By Tracy Correa
PG&E and several of its employees are making a difference providing professional talent – in addition to funding — to Bay Area nonprofits focused on the environment, global economic opportunity and education.
The Full Circle Fund is a unique organization that brings together corporate sponsors and working professionals to help nonprofits. PG&E provided $20,000 in direct grants this year to the organization. In addition, the company has sponsored or partially sponsored three employee members who are volunteering their unique skills to Full Circle grant recipients.
PG&E’s Sienna Rogers, chief of staff to the utility’s senior vice president of energy procurement, recently assumed a leadership role with Full Circle as co-chair of the group’s environmental circle. A member of Full Circle for four years with a passion for the environment, Rogers said the organization allows her to have a real and lasting impact.
“It’s my way to get involved in the community… And, it’s making the most of my particular skills,” said Rogers. Last year, she led Full Circle’s project with the Business Council on Climate Change advancing the availability of electric vehicle charging stations in San Francisco.
Full Circle’s focus
Full Circle was launched in 2001 in San Francisco and works like this: People with a broad range of skills join. These members work through circles (education, global economic opportunity or the environment) giving time, money and expertise – from marketing to organizational development — to Bay Area nonprofits who otherwise couldn’t afford to hire these experts.
The infographic below from the Full Circle Fund explains the unique nature of the organization:
In addition to Rogers, PG&E’s Hannah Bascom and Elissa Pollock are among Full Circle’s 115 members. Bascom is manager of strategy and planning in customer operations at PG&E and is co-leading a Full Circle educational project to help Reach Institute for School Leadership. Pollock is a manager in PG&E’s solutions marketing department and is lending her marketing and fundraising skills to National Geographic Photo Camp: Restore the Delta, a partnership with America’s Cup.
Not all Full Circle members are from large companies; member volunteers also work for government, nonprofit entities and startup businesses.
Kiki Mills Johnston, Full Circle’s CEO, said PG&E and its employees are a major asset to the organization and the nonprofits it serves. “This is a tremendous year of support from PG&E,” she said.
In June, Ezra Garrett, PG&E’s vice president of community relations and the utility’s chief sustainability officer, made a surprise announcement at a Full Circle event: PG&E’s foundation was making a $10,000 contribution each to Roots of Success and Education for Change. Berkeley-based Roots of Success is a job readiness curriculum that prepares people in under-served communities for jobs in the green economy. Oakland-based Education for Change is a charter school management organization.
Garrett commended PG&E employees for their involvement. “We’re energized by people who translate their passion and commitment into tangible, measurable results in the communities we live and work,” he said.
Garrett called Full Circle Fund, which the utility has supported for several years, a valuable resource to PG&E’s foundation because it is “helping to illuminate innovative opportunities that might otherwise not be on our radar.”
Chad Flores, deputy director of Roots of Success, said Full Circle and PG&E have provided not just funding, but skills that the nonprofit – started by a college professor and operating out of her home — could never afford.
“Full Circle has been has been able to give us a committed group of their environmental circle members, which includes Sienna [Rogers], for six months,” said Flores. Among the tasks they hope to tackle are building a brochure for the organization, developing web site content and expanding the reach of Roots of Success.
Rogers, Bascom and Pollock said that because Full Circle is more than just a grant-funding vehicle, it allows them to have a greater impact.
It’s difficult to put a price tag on the professional help the nonprofits receive from Full Circle members, said Bascom: “I think if you were to quantify the time that is invested, it would just be tremendous – nonprofits could never afford these kinds of resources.”
E-mail Tracy Correa at Tracy.Correa@pge.com