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Charitable Giving

Our mission is to provide safe, clean and reliable electricity, but and our vision to do much more. We want to help our communities and our customers to make a difference in the areas of critical need.

It's our privilege to give back to the communities we serve and work to build a future of boundless energy.

AEP Foundation Grant Supports Boys & Girls Clubs STEM Education

The contribution supports students in a number of ways will fund STEM education including the following: Project Blueprint/Building Futures for Future Builders, a collaborative program with the Northeast Indiana Building Trades,; STEM career opportunities; and furnishings for the new facility at the purchase of furnishings and learning tools for rooms at the newly opened club facility at 2609 Fairfield Ave. Ours was the The AEP Foundation gift was the largest single donation given to the Clubs' STEM program.

“Giving our children and teens more access to science, technology, engineering and math educational opportunities is a high priority for the AEP Foundation and Indiana Michigan Power,” says Kim Sabrosky, our Director of External Affairs. “The opportunity to partner with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Fort Wayne on STEM education the past several years has been very rewarding.”

The AEP Foundation focuses on improving lives through education from early childhood through higher education in the areas of science, technology, engineering, math and the environment and by meeting basic human needs.

The grants were presented at the beginning of a recent trades fair, with representatives of various building trades staffing booths where Boys and Girls club participants learned more about various vocations.

Jerome Monaco, safety & health coordinator, Shanon Ellet, technician associate and Terry Riley, distribution system supervisor demonstrated safety hazards. They were joined by Stacy Roberts, talent acquisition specialist and Tiffany Ellis, talent acquisition contractor, who shared information about careers in the energy industry.

AEP Foundation Creates STEM Classroom at South Bend Zoo

The grant money establishes the “AEP Foundation STEM classroom” inside the Education Complex that will be built on the zoo grounds. Opened in spring 2020, the dedicated space will expand the Potawatomi Zoo's education department and support the EdZOOcation program which provides camps, classes, and scout activities. Our funding will also support scholarships for students who might not be able to afford program costs.

Toby Thomas presented the grant to the Potawatomi Zoo's interim director and board members in South Bend.

“As the hometown energy provider, I&M is committed to growing educational opportunities – specifically in the areas of science, technology, engineering and math,” said Toby. “This is the perfect collaboration for the AEP Foundation, I&M and the Potawatomi Zoo to enhance education, improve the lives of our customers and give back to the communities we live in and serve.”

Part of the AEP Foundation grant will also support conservation education focused on the Potawatomi Zoo's addition of a southern white rhinoceros this fall.

The Jay County Fairgrounds is the site of several events throughout the year, including what is billed as the world's largest gas engine and tractor show. The renovation makes the grandstand safer by eliminating open spaces under the seats. The project includes new stairwells at each of the four entrances, replacing chairs in the box-seat section with permanent modern stadium seating and other improvements to make the Fairgrounds more accessible for people with disabilities.

"The Fairgrounds board thanks the AEP Foundation for joining other local businesses, organizations and residents in their generous gifts that make this much-needed renovation of our grandstand a reality," said Rob Weaver, former president of the Jay County Fairgrounds board. "This donation from a longtime corporate citizen of Jay County is much appreciated and helps make the Fairgrounds become an even better draw for a variety of entertainment."

Toby Thomas said the AEP Foundation seeks ways to support and enrich the quality of life in the communities served by us and other AEP companies.

"This project enhances the quality of life in Portland and Jay County by providing a safer, cleaner and more-accessible structure for entertainment events in Jay County," Toby said. "We're very pleased to support this upgrade to improve the experience of Fairgrounds patrons and help attract even more events."

"This generous contribution from the AEP Foundation is the final piece of the financing puzzle that will allow us to begin building our long-awaited new 'nest' that will provide modern recovery enclosures, a new aviary and a long-needed operations building," said Harry Owen, President of Soarin' Hawk. "In addition to enhancing our recovery care for raptors, our new home will allow us to greatly expand our educational programs, which already reach about 10,000 students annually."

The new campus will include:

  • New, modern recovery enclosures and habitats that are designed to provide a natural setting for the raptors, while minimizing maintenance.
  • An aviary that will enable our volunteers to exercise multiple birds in all weather conditions, which results in the return of birds-of-prey to their natural environment much quicker.
  • An operations building that will provide climate-controlled space for triage and treatment; a preparation area for raptors' food; and serve as a base for Soarin' Hawk's volunteers. Soarin' Hawk plans to break ground on the new facility as soon as the weather breaks.
  • Site preparation will include restoring a portion of the acreage to much needed Prairie, Pollinator and Riparian habitats.

We've been working together with Soarin' Hawk in wildlife conservation since 1993 with the introduction of peregrine falcons to Fort Wayne and the placing of a nesting box on top of Indiana Michigan Power Center. Soarin' Hawk volunteers assist the Indiana Department of Natural Resources with banding falcon chicks several weeks after they hatch.

Nesting box live stream

The donation provides technology, materials and supplies for the AEP Foundation Science Lab, where Big Brothers Big Sisters hosts Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) programs to at-risk youth of northeast Indiana and their volunteer mentors.

Toby Thomas presented the $150,000 donation to Josette Rider, Chief Executive Officer, and the BBBSNEI Board of Directors at a special event at The Clyde in Fort Wayne before a crowd of more than 500 people.

"The AEP Foundation and I&M believe in building strong communities, improving lives through education and playing an active role to enhance the communities we serve," Toby said. "Big Brothers Big Sisters will help make sure that more youth are exposed to STEM education at a younger age. This exposure improves their abilities to continue STEM education through high school and post-secondary programs, training them for careers in the promising and expanding fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math."

This is the first ever Science Lab and STEM initiative for BBBSNEI. Funding will provide for an onsite lab, constructed and outfitted with the essential equipment, systems, technology and hardware to host workshops with their Big & Little matches. The Science Lab will give youth with the greatest need and least opportunity the ability to foster an interest in science, providing hands-on experiments and demonstrations. It will also help with the local issues of developing and retaining qualified talent within the region.

We helped downtown Fort Wayne usher in the holiday season by taking part in The Night of Lights. Holiday lighting ceremonies took place across downtown with several businesses and organizations.

Toby Thomas, our President and Chief Operating Officer, flipped the switch to the iconic wreath that lights up the side of the Indiana Michigan Power Center. Employees also handed out hot chocolate to those waiting for the show.

The wreath on the side of the Indiana Michigan Power Center is 32 feet in diameter and weighs more than 3 tons. There are more than 8,000 light bulbs on the wreath.

We treated more than more 1,000 people to free admission during a night of the Festival of Gingerbread, a popular holiday tradition at the History Center in downtown Fort Wayne.

A record 1,197 visitors attended on Indiana Michigan Power Festival of Gingerbread Free Night to view the more than 100 creations made of gingerbread and other edible materials by artists ranging from preschoolers to adult professional chefs. Organizers said visitors helped families with a number of children and grandchildren who otherwise may have not had the opportunity to join the festivities.

As a longtime sponsor of the Festival of Gingerbread, we awarded the gingerbread house created by Study Elementary School students for its originality, appearance and message.

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