PSEG awards $1.5M to 14 area nonprofits as part of its Community Gift program

HomeFront is a Ewing-based nonprofit whose mission is to end homelessness in central New Jersey. It’s busy all year round, but it is especially busy during the holidays, when so many need a hand.

On Monday, HomeFront got the news that Public Service Enterprise Group and the PSEG Foundation was offering it support. HomeFront was one of the 14 organizations in New Jersey and Long Island to receive a significant donation as part of PSEG’s Community Gift program.

Individual gifts were not announced, but, in total, PSEG and the PSEG Foundation gave out $1.5 million.

HomeFront Executive Director Connie Mercer said she was beyond grateful when she heard the news.

“The holidays are typically one of the busiest times of the year for organizations like HomeFront, and the need is even greater this year due to the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic,” she said. “This surprise donation from PSEG and the PSEG Foundation comes at the time when our need is greatest.

“We’re so grateful for the support that companies like PSEG provide — through funding and volunteerism — all year round. We couldn’t do this without them.”

Rick Thigpen, PSEG’s senior vice president for corporate citizenship and chairman of the PSEG Foundation, said its way for the company and the foundation to truly give back.

Thigpen said the nonprofit organizations receiving these surprise year-end contributions address needs that have been exacerbated by the pandemic, such as food insecurity, unemployment, mental and physical health, and poverty. The gifts also will provide support for ongoing issues such as domestic violence, substance abuse and child neglect.

“It is our privilege to be able to support community organizations that are providing much-needed assistance to countless families and communities who are facing enormous hardship because of the coronavirus pandemic,” he said. “In the spirit of the season, we’re proud to make these Community Gifts on behalf of our employees across New Jersey and New York — and support these organizations that are helping to make things better for people throughout the many diverse communities we serve.”

Eleven of the 14 organizations receiving a donation are based in New Jersey. Here’s a look at the complete list:

  • Cathedral Soup Kitchen (Camden);
  • Community FoodBank of New Jersey (Hillside);
  • Eva’s Village (Paterson);
  • Food Bank of South Jersey (Pennsauken);
  • HomeFront (Ewing);
  • Imagine, A Center for Coping with Loss (Mountainside);
  • Mental Health Association of Morris and Essex (Montclair);
  • Newark Working Kitchens (Newark);
  • Oasis – A Haven for Women and Children (Paterson);
  • Trenton Area Soup Kitchen (Trenton);
  • Youth Consultation Services Inc. (Hackensack).

Organizations receiving PSEG Community Gift donations on Long Island include:

  • In Association for Mental Health & Wellness, Ronkonkoma;
  • Family Service League, Huntington;
  • Island Harvest, Bethpage.

With the donations Monday, PSEG and the PSEG Foundation have now committed $5 million in foundation and corporate giving initiatives since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

In addition to today’s $1.5 million contribution to community organizations, the company and its foundation previously announced a $2.5 million commitment to pandemic relief organizations in April and the $1 million Powering Equity and Social Justice Initiative in June.

Mary Robinson, executive director and founder of Mountainside- and Newark-based Imagine, A Center for Coping with Loss, said the organization was grateful for PSEG’s support and grant.

“The Imagine staff and our amazing volunteers are passionate about supporting families coping with traumatic loss and life-altering situations,” she said. “There is a pandemic of grief right now and the need for support is so great.”

Calvin Ledford Jr., president of the PSEG Foundation and senior director for corporate social responsibility, said the PSEG Community Gifts are especially meaningful for PSEG’s 13,000 employees.

“The holiday season is traditionally a time for fellowship — not only with our families, but also a time to celebrate with neighbors, coworkers and friends,” he said. “Sadly, many traditions have suffered in 2020 —as have the communities we operate in — due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We are honored to undertake this act of citizenship with support to these charitable organizations so that we can inspire hope for a brighter 2021.”