Community Support - Contributions and Grants
“We see them as a company that takes care and cares about the community.”
- AEP Texas Customer during focus group, November 2016
Investing in our local communities is a social responsibility AEP and our employees are passionate about. We feel a duty to improve quality of life, expand education opportunities, especially for people who are disadvantaged, and to help make our communities stronger and more vibrant. No matter how big or small the effort, we are personally committed to making positive change. In 2016, AEP and the American Electric Power Foundation donated approximately $20.9 million to support 1,800 community organizations.
The AEP Foundation grant to Laredo Community College is the sixth Credits Count grant to be awarded by the Foundation. Since the program launched in 2013, the Foundation has committed more than $12.6 million.
Contributions and grants are made primarily in the areas of STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education, grades pre-K through higher education; basic human needs, such as hunger and emergency housing; safety and health; and the environment.
In 2016, the AEP Foundation continued expanding its signature Credits CountSM program, awarding a $1.6 million grant to Laredo Community College in Laredo, Texas. Credits CountSM is a five-year, dual-enrollment program, created by the AEP Foundation to help students pursue college-level STEM education while completing their high school diplomas. The program engages students’ families and provides the opportunity for students to graduate from high school with at least 12 college credits toward a career-ready certificate or toward an associate’s degree in STEM fields.
Credits Count provides not only a channel from middle school to college but also inspiration, guidance and an opportunity for students who otherwise may not have an opportunity to pursue post-secondary education. The grant to Laredo Community College will support Laredo Independent School District (L.I.S.D) which serves approximately 25,000 students – many of whom are economically disadvantaged.
This grant will fund tuition for 400 L.I.S.D dual-enrollment high school students, as well as up to 135 scholarships for high school graduates to attend Laredo Community College. The grant will also fund a STEM-focused curriculum for more than 500 middle school students, as well as college assessment testing preparation for 400 eighth- and ninth-graders. The grant also offers professional development to STEM educators in the school district.
The AEP Foundation grant to Laredo Community College is the sixth Credits Count grant to be awarded by the Foundation. Since the program launched in 2013, the Foundation has committed more than $12.6 million over multiple years for Credits Count in six AEP operating companies’ service areas in Ohio, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Kentucky, Indiana and Texas.
Housing & Hunger
Housing and hunger are important social issues to AEP. Approximately 11 percent of corporate and AEP Foundation giving is dedicated to fighting hunger and homelessness in local neighborhoods across our service territory. This support is essential, especially in cities like Columbus, Ohio, where the number of families in homeless shelters has increased by 64 percent in the past five years.
In 2017, the AEP Foundation committed $1.5 million to help build a new shelter for CHOICES, the only domestic violence shelter and 24-hour crisis hotline in central Ohio The new shelter will expand its capacity by 135 percent by increasing the number of beds from 51 to 120. Designed through national best practices for domestic healing, the facility will include state-of-the-art security, an outdoor playground and garden for shelter residents, as well as kennels and exercise areas for family pets.
Domestic violence has no boundaries and can affect anyone, anywhere. One in every three women and one in four men will experience some form of intimate partner violence in their lifetime. In Franklin County (Ohio) alone, police departments responded to nearly 7,000 incidents of domestic violence in 2015. AEP’s commitment to CHOICES will help provide a comfortable and secure safe haven for victims of domestic violence while giving them the resources and support they need.
Safety & Health
One of AEP’s core values is safety and health, which is reflected in our philanthropic giving. In 2017, the AEP Foundation gave $138,000 to the Thrive360 ministry in Longview, Texas, which is part of AEP’s Southwestern Electric Power Company service territory. Thrive360 is a local ministry with a mission to bring health, nutrition and guidance to local youth. The ministry plans to open the Citadel360 gymnasium to provide after school fitness and athletic training, as well as nutritional education and fellowship to as many as 1,000 children. The 20-acre campus will target kids who do not regularly participate in extracurricular activities and are considered economically disadvantaged by the Texas Education Agency.