Peoples Gas brought light to the streets of Chicago. In 1850, Peoples Gas installed natural gas lamps to illuminate roadways, becoming the first utility in the city. Today, more than 170 years later, it continues to safely deliver energy to Chicago homes and businesses, while giving back to the communities it serves.
This commitment is shown through Peoples Gas’ longstanding partnership with United Way of Metro Chicago. “United Way is a key community partner. On behalf of Peoples Gas, I know we couldn’t make the impact we do in our communities without the partnership of United Way and its affiliated agencies,” said Torrence Hinton, president – Peoples Gas and North Shore Gas.
Peoples Gas consistently ranks among United Way’s top 25 corporate partners. Through its robust employee giving campaign and corporate support for United Way initiatives such as the Neighborhood Networks and Board Leadership Institute, Peoples Gas has contributed more than $10 million to United Way.
In addition to investing dollars, Peoples Gas employees also donate their time, participating in volunteer activities, providing critical advisory insight to the launch of 211 Metro Chicago earlier this year, and serving on United Way’s Board of Directors and Campaign Cabinet.
From supporting those in need, to promoting diversity and inclusion initiatives, to investing in community infrastructure, Peoples Gas has made a true and lasting impact in Chicago communities. This is why we were honored to present Peoples Gas with the 2023 Corporate Leadership Award at our Stronger Neighborhoods Awards Luncheon on June 21, 2023.
“Every award is unique and special in its own way,” Hinton said. “But this one is especially meaningful to us because it recognizes a program that provides support where it’s needed the most, and that’s at the neighborhood level.”
This neighborhood-level program is the United Neighborhoods Equity Fund. In 2021, when United Way approached Peoples Gas about supporting the initiative with unrestricted funding for small, BIPOC-led (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) nonprofits in historically disinvested areas, company leadership didn’t hesitate to say yes.
“We knew right away it was a great fit for us,” Hinton said. “A large portion of our employees grew up and continue to live in the neighborhoods where we work and serve. Those employees are invested in their neighbors’ quality of life because it directly impacts the overall quality of life in their communities. So it’s very personal to us at Peoples Gas, for our employees and as an organization.”
Peoples Gas not only agreed to support the United Neighborhoods Equity Fund, but it signed on as a founding sponsor. Their commitment of $1 million over four years is helping build the capacity and impact of community-based nonprofits on the South and West Sides and in the south suburban region. The Fund has already had a substantial and lasting impact on 20 BIPOC-led organizations, with a third cohort of 10 more nonprofits to be announced fall 2023.
“The prosperity of our region as a whole can be elevated by maximizing the potential of all people through investments in organizations with expertise at the neighborhood level,” Hinton said. “It has been amazing to see how these nonprofits are transforming their communities from the inside out. They truly know what their residents need in order to thrive.”
Peoples Gas’ partnership with United Way and its support of the United Neighborhoods Equity Fund are shining examples of what is possible when we come together across sectors to make a meaningful difference.
“As a business community, we have both the resources and the obligation to support initiatives that create opportunity in our most underserved neighborhoods, but we cannot do it alone,” Hinton said. “We need the leadership of United Way and other key stakeholders with the expertise and the ability to coordinate large scale initiatives like the United Neighborhoods Equity Fund.”
“We are committed to increasing economic opportunity for everyone in our region. It is my sincere hope that we will work together to keep the momentum going to ensure a bright future for generations to come.”