Entergy has established a legacy of corporate citizenship that has endured for well over a century. As a company, our success is inextricably tied to the success of the communities we serve. Our commitment to do more to improve the quality of life and sustainability of the communities we serve is integral in our journey to build the premier utility.
Our corporate social responsibility strategies focus on delivering business and social impacts through a combination of philanthropy, volunteerism, and advocacy. Working with our community partners, our social initiatives delivered more than $100 million in benefits to our communities in 2019. And each year our employees contribute more than 100,000 volunteer service hours to a variety of charitable causes.
This year Entergy is celebrating 20 years of our low-income customer service initiative. In 1999, we revised our customer service policies, placing greater emphasis on our customers’ fundamental needs, and launched our low-income customer initiative.
Since that time, we established numerous programs and initiatives to help place low income customers on the path to economic self-sufficiency. These include the Entergy Charitable Foundation grant program, the Power to Care customer bill payment assistance program, the Beat the Heat fan distribution, and an initiative to help customers claim their earned income tax credit refunds during tax season.
As a result, we have helped power the lives of hundreds of thousands of people, not only by keeping their power on and gas flowing, but also by placing them on the path to economic self-sufficiency. These programs have helped our customers reduce debt, increase their assets, improve their credit ratings, become homeowners, and access opportunities for education and job training.
Although we’ve accomplished much over the past 20 years, our fight to reduce the burden of poverty in our region isn’t over. We are renewing our commitment to low-income customers by introducing more extensive poverty solution programs and continuing to collaborate with advocacy partners to serve more of our most vulnerable customers.
In 2019, we earned national recognition for our efforts to improve education and workforce development, eradicate poverty, and protect the environment.
Our focus on poverty is rooted in the economic reality of the communities we serve. Approximately 25 percent of Entergy’s 2.9 million residential customers live at or below the poverty line. Entergy has focused on breaking the cycle of poverty as a major corporate cause since 1999 by funding critical social safety net services and helping individuals and families achieve economic self-sufficiency.
Entergy Super Tax Day is our signature poverty-relief program. Throughout tax season and during annual Super Tax Day events, employees staff Volunteer Income Tax Assistance sites throughout our service area and help qualifying customers receive earned income tax credits — one of the nation’s most effective means of lifting low-income individuals and families out of poverty. Since 2009, we have helped nearly 150,000 individuals and families work toward financial stability by filing for and receiving $258 million in EITC refunds. The economic impact of these credits to our local communities is $400 million.
Entergy employees support a variety of nonprofits in their communities that work to meet the basic needs of our most vulnerable citizens. Last year, our employees fought hunger by volunteering at food banks, provided critical social safety net services through the United Way, helped weatherize homes for low-income elderly and disabled customers, and provided free legal assistance to customers in need.
Education has been at the heart of Entergy’s charitable giving for two decades. We believe a high-quality education provides the resources and opportunities that people need to achieve their full potential and positively contribute to society. In 2019, Entergy shareholders contributed nearly $6 million to support educational programs in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas.
Through funding and advocacy for early-childhood education, we aspire to ensure that all families — particularly low-income working families — have access to high-quality, affordable childcare and education. In 2019, Entergy teamed up with community partners to successfully advocate for $54 million in increased local, state, and federal funding to expand child-care and early-education options for working families. We’re also addressing future workforce needs by supporting robotics and STEM activities in schools, which help create a talent pipeline to benefit Entergy and other industries across our region.
Entergy and our employees made a positive difference in classrooms last year. Support included funding for technology upgrades, sponsorship of anti-bullying campaigns in elementary schools, and volunteer tutoring to enhance literacy and math skills.
Affordable and Clean Energy
We believe all customers should have access to affordable and clean energy, regardless of their financial situation.
Entergy’s The Power to Care program provides emergency bill-payment assistance to low-income elderly and disabled customers. In 2019, Entergy customers, employees, and shareholders raised more than $2.6 million through The Power to Care to help more than 12,200 qualifying customers in crisis keep their power flowing across Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas. In recognition of the 20th anniversary of our low-income program, Entergy shareholders doubled their match to customer contributions from $500,000 annually to $1 million annually. Employee contributions are matched dollar-for-dollar with no cap. One hundred percent of donations go directly to support the program.
Our support also makes a difference for customers who rely on the federal Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program. Entergy employees and community partners participate annually in LIHEAP advocacy efforts on Capitol Hill to ensure that funds are allocated to help customers manage heating and cooling costs when they experience unexpected hardships. Each year more than 200,000 customer bills are paid through LIHEAP, but the need always exceeds available funds. Efforts in recent years have resulted in funding increases that have allowed Entergy to serve almost 4,500 additional households annually.
With partners SBP USA and Toyota Corporation, Entergy helped to create Louisiana’s first net zero multi-family housing unit. The St. Peter Residential apartments located in the historic Tremé neighborhood of New Orleans provide affordable housing for veteran families. The community is powered by solar panels funded by the Entergy Charitable Foundation with battery storage provided by upcycled hybrid batteries donated by Toyota.
Decent Work and Economic Growth
Entergy is working to create a competitive advantage for our communities by partnering with them to build a skilled and capable workforce. Entergy’s five-year, $5 million workforce development initiative is designed to attract new industry and jobs to our communities through investments in workforce readiness programs. Since the initiative’s launch in 2015, 87 companies have located within Entergy’s footprint and nearly 10,000 permanent news jobs have been created.
In 2019, Entergy teamed up with community partners to launch high school career academies in Little Rock, Arkansas, and Port Gibson and Vicksburg, Mississippi. The purpose of the academies is to ensure that students graduate with skills and certifications that will put them on the path to careers in energy.
To address Entergy’s and the region’s workforce needs, we’re providing resources to train line workers and finding creative solutions to prepare future energy industry professionals. Last year, the Louisiana Community and Technical College System Foundation recognized Entergy Louisiana with the Statewide Impact Award for its support of line worker certification programs at Delgado Community College and Fletcher Technical Community College. Through Entergy Arkansas’ involvement in the Arkansas Energy Workforce Consortium, a pole yard was constructed in Little Rock to support a new certified line worker training program.
We’re also committed to building and retaining a workforce that reflects the rich diversity of the communities we serve. Entergy has contributed more than $7.4 million to historically black colleges and universities in our service area to fund facility and curriculum improvements, technology upgrades, scholarships, and internship and mentoring programs. Entergy is a long-time supporter of the United Negro College Fund, and through our Tribal Scholarship Program, Entergy partners with the American Indian College Fund to provide annual scholarship support to thousands of American Indian and Alaska Native students.
Entergy is known for taking bold action to protect the environment and mitigate the impact of climate change in our communities. We accomplish our environmental goals primarily through programs that support coastal and wetlands restoration, reforestation, conservation, and storm water management.
In 2019, Entergy’s philanthropic investments included initiatives to help neighbors mitigate street flooding through rain barrels and restoration of urban forests as well as educational initiatives to engage students and citizen scientists to take action on climate change.
Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions
Strong and healthy communities are the result of engaged and active citizens. Our employees help create sustainable value for our communities through year-round volunteerism and charitable giving. Entergy supports and rewards employees whose volunteer service helps create communities that are healthy, vibrant, prosperous, and inclusive.
In celebration of National Volunteer Month in April, Entergy employees participated in more than 40 planned events across our four-state utility service area, logging 4,280 service hours during the month. This translated into a $109,000 economic impact to the communities we serve. Throughout 2019, from volunteering in food pantries in Louisiana, serving the homeless in Mississippi, and caring for sheltered animals in Texas, to participating in crafts with hospitalized children in Arkansas, and reducing the environmental impact of Carnival season in New Orleans, Entergy employees powered life throughout communities where they live and work.
Our financial and volunteer support last year also helped customers and communities recover from natural disasters. In Texas, Entergy donated $350,000 to help rebuild communities damaged by Tropical Storm Imelda. When historic flooding impacted dozens of communities along the Arkansas River, we donated $50,000 to the American Red Cross to provide safe shelter, food, relief supplies, health services, and comfort to people in need.
When Entergy’s legal department hired its first-ever pro bono counsel in mid-2018, the company was the only U.S. corporation with an attorney solely dedicated to this role. Even now, only one other company has added a role for this purpose.
Entergy’s pro bono counsel directs the company’s legal community-focused initiatives, developing short-term and long-term strategies and implementing the program in collaboration with other departments in the company, including corporate social responsibility, the sustainability and environmental policy group, public affairs, and communications. With this innovative approach, Entergy is leading the industry in investing not just financial resources but also skills-based volunteering to build sustainable communities through social impact.
In 2019, the legal department provided almost 3,800 hours of pro bono legal assistance to low-income community members. These hours represent a community contribution valued at nearly $930,000. Helping hundreds of people, our employees staffed legal clinics, provided support to community organizations, and handled individuals’ needs including adoptions, divorces, veterans’ issues, and more. In 2019, our lawyers helped conduct policy-based research, addressing systemic issues related to poverty and workforce development, such as driver’s license suspensions for failure to pay income tax and other non-moving violations. The department also launched, for the first time, a signature project called “Power to Serve.” In collaboration with Entergy’s corporate social responsibility organization, legal department employees have (1) trained Entergy employees to be effective nonprofit board members, (2) paired employees with strategic partner nonprofits that need board members, and (3) given pro bono legal advice to company-funded nonprofit partners, helping with employment issues, litigation, and governance.
|Education and workforce development||$6.7|
|Poverty solutions / social services||$4.0|
|Community improvement and enrichment||$3.2|
|Arts and culture||$1.1|
|Disaster relief and recovery||$0.3|