In today’s world, financial and volunteer support for nonprofit organizations tends to ebb and flow. With corporate mergers, relocations and shifting charitable priorities coupled with an unpredictable economy, nonprofits often feel they are on a roller coaster ride with an uncertain end.
This means that the loyal support of a steadfast partner is a tremendous asset. For this reason, BestPrep recognized Xcel Energy, a 30 year partner, with the 2016 Humanitarian Award at the annual Birdies for BestPrep gala on January 30 at Radisson Blu Mall of America.
In the early years, Xcel Energy’s startup funding played a critical role in BestPrep’s success. Xcel Energy volunteers spoke to classes about topics like the importance of conservation and emerging careers in energy. Xcel Energy hosted workshops for BestPrep staff, providing a foundation for the staff structure in place today.
Xcel Energy’s senior management has also been consistently involved. CEO Jim Howard (retired) was keynote speaker at the 2001 BestPrep Annual Luncheon. CEO Dick Kelly (retired) participated in an onstage panel at the 2009 BestPrep Educational Forum featuring New York Times columnist and Pulitzer Prize winning author Thomas Friedman. Mark Fritsch was BestPrep board chair from 2003-05. David Harkness, VP and CIO, currently serves as board vice chair and will become chair in 2017.
Xcel Energy encourages employee volunteerism, including weeklong Resident Business Leaders at the Minnesota Business Venture summer camp. Employees are also email mentors for Minnesota’s high school students. Students and mentors exchange weekly emails that help students better understand the impact education has on their futures. Students report feeling more confident about career skills, writing professional emails and understanding the career opportunities available.
Xcel Energy has a service area covering hundreds of Minnesota cities and is an integral partner of those communities. They believe they have a responsibility to make a positive impact – as a good neighbor, community advocate and environmental steward. Xcel Energy’s community impact is far-reaching – from charitable giving to economic development and support for energy assistance.
In partnership with BestPrep, Xcel Energy has impacted thousands of Minnesota’s youth. We applaud the efforts of Xcel Energy, a most deserving recipient of the 2016 BestPrep Humanitarian Award. Chris Clark, President of Northern States Power at Xcel Energy, attended the event with over 50 employees to accept the award on behalf of the company.