Xcel Energy serves hundreds of cities and towns throughout our service territory. With our active and ongoing investment in their infrastructures — through our poles, pipes and wires — we are literally connected and serve as an integral member of those communities.
We believe it is our responsibility to have a positive impact — as an energy provider, good neighbor, community advocate and environmental steward. After all, we know that our success is directly tied to the success of our communities. Our support is far-reaching — from charitable giving to employee volunteering to economic development and support for energy assistance programs.
Through several matching donation and volunteer programs, we encourage our employees to be involved and to share their time, energy and talents. From supporting our annual volunteer Day of Service to our successful United Way Campaign, our employees have a tradition of giving generously and supporting our communities.
The Xcel Energy Foundation is our company’s charitable arm and oversees our giving and volunteer programs. Our foundation support is focused generally in four areas:
We provided $72.9 million in total community giving in 2017 through energy assistance, the Xcel Energy Foundation and other corporate giving.
Through our community support, we provide much more than funding for hundreds of organizations across our service territory. We have relationships with organizations that, through their own partnerships and connections, are doing important work to improve people’s lives in our communities.
We take a comprehensive approach to supporting community organizations. As an example, we have a unique partnership with RiversEdge West, an organization with a mission to advance the restoration of riparian lands, and through its Desert Rivers Collaborative, is protecting and restoring native river habitat in western Colorado.
“Xcel Energy's support is making an invaluable impact on the lives of individuals in the Grand Valley and on the health of the Gunnison and Colorado Rivers — from inspiring and educating youth to be river stewards and providing community members with an opportunity to experience the river — in some cases for the first time in their lives — during our annual Raft the River event, to hosting volunteer events that clean-up and restore the rivers in our community,” said Stacy Beaugh, executive director of RiversEdge West. “River restoration work does not happen overnight, it takes a village or as we say — a collaborative — and our partners at Xcel Energy are instrumental in this process.”
Arts and Culture
In Minnesota, we support the Ordway in St. Paul to help bring the arts to children of all socioeconomic backgrounds through the annual Flint Hills International Children’s Festival. In 2017, the event brought the world’s best performing arts to more than 40,000 children and their families.
“With 641 artists and companies with backgrounds in over 13 nations, the festival included a high-energy drum drama, a journey through indigenous music, a mystery adventure, and even a whale,” said Jamie Grant, president and CEO of Ordway. “The parks around the Ordway were filled with free arts activities, art exhibits and performances on the Festival’s two outdoor stages.”
The festival is often the first experience for students at Phalen Lake Elementary to experience the arts. According to one teacher, who represents a school with high poverty and a high number of second-language learners, this event gives these students an opportunity to see a live show, watch people perform, see art and artists and feel the power of art through music and performance. It’s a glimpse into alternative opportunities in life.
We have also exposed thousands of students and other community members to nature and science through our long-standing support of HawkQuest, an organization dedicated to environmental education in Colorado.
“Through the Xcel Energy Foundation, we continue to deliver our message to diverse populations and to nurture their understanding of the world around them,” said master falconer and executive director of HawkQuest, Kin Quitugua. “By taking steps to educate our kids about the environment and the animals that live in it, we are helping them to appreciate their ability to positively influence the environment.”
Fifth grade students in Aurora Public Schools have enjoyed HawkQuest’s educational assemblies over the past five years. According to Carol Davis, the district’s program director, approximately 6,000 students have experienced the joy of seeing a bald eagle at close range or have witnessed a Harris’s Hawk fly across the room. The program makes a difference in the lives of students who might otherwise never get a chance to see these creatures up close.
Sometimes the organizations we support benefit most from our time and talents. In Amarillo, Texas, employees show up twice a year to share information with middle and high school students about careers in the energy industry as part of the Step Up to Success college and career leadership conferences. Los Barrios de Amarillo hosts the events that help raise awareness and encourage higher education and career readiness.
Through Xcel Energy’s Volunteer Paid Time Off program, employees are able to spend time, sharing their experiences with students and managing a number of tasks, from helping to set up the event to monitoring halls and serving lunch. In addition to volunteer support, the program also receives matching funds through the company’s Dollars for Doing program, which go toward a student scholarship. “Due to Xcel’s partnership and willingness to volunteer, we have been able to have successful events for middle and high school students from the Texas Panhandle area,” said Tina Sisneros, the membership chair for Los Barrios. “Because of the company’s volunteerism, we are so proud to award a $1000 scholarship in the honorary name of Xcel Energy.”
We contributed more than $3.4 million in foundation grants in 2017 to promote our primary focus areas of STEM education, economic sustainability, environmental stewardship and access to arts and culture. Altogether, 346 nonprofit organizations received grants, averaging about $9,900 each.
Learn more about our focus area funding and find a full list of grant recipients.
Our employees live, work and have families in the cities and towns we serve. Because of this, we are committed to giving back to the community through charitable donations and volunteerism.
Xcel Energy offers a number of programs to encourage employee involvement, including:
Xcel Energy has a long-standing tradition of supporting United Way and the community organizations it assists. Each year, we sponsor an employee campaign that for eight consecutive years has raised well over $2.5 million annually in employee and retiree pledges, which the company matches.
The campaign is a fun and rewarding part of working at Xcel Energy, with a number of special fundraising events — from chili cook-offs to sport tournaments. In 2017, we created a new “dress down” badge that employees could purchase, giving them a pass to wear jeans to work and raising more than $100,000 for the campaign.
Combined with the company match, the campaign in 2017 raised more than $4.8 million to support United Way programs and hundreds of nonprofit organizations throughout Xcel Energy’s service territory. Nearly 5,400 employees and retirees contributed $2.67 million in pledges and event contributions, with the average pledge increasing by about $65.
Xcel Energy continues to make a difference in numerous communities during its annual Day of Service held in September. On this single day in 2017, about 4,200 employees, family members, friends and even customers came together to support more than 100 nonprofit projects. Volunteers performed a number of tasks from packing food boxes to planting trees and park cleanup.
Examples of some outcomes include:
In total, the effort contributed about 16,800 volunteer hours to support our local communities, valued at more than $425,000.
In addition to focus area giving, the Xcel Energy Foundation may provide strategic philanthropic grants to projects that are a priority for our local communities. In 2017, we contributed $75,000 to the American Red Cross and the 100 Club of Amarillo in support of 21 local fire departments. The contributions followed one of the most devastating wildfires in the state of Texas, charring hundreds of square miles in the Panhandle and affecting many communities in Xcel Energy’s service territory.
We support energy education in a number of ways because we believe it’s important for our customers to know how their energy is produced and delivered. Most of our major non-nuclear power plants provide public tours for their neighboring communities, and through our online Energy Classroom, we offer educational resources for teachers and students.
Through a special community program in New Mexico, we support solar energy education for customers and schools. In 2017, we relaunched our solar education center in Roswell that demonstrates different technologies for collecting sunlight to generate electricity. We own four photovoltaic systems located on partner sites that are available to help teachers with energy curriculum specifically developed for New Mexico classrooms. Students, as well as the general public, can access live and historical data to measure ambient temperatures, wind speed and levels of solar production at the sites.
The Xcel Energy Foundation was established in 2001 to fulfill the mission of using the collective knowledge, resources and skills of our staff and colleagues to make a positive impact in communities throughout our service territory.
The foundation board provides oversight and is comprised of five directors and three officers, including Ben Fowke, who serves as the foundation’s chair and president. The board meets annually to review financial statements and approve the annual budget, which is determined by prioritizing what the board hopes to accomplish with the available resources. They also set policy on a number of items, including the levels at which we provide matching funds for employee efforts, our focus areas for giving and overseeing the foundation’s investments. The majority of Xcel Energy Foundation funding comes from Xcel Energy shareholder dollars.
Find a full breakdown of giving through the Xcel Energy Foundation in the Performance Summary.
Read more about the Xcel Energy Foundation and community giving on our website.
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