November 24, 2020 | by NRG Team Voices | NRG Stories

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NRG Systems has had a strong philanthropic focus for decades. As we navigate the various challenges 2020 has presented as a company and as a community, we believe it is more important than ever to support one another. As we prepare for a holiday season that will look different than any we have experienced before, NRG has been working hard to find ways to maximize our positive impact at home in Vermont. Below we have highlighted the causes we are supporting this year and some of the NRG employees who are spearheading these efforts.

United Way Week at NRG

For the past 14 years, NRG Systems has held an annual pledge drive benefiting the United Way of Northwest Vermont. The organization, which provides support to nearly 40,000 residents of Chittenden, Franklin, and Grand Isle counties, was faced with an overwhelming increase in need during the COVID-19 pandemic. The United Way quickly raised more than $500,000, distributing 30+ grants in response. They provided another $1.5 million in program funding grants, fulfilling its three-year commitment to invest a total of $4.5 million in our local communities.

With 2021 upon us and the pandemic still in full swing, the need to keep these programs afloat is crucial. While NRG was not able to host the team-based contests, tournaments, and games that typically define United Way Week at our office, we did exceed our fundraising goal in the first few days of the campaign, with more than 50% of our staff participating. Michael Purdue, NRG’s Vice President, Engineering, who leads the United Way campaign every year, said,  “In a year such as 2020, the fact that we were able to surpass our fundraising goal—and exceed last year’s pledge total, as well—underscores the generosity and caring nature of our employees and demonstrates the essence of one of our core values: We are relationship people.”

Winter Clothes Drive

It is no secret that Vermont winters can be harsh. One of the simplest and most effective ways to stay warm when the snow, sleet, and frigid temperatures set in is to bundle up in a warm coat. But for many, access to proper winter gear is not a given. Travis Jones, a Senior Electro-Mechanical Engineer at NRG, and his wife, Dorie, have teamed up with the Burlington-based restaurant, Sweetwaters, to collect winter coats for those in need. Jones said, “Last year, between NRG and Dorie’s employer, we collected 127 coats that went to Sweetwaters to be distributed on Thanksgiving Day. Thanks to participation from other local businesses, 600 coats were handed out within an hour and a half. I’m proud to work with such a great group of people at NRG who continue to support the efforts of area organizations whose focus is on the well-being of our state’s vulnerable population.” In addition to winter coats, to-go Thanksgiving dinners will be available at Sweetwaters this Thanksgiving.

COVID Funds from ESCO Foundation Bolster Local Nonprofits

Our parent company, ESCO Technologies, shares our commitment to helping communities in need and has established the ESCO Foundation to recognize and support 501(c)3 organizations across all their subsidiaries. As COVID led to a sharp increase in demand for services provided by nonprofits, the ESCO Foundation decided to allocate additional funds to help relieve some of the unexpected burden faced by these organizations. For NRG and our local community, this meant that in addition to the $5,000 the ESCO Foundation provided to the Vermont Foodbank, another $10,000 was given to the United Way. NRG Executive Assistant, Kathy Magnus, who helps manage the company’s philanthropic efforts, said, “We chose the United Way to be the recipient of these additional funds because they have a broad reach and the knowledge to determine which of the charitable organizations they support need the most help. We are grateful to the ESCO Foundation for helping us maximize our contributions, which will have a significant impact on many lives during this challenging time.”

Giving Thanks to Employees

NRG’s NRGize team is an internal committee dedicated to creating an inspiring work environment for promoting healthy lifestyles and positive thinking. While COVID has altered what a typical workday looks like at the NRG office, we remain committed to the mental and physical wellbeing of our employees. To lift spirits ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday, the NRGize team created gift bags containing a variety of Vermont-made products for each member of our team. Kelli Crapo, NRG’s Human Resources Manager, who helps lead the NRGize committee, said, “These gift bags are a small gesture to celebrate the season of giving thanks. It is a nice bonus that we are able to support a number of Vermont companies while giving back to our employees, who do so much to keep our business moving forward every day of the year.”

To learn more about NRG’s philanthropic efforts, please visit the Community page on our website.

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