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Charitable Giving

At Nicor Gas, we believe that part of our corporate responsibility is to give back to our communities, and our philanthropic focus is designed to make a meaningful impact in the communities we serve. 

Supporting Basic Needs

Our philosophy: Clean, safe, reliable and affordable energy is a basic need of our customers – and delivering that energy to our customers connects us to them a personal way. That connection drives our support of other basic needs of our customers – from providing bill payment assistance, to addressing food insecurity.

Nearly 11% of residents in the state of Illinois live in poverty. This number has grown significantly as a result of the economic impacts of the pandemic, and the need to support customers’ basic needs, like food, clothing, and shelter, is greater than ever.

Our goal: Provide basic needs for 250,000 families through the support of agencies addressing food, housing and clothing insecurity.

Our partners: Here are a few of our Supporting Basic Needs strategic partners. 

Housing Forward  |  Northern Illinois Food Bank  |  Operation Warm

Protecting the Environment

Our philosophy: We don’t just believe in the clean energy economy – we are the clean energy economy. This understanding drives our commitment to sustainability and the environment – from delivering renewable energy, to conserving nature that enriches the lives of our customers. Parks, gardens and nature preserves in the communities we serve provide critical opportunities for nature and wildlife to thrive, and for community wellness, education and recreation.

Our goal: Create, maintain and sustain 10,000 acres of open space in our service area, and help achieve equitable access to these cultural, educational and recreational places.

Our partners: Here are a few of our Protect the Environment partners.

Brookfield Zoo | Chicago Wilderness |  Morton Arboretum

Enabling Economic Opportunity

Our philosophy: We work every day to fuel a vibrant economy in Illinois. Our role in delivering the energy that enables our customers to live, work and play drives our commitment to enable economic opportunity – from creating jobs to investing in economic development. Education, job training and economic development are the building blocks to strengthen communities, our region and our state. When our customers have equitable access to education, job training and capital investment, they can build wealth, improve quality of life in communities, and contribute to a thriving economy.

Our goal: Infuse $5 million into communities to enable equitable economic opportunity through education, job training, and investment in entrepreneurship and economic development.

Our partners: Here are a few of our Enable Economic Opportunity strategic partners.

Chicago United  |  Junior Achievement of Chicago |  Quad County Urban League

Our Pillars of Giving

Outside of our three strategic objectives, Nicor Gas focuses its charitable giving on five pillars. Grants are most likely to be awarded to organizations that fall into one of the five focus areas noted below and whose programs benefit those within Nicor Gas’ service area.

Basic Human Needs and Energy Assistance

A healthy and stable community is a thriving community. We invest in United Way, energy assistance programs and nonprofit organizations with programs that provide individuals in our communities with the basic necessities as well as promote stability and wellness.

What We Fund

Our Basic Human Needs and Energy Assistance pillar is focused on services where there is a critical or acute need to solve problems immediately. Organizations funded under this pillar include those that provide food, shelter, clothing and disaster relief. We also provide general operating grants to organizations that help Nicor Gas customers access energy assistance programs.

We do not provide grants that support animal health or services, hospitals or medical clinics. We also do not provide direct energy grants to offset customer bills through our corporate giving. Instead, customers can find bill payment assistance through our Energy Assistance programs.

Sample Funded Grants

Bridge Communities

We provided a grant to Bridge Communities in support of their Transitional Housing Program, helping to provide two years of safe and stable housing and holistic supportive services to families experiencing homelessness in DuPage County.

Aurora Area Interfaith Food Pantry

Our grant to Aurora Area Interfaith Food Pantry supported the purchase and distribution of fresh, nutrient-dense food to the Aurora community.

Community Enrichment

Strong communities depend on good citizens working together. We invest in nonprofit organizations with programs that contribute to the vitality, sustainability and livability of our neighborhoods.

What We Fund

The Community Enrichment pillar provides support to cultural and community service programs. We focus on communities where stabilization needs are the greatest. Organizations funded under this pillar include museums and theatres, social services and early childhood organizations, non-core health services such as mental health, substance abuse and domestic abuse, mentorship and job services programs and organizations that target civic development.

We do not provide grants that support youth sports leagues, professional sports leagues or religious organizations in support of their sacramental or theological functions through our corporate giving.

Sample Funded Grants

GiGi’s Playhouse

Our grant to GiGi’s Playhouse helped to provide one-on-one literacy and math tutoring programs to individuals living with Down syndrome.

Raue Center for the Arts

We provided a grant to Raue Center for the Arts to support their SAGE Theatre Ensemble Arts Education Program. The program is dedicated to making bold theatrical work on professional stages and encouraging dialogue about social, medical, ethical and political issues.

Diversity

The many facets of our diversity make our company better and our communities stronger. We invest in both organizational and supplier diversity programs that promote diversity and inclusion opportunities, education and access to resources for the under-served and under-represented individuals and businesses in our workforce and communities.

What We Fund

Our Diversity pillar supports organizations that address the lack of access to opportunities for those experiencing discrimination based on race, national origin, gender, religion, age, sexual orientation, veteran status and physical disabilities. Specifically, this pillar seeks to encourage gains for diverse youth and adults in the areas of post-secondary education, STEM career exploration and supplier development advocacy. We also consider diverse cultural and arts organizations, organizations that address discrimination and lack of opportunities in hiring and career advancement and programs that address health disparities in underserved communities.

Sample Funded Grants

National Able Network

We provided a grant to National Able Network for their Veteran of the Year luncheon, helping Chicagoland veterans transition their military skills into civilian careers.

Women Employed

Our grant to Women Employed supports their program’s advocacy, research and policy work needed to improve the economic status of women.

Education - Application Open!

The path to social mobility and enhanced opportunities includes education and career readiness. Our primary focus is on institutions that offer areas of study important to our business and from which we are interested in recruiting members of our future workforce.

What We Fund

Our Education pillar primarily supports secondary and post-secondary educational opportunities as well as technical/vocational programs. We value partnerships that align with our workforce development initiatives, improving awareness of careers in energy and helping to develop a qualified workforce. We also support the education of related fields, like the fire service, and programs that foster diversity and inclusion.

Sample Funded Grants

Alignment Collaborative for Education

Our grant to the Alignment Collaborative for Education helps to build community partnerships that offer students throughout Elgin, Bartlett, Carol Stream, Schaumburg, West Chicago and more, opportunities to participate in comprehensive career education and work readiness programs.

Alive Center

We provided a grant to Alive, Naperville’s teen-led, teen-driving community center, to support their Teen Initiated STEM programs in Aurora and Naperville. Students encounter computer science, coding and robotics, and Alive has programs specifically targeted to girls and minority youth.

Environmental Stewardship

Natural gas is a clean fuel alternative. We are committed to protecting our environment. We invest in nonprofit organizations with programs that contribute to clean air, conservation and green space.

What We Fund

Nicor Gas supports the Environmental Stewardship pillar by supporting efforts that directly result in more customer and employee engagement in the natural environment through conservation and sustainable activities. We support governmental agencies, scientists, stakeholder groups, or any other group toward an environmental stewardship outcome. Special consideration is given to organizations or projects focused on cleaner fuel, protecting our environment, clean air, conservation, and establishment or preservation of green space.

We do not provide grants for beautification efforts that are not tied to specific environmental initiatives, development initiatives not tied to environmental stewardship, or grants that are exclusively meant to purchase or maintain equipment.

Sample Funded Grants

Klehm Arboretum

Our grant to Klehm Arboretum supported their Go Public Gardens Days, enabling free weeklong admission to the arboretum and supporting multiple self-guided, youth and family-oriented tours and activities.

Natural Land Institute

We provided a grant to the Natural Land Institute, providing operation support for land and water protection, stewardship, engagement and outreach programs across the 12 northern Illinois counties they serve.

Who Can Apply?

Strategic partnerships are offered by invitation only. We’ve focused these partnerships on non-profit organizations with a broad reach in our service territory that can make great strides to help us meet our three strategic objectives.

Eligible organizations that support one of the five pillar focus areas and whose programs benefit those within Nicor Gas’ service area are encouraged to apply for a pillar grant.

Eligibility Requirements

Nicor Gas considers grant requests only from those organizations classified as 501(c)(3), tax-exempt by the IRS. Contributions are not made to:

  • Organizations that are not tax-exempt under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code
  • Individuals
  • Sporting teams
  • Social or recreational groups
  • Primary or secondary schools
  • Religious-based organizations in support of their sacramental or theological functions
  • Political parties, groups or candidates
  • Endowment or debt reduction drives
  • Capital projects
  • Runs, walks or 5Ks

How to Submit a Grant Request

Grants are accepted according to the Grant Application Schedule below. You can access in-progress or submitted applications here.

Grant Application Schedule

Grant applications should be submitted based on the schedule defined below.

  • Environmental Stewardship: March 1 - May 31
  • Diversity: April 1 - June 30
  • Community Enrichment: May 1 - July 31
  • Basic Human Needs and Energy Assistance: June 1 - August 31
  • Education: August 1 - October 31

Questions? Send an email to our Charitable Giving team.

Maximum Grant Amounts

We have grant limits for pillar grants of no more than $5,000, and organizations will be limited to one grant a year.

General FAQ

How do I submit a grant request?

We have moved our grant application process fully online. Please use the specific pillar application link to submit your grant application in our online application system.

When should I apply for a grant?

Each pillar of giving has a unique application that opens and closes according to the schedule below.

  • Environmental Stewardship: March 1 - May 31
  • Diversity: April 1 - June 30
  • Community Enrichment: May 1 - July 31
  • Basic Human Needs and Energy Assistance: June 1 - August 31
  • Education: August 1 - October 31

Which pillar should I apply for?

Nicor Gas focuses its charitable giving on five pillars. Basic Human Needs and Energy Assistance, Community Enrichment, Diversity, Education and Environmental Stewardship. Each pillar is defined under Our Pillars of Giving, and we’ve also included examples of previously funded grants for guidance. If you are still unsure which pillar your organization or grant qualifies under, please send us an email at nicorgascontributions@aglresources.com and we will help you identify the best fit.

Does my organization qualify for a grant?

Nicor Gas focuses its charitable giving on five pillars. Basic Human Needs and Energy Assistance, Community Enrichment, Diversity, Education and Environmental Stewardship. Each pillar is defined under Our Pillars of Giving, and we’ve also included examples of previously funded grants for guidance. If you are still unsure which pillar your organization or grant qualifies under, please send us an email at nicorgascontributions@aglresources.com and we will help you identify the best fit.

Nicor Gas considers grant requests only from those organizations classified as 501(c)(3), tax-exempt by the IRS. Nicor Gas does not contribute to individuals, religious organizations or private K-12 schools. Contributions are not made to:

-       Organizations that are not tax-exempt under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code

-       Individuals

-       Sporting teams

-       Social or recreational groups

-       Primary or secondary schools or their foundations

-       Religious-based organizations in support of their sacramental or theological functions

-       Political parties, groups or candidates

-       Endowment or debt reduction drives

Additionally, each pillar may have other funding limitations. Please fully review the Guidelines and What We Fund for each pillar prior to starting an application.

What is required for the Application Process?

In general, the following information is required for each grant application.

-       Organization information, including name and address, Tax ID, mission and target audience.

-       Contact information for key contacts

-       A description of the project, requested dollar amount, overall project budget, estimated start and end dates, and areas served

-       A valid 501(c)(3) letter

-       A W9

If your application is approved, you will also need to submit:

-       An invoice for the total amount of the grant

-       A new vendor form (provided by Nicor Gas)

-       Any project metrics identified as a condition of grant approval

Will there be a meeting to discuss my request?

We will contact you if a meeting is needed.

Funding decisions and limitations FAQ

How many times may I apply?

We typically award only one grant or sponsorship per organization each calendar year.

Is there a minimum or maximum amount of donation?

Yes. Grants may not exceed $5,000.

When will funding decisions be made?

Funding decisions will be made 30 days after the pillar application period closes. All applicants will receive a communication shortly thereafter indicating whether their request was approved.

Why was my application declined?

We sincerely regret that we are unable to fund each request that helps to support a worthy program. Our decision does not reflect the value of a program but rather reflects the limitations of our contribution budget and program guidelines. Applications may be declined for a variety of reasons, including:

-       The requests we receive for funding exceed our annual giving resources

-       The organization is not a 501(c)(3) or does not meet our other requirements for funding

-       The request does not fit under the pillar selected

Online Application Questions

Getting Started

Creating an Account

You must create an account in order to apply. This means you're able to save and return to an existing application, check the status of an application, upload any requirements, and more.

From the application link, you will be directed to a main log in page. Under the E-mail field, you’ll see a Create Account button. Clicking this button will allow you to set up your initial account in our system.

An application is always tied to the specific email address provided. To review, update and submit applications, you will need to use the same email address to access the account every time. The email address will also receive any confirmation emails once an application or requirement is submitted. Please keep this process in mind when deciding whose email address to use for log in.

Forgot Password

On the main log in page, under the Password field, you’ll see a Forgot Password?  button. Enter the associated e-mail address. If an account exists under that email address, you will be sent a temporary password. Use your temporary password to log in. You will then be prompted to change your password.  NOTE: Passwords must contain at least 5 characters, including both letters and numbers.

Why do you require a Tax ID to begin the application?

We ask that all organizations enter a Tax ID before beginning the application to confirm that the organization is a registered 501(c)(3) with the IRS. The application system verifies your Tax ID number with the IRS database of federally recognized non-profits.

Can we still apply if our Tax ID is not recognized?

If your organization is a registered 501 (c)3, you may still be able to submit an application. Contact us via email at nicorgascontributions@southerncompany.com and we will work with you to determine whether your organization qualifies for a grant.

What is the Eligibility Questionnaire?

The eligibility questionnaire is designed to help you better determine whether your request meets the guidelines and focus of our grant program.

Completing your application

How do I navigate the grant application?

Once you have logged in with your email address and password, entered your organization’s Tax ID and completed the Eligibility Questionnaire, you will be directed to the grant application. You will start on the Before You Begin tab that includes some helpful tips for getting around. In general, you can save your application at any point by clicking the “Save & Finish Later” buttons. You can navigate through the different application sections by either clicking the Next button at the bottom of each page, or by selecting the associated tab at the top of the screen.

Can I upload an attachment?

Yes. On the Attachments section of the application, each item has a separate attachment field. (The file must be saved on your computer in order to successfully upload to the application.) Locate the appropriate field and click the "Browse" button. Use the pop-up to locate the specific file attachment, select the file and click "Open". Once it is listed in the application's attachment field, click 'Upload" to attach it to the application. To remove or modify the file, click "Remove". NOTE: You are still required to complete the online application fields; please do not upload your request as an attachment.

Can I copy and paste information from a Word document?

Yes, you may copy information from an existing Word document and paste it into the appropriate text box in the application.

Reviewing your Application

Is there an opportunity to review my application before I submit?

Yes, there is. The last step in the application process is the Review My Application page, where you can review all of the responses you entered before you actually submit. You can also share a copy of your draft application with others through the E-mail Draft link on the top-right portion of the page.

Will there be a record of my application?

Yes. A link is provided at the top of the application. We recommend that you print and keep a copy of the application for your own records. You can access any in-progress or submitted applications using the email address and password you originally use to set up your account.

Will I receive an acknowledgement of receipt of submission?

Yes. At the end of the application process, you will receive an e-mail confirmation for your new grant application.

We are happy to help! If you have any questions that are not answered here, please email us at nicorgascontributions@aglresources.com and we will get back to you within 3 business days.