PG&E Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability Report 2017

Community Investments

As a business partner and community member, we start with the simple belief that we are better together. We are investing in partnerships across our service area that enrich educational opportunities, preserve our environment, promote emergency preparedness and support economic vitality.

Our Approach

Reflecting our local approach, PG&E’s Better Together Local Giving Program provides grants every year to 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations, schools and local governments across Northern and Central California. These investments can come from PG&E or from The PG&E Corporation Foundation, and generally focus on four areas: education, economic and community vitality, the environment and emergency preparedness.

In 2016, we provided more than 1,600 grants in these areas, with a special focus on supporting underserved communities. We also prioritize partnerships that provide volunteer opportunities for our employees and often make in-kind contributions to organizations, such as vehicle donations and surplus equipment and tools.

PG&E’s community investment program is funded entirely by shareholders and has no impact on our customers’ electric or natural gas rates.

2016 Charitable Contribution Focus Areas
Category Percentage Footnote 1
Education 31%
Economic and Community Vitality 51%
Environment 14%
Emergency Preparedness 3%
  • 1. Numbers may not add up to 100 due to rounding.

PG&E also offers several ways for employees to get involved in the community investment process on a local level:

  • Our Community Service Award Program allows employees who volunteer for more than 25 hours to send $350 to a qualifying nonprofit organization of their choice.
  • We give each of PG&E’s 10 Employee Resource Groups (ERGs)—representing different aspects of PG&E’s diverse workforce—the opportunity to direct $10,000 to community groups and activities.
  • Through the Matching Gifts Program, eligible gifts from employees, retirees or current members of the PG&E Corporation Board of Directors are matched, dollar-for-dollar, up to $1,000 per calendar year per individual.

2016 Milestones

Our Better Together Giving Program makes a difference in the lives of our customers and in the communities we serve.


Today’s students are our future engineers and scientists. To help them succeed, PG&E continues to support California students with scholarships and grants in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). Highlights from 2016 include:

  • Better Together STEM Scholarships. More than $1 million in scholarships were awarded to students pursuing higher education in STEM fields. Ten students each received a $100,000 scholarship (up to $20,000 per year for five years), and program finalists were awarded a one-time $2,000 scholarship. Since 2012, the Better Together STEM Scholarship Program has awarded more than $3 million to accomplished students based on a combined demonstration of community leadership, personal triumph, financial need and academic achievement.
  • Solar Suitcase Program. For the 2016-2017 school year, 19 schools in Northern and Central California participated in the second year of the PG&E Solar Suitcase Program, part of our Better Together Classroom Grants, in partnership with We Care Solar. Under the program, each school is awarded $8,000 worth of equipment and training to help students build portable solar units that can bring clean, renewable energy to communities in Kenya. The program has provided light for more than 15,000 Kenyans and given more than 2,000 students in California a unique global service and educational opportunity.
  • Better Together Energy Academy. Created in partnership with the California Department of Education, this one-of-a-kind program offers in-school STEM-focused training for students in grades 10 through 12 to help them prepare for careers in our industry. Energy Academy schools receive grants, targeted professional development workshops, and assistance from industry and government experts, and 11th graders in the program receive access to a paid summer internship opportunity at PG&E.

Economic and Community Vitality

PG&E invests in job creation and career training opportunities, supports local businesses and offers energy assistance to low-income families to improve the quality of life in the communities we serve. Highlights from our efforts in 2016 include:

  • Better Together Economic Vitality Grants. PG&E’s Better Together Economic Vitality Grants invested $200,000 in programs designed to boost local job creation and promote economic opportunity throughout our service area. Grants of up to $20,000 were awarded for programs ranging from business development to workforce training.
  • Better Together Summer Jobs Program. We committed nearly $1 million to PG&E’s Better Together Summer Jobs, which we offer in partnership with local Boys & Girls Club chapters in Fresno, Sacramento and Bakersfield. Through the program, PG&E provided 210 youth with paid summer jobs, and approximately 850 youth with workforce training. The program, now in its fifth year, has a major impact on youth and is made possible through partnerships with cities and local businesses.
  • REACH. In partnership with the Salvation Army, the PG&E REACH (Relief for Energy Assistance through Community Help) program has provided critical financial assistance for gas and electric services to thousands of families for more than 30 years. Support for the program comes primarily from PG&E, but our employees and customers also contribute donations. PG&E supports 100 percent of all administration costs, ensuring that 100 percent of the charitable donations reach even more of those in need.

Emergency Preparedness

Preparing for natural disasters helps PG&E respond to emergencies efficiently and effectively when our customers need us most. We partner with first responders and community leaders to promote community readiness in the event of an emergency, such as a wildfire, storm or earthquake. In 2016, our efforts included:

  • Partners in Preparedness. PG&E contributed $1 million to the American Red Cross Home Fire Preparedness Campaign to transform disaster readiness levels in our communities in addition to supporting year-round disaster response efforts. The program aims to reduce the number of lives lost due to a preventable cause: home fire.
  • Community Preparedness Support. PG&E has awarded local grants to California Fire Safe Councils and participated in the Governor’s Task Force on Tree Mortality. We also provided local support to cities and school districts, disaster response agencies, police and fire departments, and neighborhood watch organizations in high-fire-risk counties to help communities protect themselves from wildfires.


PG&E is committed to protecting the environment, and this commitment drives our programs that promote renewable energy, foster energy efficiency and protect our parks, recreation areas and natural habitats. Recently offered programs include:

  • Better Together Solar Habitat. Through this program, PG&E fully funds the installation of solar panels on every new home built by Habitat for Humanity in our service area. The program lowers the electrical bill for each home by an average of $500 a year, avoids the release of 132,000 pounds of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere over the 30-year life of the system, and provides popular volunteer opportunities for our employees. PG&E’s Better Together Solar Habitat Program has provided more than $11.6 million to help respond to housing needs and bring solar energy over the past 12 years to hardworking families with limited incomes.
  • Better Together Nature Restoration Grants. Working in close partnership with the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, PG&E has helped repair over 80 natural areas since 2000. Through these grants and community-based projects, PG&E has committed $2.3 million to protect and restore critical natural habitats within our service area, including the following projects and programs:
    • McClellan Ranch Preserve—restoration of a riparian meadow, which is increasingly threatened by urban growth (Santa Clara County).
    • Forebay Aquatic Center—a restoration and clean water science ambassador project (Butte County).
    • Centennial Creek Community—local students and residents as well as PG&E employees planted more than 60 riparian shrubs (Paso Robles).
    • EarthTeam—a sustainable youth program creating green infrastructure through community-based urban forestry (Contra Costa County).

Measuring Progress

In 2016, PG&E supported $28 million in contributions to charitable organizations. Those amounts are equivalent to 1.23 percent of PG&E’s pretax earnings from operations from the prior year.

Total Charitable Contributions
Year Charitable Contributions (millions)
2009 $19.2
2010 $19.3
2011 $23.2
2012 $23.2
2013 $23.2
2014 $23.2
2015 $25.0
2016 $28.0

PG&E’s community investments are focused on providing assistance to underserved communities, such as low-income individuals, communities of color, the long-term unemployed, women and girls, veterans, senior citizens, people with disabilities and members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) community.

In 2016, nonprofit organizations self-identified that approximately 66 percent of PG&E’s community investments were directed toward communities of color and approximately 16 percent were directed to women and girls, veterans, senior citizens, people who are homeless, people with disabilities, and members of the LGBTQ community.

Looking Ahead

In 2017, PG&E will sustain its charitable funding to support underserved communities, with a particular focus on supporting the next generation of California’s energy workforce. This will include developing partnerships with local community colleges and non-profit organizations focused on preparing an energy workforce. We will work to build a sustainable and scalable local and diverse workforce pipeline that starts with career awareness at the K-12 level in the engineering and trades disciplines. We will also continue to strengthen the linkages between our community investments and our future workforce needs by partnering to provide students with internships and job-shadowing opportunities.