PECO CEO Shares Criteria for Selecting and Measuring Nonprofit Partners


In the highly competitive energy sector, PECO has built a reputation as a reliable provider and generous corporate citizen. Contributing to the company’s leading position is their commitment to Corporate Social Responsibility, and their many years of community involvement with nonprofit organizations. President and CEO Craig Adams and Director of Corporate Relations Romona Riscoe Benson share the PECO way of working with nonprofits.

“For us at PECO, we think giving back to the community is the right thing for our customers and for our business,” says Craig.

“Just about everybody you run into in Philadelphia is either a direct PECO customer or lives in a home or works in a facility owned by a customer. Helping to build a strong community and a solid relationship with the community is essential for our business.”

Each year, PECO donates to hundreds of organizations working on making communities in greater Philadelphia a better place to live and do business.

“The quantity and variety of requests we receive requires us to have a framework to guide our decision making and a mechanism for managing our important community partnership relationships,” says Craig.

According to Craig and Romona, PECO applies the following criteria when selecting a nonprofit partner:

  • Is the organization solvent?
  • Do they have a strong mission that is aligned with PECO’s four pillars1?
  • Are they able to service a certain aspect of the community based on what that particular community needs?
  • Have they identified outcomes and set metrics for measuring results?

“These criteria are important to ensure that PECO’s resources are efficiently used for causes that are aligned with our values and carried out by responsible organizations that, like us, are here for the long term,” says Romona.

PECO focuses on CSR programs and nonprofit partners that can deliver measurable and sustainable improvements in the communities in which they serve.

“Accountability is important. Our grantees report back on how they used the grants they received. This allows us to measure the impact of our philanthropic efforts and to determine if we are meeting the goals that were established for a particular program or event,” says Craig.

Giving is good for nonprofit partners. It’s also good for PECO. 

Craig adds that “working with the nonprofit community and associating ourselves with strong, community-based organizations gives our customers a chance to see that PECO invests in causes that are important to them. This contributes to creating our reputation as being a leader in this region.”

CSR also helps PECO develop their talent.

Through their “Energy For The Community” employee volunteer network, PECO employees develop leadership and teamwork skills, and put a personal face on the company’s CSR activities. The program engages employees from all parts of the company, and recognizes and celebrates the importance of their efforts in building relationships with customers and communities.

More than 150 PECO employees lend their time and professional expertise as board members on nonprofit boards throughout the Philadelphia area, including The African American Museum in Philadelphia, Art Sanctuary, Pathways, The Franklin Institute and the Philadelphia Zoo.

“A lot of our employees want to be able to give back to the community. Especially the millennials who are now coming into the work force. They are much more focused on being able to do something meaningful in the community and to be part of a company that supports and engages them to do so. This really makes a very strong retention tool,” adds Craig.

Why PECO chooses to be a member of the Satell Institute

“Nonprofits have a sense of relief when they know they will have the resources that they will need to accomplish their mission,” says Craig. “It enables them to plan ahead and use their time most effectively. This is one of the factors that attracted us to the Satell Institute in the first place. As a corporate affiliate of the Satell Institute, we are benefitting from best practices and learning from other organizations that are taking Corporate Social Responsibility to the next level. We’re always looking to get better at what we do and this opportunity takes another step in that direction.”

 1 PECO has four pillars that guide their CSR activities. They are education, the environment, arts & culture, and neighborhood development programs.

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