Gas Company Giving: Four Ways This Corporate Funder Supports SoCal Nonprofits

A homeless woman in Southern California

A homeless woman in Southern California

Oil and gas remains a big industry in Southern California and it's good for nonprofits to be attuned to local grantmaking by these firms. Recently we highlighted how the ARCO brand of gas stations, owned by the refiner and marketer of petroleum products Tesoro, partnered with Goodwill Southern California with a focus on job training and placement services.

But there’s another national gas company that’s also supporting economic development in the region, as well as three other pressing local issues: SoCalGas. 

SoCalGas’s service territory covers about 20,000 square miles in Central and Southern California, from Visalia to the Mexican border. It’s a regulated subsidiary of Sempra Energy, which is a Fortune 500 energy company based in San Diego.

Related: Here’s a Petroleum Company That’s Giving Back in Southern California

Like many corporate funders, career advancement and financial empowerment are at the heart of local giving. SoCalGas’ economic grantmaking efforts are centered on community-based organizations that help the underserved and spur development. It’s a big partner of the United Way of Greater Los Angeles, awarding one-time $1000 grants to help needy customers pay their gas bills. United Way Partnerships have also extended to curbing homelessness in Los Angeles with the annual HomeWalk. Awareness walks are always a big part of the company’s community support. The company has also supported efforts to recognize and motivate Latinas in the workforce.

Education and workforce development are lumped together into the same SoCalGas grantmaking priority, and the company’s efforts are focused on preparing students for higher education and STEM education in particular. The company awards scholarships to high school seniors and community college graduates and regularly partners with nonprofits on local STEM activities. Past STEM-related support has included $50,000 to the East Los Angeles Community Union, $10,000 to Orangewood Foundation’s Samueli Academy, and grants to the Los Angeles Education Partnership and the Los Angeles Council of Black Professional Engineers.

Another staple of gas company giving is typically environmental conservation, and SoCalGas is no exception in this regard. Last year, it sponsored an environmental champions initiative that awarded 37 grants totaling $490,000 for issues like hands-on environmental education and waterway restoration. Through its Protecting & Preserving the Environment initiative, the company also provided funding for Mojave Education Environmental Consortium’s annual essay contest and sponsored the William C. Velasquez Institute’s Air Quality Education and Outreach Plan

A final funding focus that’ll we’ll touch on here today is SoCalGas’ support for veterans. Organizations that have seen this form of the company’s support include New Directions for Veterans, Soldiers’ Angels, and the Mayor’s Office of Veteran's Affairs. It’s been particularly interested in helping veterans find jobs in the energy sector and obtain access to services as they transition back from deployment.

But unfortunately for Southern California grantseekers, SoCalGas does not appear to accept unsolicited requests for funding, nor does it outline a clear way to get in touch with grant-related inquiries. General correspondence can be directed to Southern California Gas Company, P.O. Box 3150, San Dimas, CA 91773.