PG&E Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability Report 2018

Northern California Wildfires

Community Investments

We approach everything we do from the standpoint that we are better together. PG&E is committed to partnering with and investing in communities across our service area to enrich educational opportunities, preserve our environment, promote emergency preparedness and support economic vitality.

Our Approach

2017 Charitable Contribution Focus Areas
Category Percentage
Education 30%
Economic and Community Vitality 32%
Environment 18%
Emergency Preparedness 20%

Reflecting our local approach, the Better Together Local Giving Program provides grants every year to 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations, schools and local governments across Northern and Central California. These investments can come from PG&E or from The PG&E Corporation Foundation, and generally focus on four areas: education and workforce development, economic and community vitality, the environment and emergency preparedness.

In 2017, the program provided more than 1,700 grants in these areas, with a special focus on supporting underserved communities. The contributions also prioritize partnerships that provide volunteer opportunities for PG&E employees and often make in-kind contributions to organizations, such as donations of vehicles and surplus equipment and tools.

PG&E’s community investment program is funded entirely by shareholders and has no impact on our customers’ electric or natural gas rates.

PG&E also offers several ways for employees to get involved in the community investment process on a local level:

  • Our Community Service Award Program allows employees who volunteer for more than 25 hours to send $350 to a qualifying nonprofit organization of their choice.
  • We give each of PG&E’s Employee Resource Groups (ERGs)—representing different aspects of PG&E’s diverse workforce—the opportunity to direct $10,000 to community groups and activities.
  • Through the Matching Gifts Program, eligible gifts from employees, retirees or current members of the PG&E Corporation Board of Directors are matched, dollar-for-dollar, up to $1,000 per calendar year per individual. In 2017, the program matched approximately $3.5 million in gifts.

2017 Milestones

The Better Together Giving Program makes a difference in the lives of our customers and in the communities we serve.


Today’s students are our future engineers and scientists. To help them succeed, PG&E and the PG&E Corporation Foundation continue to support California students with scholarships and grants in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). Highlights from 2017 include:

  • Better Together STEM Scholarships. Twenty students received awards of $5,000 each (renewable for up to four years), focused on majors in engineering, computer science and information systems, cybersecurity, and environmental sciences. Since 2012, the Better Together STEM Scholarship Program has awarded more than $4 million to accomplished students based on a combined demonstration of community leadership, personal triumph, financial need and academic achievement.
  • Developing the workforce of tomorrow. One-hundred and fifty high school students were given the opportunity to intern with PG&E through the Better Together STEM High School Internship Program. During their four-week internship, participants were certified in safety, learned about energy efficiency, and received hands-on business experience in many areas, including “soft skills” such as resume development and job interviewing. Classes were held at various PG&E, community college and high school locations.
  • Solar Suitcase Program. For the 2017-2018 school year, 19 schools in Northern and Central California participated in the second year of the PG&E Solar Suitcase Program, part of our Better Together Classroom Grants, in partnership with We Care Solar. Under the program, each school is awarded $8,000 worth of equipment and training to help students build portable solar units that can bring clean, renewable energy to communities in Ecuador.
  • Better Together Energy Academy. Created in partnership with the California Department of Education, this one-of-a-kind program offers in-school STEM-focused training for students in grades 10 through 12 to help them prepare for careers in our industry. Energy Academy schools receive grants, targeted professional development workshops, and assistance from industry and government experts, and 11th graders in the program receive access to a paid summer internship opportunity at PG&E.

Economic and Community Vitality

PG&E invests in job creation and career training opportunities, supports local businesses and offers energy assistance to low-income families to improve the quality of life in the communities we serve. PG&E’s summer employment programs are focused on investing in opportunities for youth in California and continue to evolve with greater emphasis on closing the opportunity gap for diverse and underrepresented minorities in the STEM fields. Our efforts include career awareness programming, mentorship, scholarships and internships, which ultimately bridge into job training. Highlights from our efforts in 2017 include:

  • Summer Internships Program. We committed more than $1 million to programs supporting jobs for youth, including partnerships with local Boys & Girls Club chapters in Fresno, Sacramento and Bakersfield, Genesys Works and others. Through these programs, PG&E provided more than 300 youth with paid summer internships, and more than 1,000 youth with workforce readiness training. The program, now in its sixth year, has a major impact on youth and is made possible through partnerships with cities and local businesses.
  • REACH. In partnership with the Salvation Army, the PG&E REACH (Relief for Energy Assistance through Community Help) program has provided critical financial assistance for gas and electric services to thousands of families for more than 30 years. Support for the program comes primarily from The PG&E Corporation Foundation, but PG&E employees and customers also contribute donations. PG&E supports 100 percent of all administration costs, ensuring that 100 percent of the charitable donations reach even more of those in need.

Emergency Preparedness

Preparing for natural disasters helps PG&E respond to emergencies efficiently and effectively when our customers need us most. We partner with first responders and community leaders to promote community readiness in the event of an emergency, such as a wildfire, storm or earthquake. Our efforts included:

  • Community preparedness support. PG&E has awarded local grants to California Fire Safe Councils, providing nearly $2 million in project funding to reduce the threat of wildfires, and participated in the Governor’s Task Force on Tree Mortality. We also provided local support to cities and school districts, disaster response agencies, police and fire departments, and neighborhood watch organizations in high-fire-risk counties to help communities protect themselves from wildfires.
  • Emergency preparedness kits. PG&E led an assembly of emergency preparedness and safety tips for 4th and 5th graders from Ophir Elementary School in an event for National Preparedness Month, an effort by FEMA and other government agencies to encourage residents to plan for disasters. Each child received an emergency backpack with enough supplies for three days for one person. The bags were filled with a first aid kit, water packets, food rations and a glow stick, among other items.
  • Home Fire Safety Campaign. PG&E has partnered with the American Red Cross on a mission to transform disaster readiness in our communities. The Home Fire Preparedness Campaign aims to motivate people to take three simple steps: check or install smoke alarms, make a family escape plan and regularly practice the escape plan at home. The program’s activities include door-to-door installation of smoke alarms and completion of a home-safety checklist and engagement of youth in classrooms and after school.


PG&E is committed to protecting the environment, and this commitment drives our programs that promote renewable energy, foster energy efficiency and protect our parks, recreation areas and natural habitats.

  • Better Together Resilient Communities grant program. Through the program, PG&E will invest $2 million over five years—or $400,000 per year—in shareholder-funded grants to support local initiatives to build greater climate resilience throughout Northern and Central California. The grant results will be made publicly available to help communities better understand, plan for and respond to climate change risks and encourage partnerships.

    PG&E awarded $100,000 each to the University of California, Merced, the Karuk Tribe of California, Ag Innovations, and Sierra Institute for projects designed to help communities prevent and prepare for increasing wildfire risk through building healthy and resilient forests and watersheds.

Measuring Progress

Total Charitable Contributions
Year Charitable Contributions (millions)
2009 $19.2
2010 $19.3
2011 $23.2
2012 $23.2
2013 $23.2
2014 $23.2
2015 $25.0
2016 $28.0
2017 $28.0

In 2017, PG&E supported $28 million in contributions to charitable organizations. Those amounts are equivalent to 1.21 percent of PG&E’s pretax earnings from operations from the prior year.

These community investments are focused on providing assistance to underserved communities, such as low-income individuals, communities of color, the long-term unemployed, women and girls, veterans, senior citizens, people with disabilities and members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) community.

In 2017, nonprofit organizations self-identified that approximately 84 percent of PG&E’s community investments were directed toward communities of color and approximately 12 percent were directed to veterans, senior citizens, people who are homeless, people with disabilities and members of the LGBTQ community.

Looking Ahead

In 2018, PG&E will continue its charitable giving commitments in support of underserved communities, with a particular focus on supporting today’s students in California—the future engineers and scientists that will comprise our energy workforce. This will include developing and sustaining partnerships with local community colleges and non-profit organizations with programs dedicated to science, technology, engineering and math.

We will also continue to work on building a sustainable and scalable local and diverse workforce pipeline that starts with career awareness at the K-12 level in the engineering and trades disciplines. In addition, we will continue to invest in job creation and career training opportunities and offer energy assistance to low-income families to improve the quality of life in the communities we serve.

Finally, we will continue to partner with first responders and community leaders to promote community readiness in the event of emergencies such as earthquakes, wildfires, storms or other climate change-related natural events.