Home News-Free AEP Foundation provides area organizations with grants

AEP Foundation provides area organizations with grants


Shreveport, La. – The AEP Foundation recently awarded $325,000 in grants to four nonprofit organizations across Southwestern Electric Power Co.’s (SWEPCO) North Louisiana service area.

Grant dollars will aid organizations in expanding services and addressing community needs.

The American Electric Power Foundation is funded by American Electric Power (Nasdaq: AEP) and its utility operating units, including SWEPCO.

The organizations receiving grants are:

· Volunteers of America North Louisiana, $150,000, to support its Communities In Schools expansion

· Food Bank of Northwest Louisiana, $75,000, to support food distribution and mobile pantries

· Providence House, $50,000, to fill the educational gap for disadvantaged children created by COVID-19

· Community Renewal, $50,000, for virtual learning support at its Friendship Houses

“We are pleased to present these agencies with additional funding on behalf of the AEP Foundation, as they provide much-needed services to residents during this extraordinary time,” said Michael Corbin, SWEPCO External Affairs manager. “Our partner agencies are aware of specific needs in our community and are diligently providing relief for those experiencing difficult situations.”

Chris Gabriel, executive vice president of Volunteers of America North Louisiana, said Volunteers of America North Louisiana will use the $150,000 in funding services for thousands of Caddo Parish students though a licensed partnership with Communities in Schools, the nation’s largest and most effective dropout prevention organization.

“The impact of COVID-19 has increased the frequency and severity of the needs of our students,” said Gabriel. “This generous support from the AEP Foundation has been a critical piece of what we needed to expand services to serve two additional schools in The Transformation Zone. Volunteers of America North Louisiana, along with our students and their families, are forever grateful for this support.”

Children and their parents will also benefit from funds awarded to the Food Bank of Northwest Louisiana. Executive Director Martha Marak said the Food Bank will use the $75,000 awarded by the Foundation to help fund its Backpack and Mobile Distribution programs.

Between March and July alone, 5.2 million pounds of food was distributed by the Food Bank of Northwest Louisiana, including 57,355 meals for children and over 15,000 emergency food boxes.

“Funding support has absolutely made the difference in having food available or not – and getting the food to the people that need it, including children and senior citizens who depend on it,” said Marak. “Our work in the community would not be possible if it weren’t for donations like this from the AEP Foundation.”

Seventy-six mobile distribution sites are available for those in need in Benton, Blanchard, Bossier Parish Community College, Cotton Valley, Coushatta, Greenwood, Haynesville, Homer, Ida, Keithville, Mansfield, Mooringsport, Plain Dealing, Ringgold, Sarepta, Shongaloo, Shreveport, Springhill and Vivian.

For Shreveport’s Providence House, the $50,000 in grant support will be distributed over two years to fill the educational gap for disadvantaged children created by COVID-19. The nonprofit plans to hire a new pre-school teacher and purchase computers, smart televisions and classroom manipulatives to ensure that every child is kindergarten ready.

“We are so grateful for Michael Corbin and the AEP Foundation for supporting the educational needs of homeless and disadvantaged children,” said Providence House Executive Director Verni Howard. “COVID-19 exposed the educational gaps that exist for economically disadvantaged children. These gaping holes will create long-term, systemic and detrimental outcomes for children that are already behind. The AEP Foundation has helped to fill those gaps.”

At Community Renewal, a nonprofit which prides itself in connecting neighbors and residents to restore the foundation of safe and caring communities, the $50,000 in funding will be used to aid operations at its 10 Friendship Houses in Caddo and Bossier parishes.

“Our 10 Friendship Houses focus on serving the needs of our community’s most underprivileged children, youth and adults,” said Community Renewal’s Director of Development Jimmy Graves. “The needs are greater now during the Covid-19 pandemic when so much of education has either gone remote or virtual. The Friendship Houses have become virtual learning centers, offering children and youth the supervision, resources and assistance needed to succeed.”

Community Renewal also works with adult residents who dropped out of school at the Friendship Houses. Through its adult education program, these individuals receive the tools needed to get back on track, earn a high-school equivalency diploma and enter the workforce as productive citizens.

The AEP Foundation focuses its support on education, from early childhood through higher education, and supporting those agencies that meet basic needs, such as emergency shelter, affordable housing and the elimination of hunger.

The AEP Foundation has provided nearly $3,948,667 million in emergency funds to support basic human needs – food, shelter and housing assistance – and other COVID-19 related emergencies across the AEP system.

The AEP Foundation is based in Columbus, Ohio.

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