This Electric Company Is Really Targeting Early Education in Alabama

Credit: University of the Fraser Valley via Flickr (CC BY-ND 2.0)In the southern two-thirds of Alabama, the electricity supply company, Alabama Power, provides services to over 1.4 million homes and businesses. Like many utility companies around the county, Alabama Power has a philanthropic arm that gives back to local charity groups. But this power company stands out for its support of early childhood education in local Alabama communities in particular.

The Alabama Power Foundation recently made headlines for awarding a $10,000 grant to a pre-K program at Rock Mill Junior High School in its recent grant cycle. This was one of 21 groups across the state that received $10,000 grants as part of the funder’s Brighter Minds initiative. The purpose of these grants is to equip educators with the tools they need to furnish their classrooms with learning materials and equipment.

"Early-childhood education lays the foundation for lifelong learning and success," said Myla Calhoun, Alabama Power vice president of Charitable Giving. "Children who have access to high-quality pre-K programs are better prepared for elementary school, high school and, ultimately, the workforce. This is an investment in our state's future that we can't afford to overlook."

Within the realm of early education, Alabama Power looks to provide learning materials for pre-K classrooms and also summer learning programs for low-income students this age. The power company has been working alongside the Alabama Department of Children’s Affairs, which administers the First Class Pre-K Program in all Alabama counties and also funds competitive grants in classrooms. For the 2015-2016 school year, Rock Mills also received an $88,000 state grant as part of the First Class Pre-K Grant Awards.

Alabama Power’s Brighter Minds initiative also funds programs that encourage middle school girls to consider engineering careers, STEM teacher development, vocational e-textbook implementation, environmental conservation curriculum, and hands-on outdoor classrooms. It also supports athletics at low-income high schools. Any questions about this initiative can be directed to Kim Redding at 205-257-4245 or kfthrift@southernco.com.

However, Brighter Minds is just one of the grantmaking initiatives at the Alabama Power Foundation, as there's quite a bit to wrap your head around with this funder. The Alabama Power Foundation was established in 1989 and given over $150 million in grants across the state since that time. Aside from early childhood education, this corporate funder’s local education pursuits extend to STEM education, conservation education, and workforce development. And aside from education entirely, it has been known to give broadly in the areas of arts & culture, health and human services, community life, and the environment.

The next Alabama Power grant application deadline is August 12, for which applications will be considered at the foundation’s September 19 or September meeting, depending on whether you’re asking for more or less than $50,000. You can expect to hear back from this funder within 10 business days of the meeting as to the status of your grant request. Whether you’re working in the field of early education or something entirely different, check out the Foundation Grant page to learn more about how to get involved with this locally focused funder in the Southeast.