Targeting Hispanics

By Todd Cohen

Progress Energy is trying to reach more Hispanics through its grantmaking, hiring and customer-service work.

The company, which serves 2.8 million customers in the Carolinas and Florida and last year contributed $13 million through its foundation, corporate and local giving programs, has begun a series of information sessions for nonprofit executives to talk about its plans to diversify its workforce and grantmaking.

“We need to do a better job of becoming more accessible to Spanish-led nonprofits,” says Merrillee Jacobson, program officer for the Progress Energy Foundation. “We want to put a very human face on a very large company.”

The company wants Hispanic nonprofits to ask for support when their programs mesh with its charitable focus on education, the environment and economic justice, Jacobson says.

Progress Energy also wants nonprofits to help it recruit more Hispanic employees, she says, so “our workforce looks more like our customer base.”

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