate sustainability goals to better engage our employees in company-led or supported volunteer activities as well as better track the impact our employees are having within our local communities.
We were reminded of the importance of community giving as natural disasters devastated parts of our service territories and beyond. In 2018, our employees gave more than $20,000 in special relief donations to The Salvation Army through the AEP Emergency Disaster Fund. The AEP Foundation matched 100 percent of the employee contributions to help relieve the impacts of Hurricane Florence in the Carolinas. Since 2004, employee giving along with company and AEP Foundation matches have provided more than $1.4 million for natural disaster relief.
When disaster strikes, AEP employees are quick to respond. Whether they are on the job repairing storm damage or giving money and their time to help those affected by disaster or tragedy. To improve our ability to help those in need, AEP, with the help of concerned employees, established the AEP Emergency Disaster Relief Fund. Distinct from the special disaster recovery efforts, the fund provides a vehicle for the company and our employees to support each other and dependent family members who suffer losses as a result of disasters and tragedies. Employees are able to donate to the fund through a one-time donation or payroll deduction.
Employee Volunteerism in 2018
Public Service Company of Oklahoma (PSO) offers a mini-grant program to encourage and support employees’ and retirees’ community volunteer activities. The PSO Connects Volunteer Grant was started in 2015 and is part of the company’s legacy of volunteerism in its communities. One of many examples of the company’s volunteerism includes participation by dozens of PSO employees each year in the Tulsa Area United Way Day of Caring, one of the largest single days of community service in the nation.
Restoring the past for the future was the intent behind an employee-led restoration effort of a rundown 165-year old cemetery located on the property of Southwestern Electric Power Company’s Welsh Power Plant. Over the course of two years, employees restored the historic Lev Old cemetery, which dates as far back as 1855. The Titus County, Texas, Historical Commission awarded the plant and its employees with its Merit Award, and installed a marker at the site – a visual symbol of the historic significance of the site.
In Corpus Christi, Texas, an elementary school nurse’s plea for help with supplies for the “Nurse’s Closet” became a rallying call for AEP Texas employees that sparked a new and lasting relationship. The closet stocks basic clothing needs and toiletries for students of the Crockett Elementary School, located in an economically challenged area where many students are homeless or lack basic needs such as shoes and clothes. Employees at AEP Texas responded with clothing and supplies. The company has established a long-term relationship with the school to help meet basic needs before the school year begins as well as mentor students.
Most weekdays, many AEP employees in Central Ohio can be found delivering meals to those in need over their lunch hour. During the past 13 years, an army of AEP employees have delivered more than 100,000 meals to homebound seniors. The AEP Foundation made a $1 million commitment to LifeCare Alliance, which provides a wide range of health and nutrition services to older adults and medically challenged residents in Central Ohio. The AEP Foundation’s donation enables LifeCare Alliance to buy one new delivery van annually for four years, and support the organization’s core programs to keep clients safe, independent and living in their own homes. The grant is the largest in LifeCare Alliance’s history, and they graciously nominated AEP for the 2019 Medical Mutual Pillar Award for Community Service for our long history of volunteerism and philanthropy. AEP was honored with this award.