South Jersey Industries has received recognition for its continual and far-reaching efforts to provide volunteer time, make meaningful connections and share resources with initiatives and organizations that improve the health and well-being of communities and individuals throughout New Jersey.
The Folsom-based utility is a committed community partner and energy provider to more than 725,000 homes and businesses and said it is passionate about providing critical support to the communities it serves.
The following recognitions were recently awarded to SJI:
2023 NJBIA award for excellence in community service
The New Jersey Business & Industry Association presented SJI with its annual Community Service Award for outstanding service in the public interest. In October, SJI was recognized for demonstrating committed leadership in finding solutions, which go beyond corporate donations, to pressing social and economic challenges in the state and the communities it serves.
SJI serves the community through volunteering, mentoring, providing educational opportunities for students from elementary school through college, equipping first responders and youth recreation programs, supporting minority- and veteran-owned businesses through its supplier diversity program and more.
Dedicating resources to help build communities
- AI Bootcamp: Since 2021, SJI’s utilities, South Jersey Gas and Elizabethtown Gas, have partnered with the Mark Cuban Foundation to host Artificial Intelligence Bootcamps at its Atlantic City and Union headquarters. The AI Bootcamp is a no-cost program that enables high school students to increase AI understanding through four half-day sessions. Each session includes a guest speaker, Q&A discussion, interactive machine learning, chatbot lessons and a lab exercise facilitated by SJI’s staff. So far, South Jersey Gas and Elizabethtown Gas have delivered the program to more than 70 students. The program recently kicked off for its third year in a row.
- First Responders and Game On Grants: Each year, the South Jersey Gas and Elizabethtown Gas Game On grant program provide $1,000 grants to 20 local, community-centered athletic programs, leagues, clubs, associations and recreational organizations for children. Since the program’s inception, SJI has contributed $195,000 toward community-centered children’s athletic programs. South Jersey Gas and Elizabethtown Gas also lead an annual First Responders Grant program, which provides critical support for operations conducted by paid or volunteer fire, emergency medical services, and police departments serving at least one of the municipalities in the utilities’ service areas.
- School Programs: SJI partners with local schools to offer career opportunities and advice, as well as STEM, safety and energy-efficiency education. SJI supports scholarship programs and student events at several New Jersey universities and community colleges and has also developed several early-career development programs for students interested in gaining hands-on experience in energy utilities. It also participates in New Jersey Careers in Utilities Week, Stockton University’s “Gear Up” career program, the Junior Achievement Academy of New Jersey, Sustainable Jersey and the EmPowered Schools program, which helps families learn to conserve energy and protect the environment.
- Supplier Diversity: SJI’s Supplier Diversity Program helps SJI support diverse businesses in the communities it serves and provides them with opportunities to grow as its organization grows. SJI’s sourcing process strives to ensure equal and fair participation of suppliers in a competitive procurement process. Each year, SJI allocates tens of millions of dollars to purchase supplies and services from women-, minority- and veteran-owned businesses throughout New Jersey.
Employee resource groups: Giving and volunteering
Many of SJI’s community support and service efforts are spearheaded by various employee resource groups within the organization, creating a grass-roots culture of community outreach. Some of their recent activities include:
- In May 2023, the South Jersey Chapter of the American Association of Blacks in Energy, an employee resource group at SJI, awarded $39,000 in scholarships to high school seniors and current undergraduates passionate about science, technology, engineering, math or related fields.
- Each year, SJI’s Veterans Engagement Team partners with the American Red Cross’ Service to Armed Forces Program to donate food to the Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst.
- The SJI Women’s Leadership Initiative group donates time and effort to support local families, including coat and personal item collections for homeless shelters and organizations that serve survivors of domestic violence.
- The SJI Green Team, a group dedicated to environmental stewardship, donated more than 100 trees this year and regularly volunteers with CROPS (Communities Revolutionizing Open Public Spaces), the Nature Conservancy of New Jersey and Stockton University.