Dominion Gives Grants to Colleges
Dominion Virginia yesterday presented grants to college and universities across its coverage area.
Representatives of seven of the sixteen schools that will receive a total of a half-million dollars, had lunch at the power company’s Tredegar campus.
Balderson: In the spring of this year, the Dominion Foundation announced that we were gonna try to be more strategic with our giving to higher education and we developed what we're calling our Higher Educational Partnership.
Dominion’s Philanthropy Manager Cindy Balderson.
Balderson: And it really is based on the model that we've had with our K grants for many years, where we accept all of the applications in the spring, review them during the summer, and then award them for the following school year.
There were, she said, 73 applications submitted by 46 different two- and four-year schools.
Balderson: We've got schools in Richmond, including VCU, Virginia Union, Virginia State, both J. Sargeant Reynolds and John Tyler Community Colleges as well.
Judging was conducted in two stages.
Balderson: First, the Foundation staff and our human resources staff looked at the proposals in terms of workforce development. We all talk a lot about STEM and the importance of science, technology, engineering and math, but we also looked at careers in environmental science, business courses, as well as student-led energy conservation projects, and I think those are really my favorite; but we ask students in the staff at the colleges to look at ways they can learn about energy, explore alternative energy sources and maybe even find ways to conserve energy.
This year’s grants are, in fact, a pilot program.
Balderson: This year we offered it exclusively in Virginia, but you know, Dominion has customers in four other states as well, so we're hoping to expand it next year, and it will be once a year that we accept the applications, starting in the spring, and again, to evaluate the proposals during the summer and fund in time for the next school year.
The grant program, Balderson says, is important on several levels. Dominion may certainly benefit from the projects being funded.
Balderson: I think we will; I think that these students have a lot of potential, whether they are our future employee or someone else's employees, but really I think we are gonna help develop students into leaders, decision-makers, and really even homeowners and consumers of energy for them to make better decisions as adults.
VCU is getting $30,000 for the Rice Center on the James River.
Balderson: They're gonna look at the water resources and really, the human impact on the James River as well as rivers throughout the nation. Another project I'm really excited about is Virginia State University's engineering students are gonna learn applications of energy conservation and then they're gonna take what they learn and they're gonna partner with Elderhomes and Rebuilding Together. They're actually gonna go into homes in the Petersburg area, help weatherize those homes, and we believe that the elderly homeowners are gonna save about 30 percent on their heating and cooling costs.
John Tyler Community College will get $20,000.
Balderson: They're going to offer auto-cad workshops, not only for their college faculty, but also for high school teachers. These teachers will learn about learning to design homes utilizing the LEED and the green materials. Those teachers will take that information back to their students.
$40 thousand to Virginia Union.
Balderson: To teach juniors and seniors about the Six Sigma business management strategy; you know, here at Dominion, we talk about Six Sigma, that's very important to our culture and we believe this is a great opportunity for students at Virginia Union to get a jumpstart on that business career.
J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College will get 25 thousand dollars to upgrade its science labs.
John Ogle, WCVE News