By David Kligman
SAN FRANCISCO — It was rainy and windy in San Francisco today (April 4), but that didn’t stop PG&E CEO Tony Earley and dozens of employees from kicking off the utility’s first Month of Service.
At PG&E, volunteers have long supported Earth Day with cleanups throughout the Northern and Central California. This year, the utility has organized a Month of Service — more than 100 community service projects in April. Projects include everything from installing solar panels in Chico to serving meals to the homeless in Fresno.
Sara Feldman, vice president of programs for the California State Parks Foundation, said her organization depends on the goodwill of PG&E, which has partnered with her organization for the past 11 years.
“This is kind of a new idea, this Month of Service,” Feldman told Currents. “We’re really excited to be participating. Having it here at Candlestick where PG&E has volunteered every year that we’ve had our Earth Day program is a really apropos place.”
Over several hours, the employee volunteers worked side by side to beautify a state park area near Candlestick Park. After signing up for tasks and listening to a safety message, they got to work.
Under the guidance of rangers, they put in new plants and pulled non-native vegetation. They painted over graffiti. And they made improvements to outdoor exercise equipment and picnic areas.
It was the second year Earley has participated in the cleanup at Candlestick Point State Recreation Area. The site is also the home to a community garden vandalized after PG&E’s Earth Day event last year. The utility returned to re-seed plants and pay for a new fence to secure the garden.
“It’s important to have green spaces in urban areas,” said Earley, whose wife Sarah joined in the volunteering.
Earley, who is also chairman and president of the PG&E Corporation, said the Month of Service shows customers the range of volunteer projects and the impact of PG&E and its employees on the communities that it serves.
“One of the things that impressed me when I got to PG&E was how our employees really understand the notion that we are part of the community,” he said. “Unless our communities are successful, we can’t be successful.”
Employee volunteer Kimberly Fletcher, an administrative assistant at PG&E’s headquarters, said she was thrilled to learn that she would be working alongside her company’s CEO.
“It’s a super treat, I tell you,” Fletcher said. “He and his wife came out to work with us. And they’re working with us. They’re actually getting their gloves dirty with us. It means a lot. It does.”
PG&E’s support also is financial. The utility presented a $277,000 check to the California State Parks Foundation. Earley pointed to the record employee contribution of $6 million to last year’s Campaign for the Community and said PG&E contributes about $23 million a year to community organizations.
Be sure to visit Currents throughout April for more coverage of PG&E’s Month of Service.
Email David Kligman at David.Kligman@pge.com