Tucson Electric Power contributed $619,800 during the first quarter of 2021 to support 23 nonprofit groups that assist neighbors in need, support education and help strengthen the community.
TEP’s support allowed families to catch up on utility bills, helped teachers expand their students’ critical thinking skills and strengthened housing security for low-income residents. The utility’s community partners used the contributions to sustain programs with measurable success built over many years.
TEP’s philanthropic contributions come from corporate resources and are not recovered through customers’ rates. The five largest donations during the first three months of 2021 included:
- $300,000 to Wildfire, a statewide nonprofit that provides utility bill-payment assistance
- $75,000 to Southern Arizona Research, Science and Engineering Foundation
- $50,000 to Habitat for Humanity
- $40,000 to the University of Arizona School of Natural Resources and Environment for its work around raptor protection
- $25,000 to the Women’s Foundation to kick-start the Women of Girls and Color Fund
“Our support extends far beyond a financial donation,” said Wendy Erica Werden, TEP’s manager of community investment. “We’re investing in the causes our employees are passionate about addressing in our community. Our employee volunteers want to make a social impact by working shoulder to shoulder with our nonprofit partners, contributing and participating.”
TEP has transitioned to an invitation to apply for funding across four key areas. The company focuses on low-income community support in the first and fourth quarter of the year, environment and sustainability in the second quarter, and education in the third quarter, with a focus on social equity throughout the year. Organizations who may be interested in funding, in-kind assistance and volunteers are encouraged to review details on at tep.com/community.
TEP and sister company UniSource Energy Services provide support annually to Wildfire, which directs those funds and other resources to community agencies that provide emergency utility bill payment assistance to low-income customers. Last year, they contributed a combined $500,000 to Wildfire to help meet increased needs during the pandemic.
TEP helps SARSEF prepare the workforce of the future for Southern Arizona through its regional science fair and direct classroom support, with TEP volunteers helping to judge the competition and provide board service to SARSEF.
Habitat for Humanity received the final installment of TEP’s pledge to provide a total of $150,000 over three years to strengthen and improve the effectiveness of its volunteer program.
“TEP’s support provided an opportunity for Habitat for Humanity Tucson to focus on refreshing the volunteer programs that are at the core of Habitat’s work,” explained T. VanHook, Habitat’s CEO. “With TEP’s encouragement, we worked to gather tools and knowledge through the Points of Light Services Enterprise Program, with the goal of helping Habitat Tucson support our volunteer base through the COVID-19 pandemic.
“TEP truly powers volunteerism in the community by giving organizations like Habitat Tucson the opportunity to boost programs that support community involvement, which is a core principle for both of our organizations.”
TEP’s focus in the second quarter of 2021 will be on the environment and sustainability.
In 2020, TEP assisted 210 charities through financial donations, in-kind support and the contributions of employee volunteers. Although the pandemic limited the company’s ability to volunteer at in-person events last year, its volunteers contributed more than 6,800 hours to support important causes. In a typical year, about 25 percent of TEP employees, recognizable by blue shirts, volunteer in the community.
Other organizations and community projects that may receive financial support are chosen by TEP’s Community Action Team, which organizes volunteer and donation activities to benefit the causes closest to our employees’ hearts.