In an annual giving campaign held virtually for the first time, employees of the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) along with its managing contractor, the Alliance for Sustainable Energy, pledged a record $616,000 to support local charities in Denver, Washington, D.C., and Fairbanks, Alaska, all of which are home to NREL offices.
“At a time when many companies are scaling back on their charitable commitments, NREL showed its commitment to the community and increased their contribution compared to the year before,” said Erin Atwell, CEO of Community Shares of Colorado, NREL’s longtime community-engagement partner. “We’re deeply impressed and humbled.”
One such charity is Judi’s House in Denver, which focuses on providing high-quality care to grieving children and families.
"[NREL Employees] directly help us advance our vision that no child should be alone in grief,” said Julie Scott, director of corporate philanthropy and communications for Judi’s House. “Thank you for being champions to children in need and champions in our community."
The Alliance kicked off the campaign with a $20,000 donation to support the nonprofits on the frontlines in the fight against COVID-19.
The donation was divided among the Colorado COVID Relief Fund, Spark the Change Colorado and Feeding Colorado. The Alliance went on to donate another $30,000 to the Food Bank of the Rockies, Colorado Association of Black Professional Engineers and Scientists, and STEM Generation Inc.
NREL employees have a legacy of giving back to their communities, with many of them participating since the campaign’s inception.
NREL Photographer Dennis Schroeder, who, as a journalist, has been photographing the homeless community around Denver for over two decades, said, “It is very difficult to speak to the complexity of situations facing those experiencing homelessness in a photo. By volunteering your time and making a financial donation to a program experienced with the breadth of the crisis, you become a participant in the solution instead of an observer of the problem.”
Along with Community Shares of Colorado, NREL also partnered with Creating Healthier Communities and the Mile High United Way, which help empower NREL employees to support the causes of their choice.
“We are so grateful for all the time and resources NRELians continue to put in to make the Annual Giving Campaign a success,” added Giving Campaign Co-Chair Dan Beckley, speaking for co-chairs Tom Foust and Chris Gearhart.