Skip to main content.
Nicor Gas building

Nicor Gas commits $250,000 to support National Energy Education Development Project’s “Energizing Student Potential” initiative

NAPERVILLE, IL. – January 25, 2023 – Expanding on its commitment to enable economic opportunity through educational programming and early interest in the energy industry, Nicor Gas is committing $250,000 over five years to support the National Energy Education Development Project’s (NEED) “Energizing Student Potential” (ESP) initiative in Illinois, bringing science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) subjects to local classrooms.

As one of the founding partners of the Illinois initiative to encourage elementary and middle school students to discover their own path to innovation, Nicor Gas has provided $350,000 in grant funding since 2015. With this support, NEED has worked with nearly 400 schools, 700 teachers and more than 91,000 students across Illinois over the last seven years.

“At Nicor Gas, we believe that educating students about careers in STEM fields, and in the energy and natural gas industry in particular, should begin at an early age,” said Pat Whiteside, senior vice president of Operations at Nicor Gas. “With our support over the next five years, NEED will have the ability to support approximately 280 additional schools, 450 teachers and 65,000 students across our Northern Illinois service territory and across the state.”

Through the ESP initiative, NEED brings interactive and compelling STEM-based, energy-focused activities that educate students on a variety of energy sources, electricity generation, natural gas, climate science, energy efficiency and more.

“Thanks to the support of our founding partners like Nicor Gas, we are able to reach more Illinois teachers and students with exciting, hands-on opportunities that bring the energy industry to life,” said Mary Spruill, executive director of NEED. “With this donation, we can ensure that our balanced and multidisciplinary education programs continue to open the minds of children to the potential of STEM careers from a young age.”

Recently, Nicor Gas hosted more than 100 teachers at its headquarters in Naperville for a workshop on the science of energy and careers in the field. Participants also had the opportunity to visit the company’s state-of-the-art technical training center where employees learn how to respond to any potential natural gas service situation safely and effectively.

To learn more about Nicor Gas’ commitment to educational initiatives, as well as free resources for teachers and students, visit:

About Nicor Gas
Nicor Gas is one of four natural gas distribution companies of Southern Company Gas, a wholly owned subsidiary of Southern Company (NYSE: SO). Nicor Gas serves more than 2.3 million customers in a service territory that encompasses most of the northern third of Illinois, excluding the city of Chicago. For more information, visit

About Southern Company Gas
Southern Company Gas is a wholly owned subsidiary of Atlanta-based Southern Company (NYSE:SO), America’s premier energy company. Southern Company Gas serves approximately 4.3 million natural gas customers through its regulated distribution companies in four states with approximately 600,000 retail customers through its companies that market natural gas. Other businesses include investments in interstate pipelines and ownership and operation of natural gas storage facilities. For more information, visit 

Media Contact:
Allison Gregoire