NAPERVILLE, Ill. – July 22, 2021 – Nicor Gas is committing to enable equitable economic impact opportunities across Illinois through organizations and efforts that advance education, job training, investments in entrepreneurship and economic development programs. In support of this focus, Nicor Gas is making an initial two-year, $100,000 commitment to the United Neighborhoods Equity Fund, an impact fund administered by United Way of Metro Chicago.
“Nicor Gas is committed to bettering the communities where we live, work and play,” said John O. Hudson III, president and CEO of Nicor Gas, who also serves as a board member for United Way of Metro Chicago. “This is especially true for those facing barriers to economic growth and success due to lack of equitable financial access and support. United Neighborhoods is taking steps to close those gaps while fostering pathways to opportunity.”
The United Neighborhoods Equity Fund aims to support small, Black- and brown-led nonprofits by connecting them to new investment opportunities. According to research by Echoing Green and The Bridgespan Group, leaders of color face challenges connecting to funders, building rapport and securing and sustaining support for culturally relevant strategies. This has led to significant disparities in investment, such as revenue 45% lower for Black-led organizations dedicated to improving outcomes for Black men than similar organizations with white leaders. The United Neighborhoods Equity Fund is a philanthropic commitment to addressing these barriers and creating a more equitable and just Chicago region.
“Nicor Gas’ ever-growing commitment to driving positive change in neighborhoods around the region continues to inspire me,” said Sean Garrett, president and CEO of United Way of Metro Chicago. “We’re delighted to expand our partnership with them through their sponsorship of the United Neighborhoods Equity Fund. Together, we’re supporting small, Black and brown-led nonprofits by connecting them to new training, investment opportunities and strengthening their leaders, which advances equity throughout the Chicago region.”
Nicor Gas is a top 25 corporate partner of United Way, a partnership that began in 1954. Over the last five years, Nicor Gas and its employees have donated $4.7 million to 23 United Way chapters located within the company’s northern Illinois service area, with the largest being United Way of Metro Chicago. That funding is shared with local affiliates and organizations in underserved communities tackling issues from food and energy insecurity to healthcare, education and housing initiatives.
The United Neighborhoods Equity Fund is the first of many strategic partners that will help Nicor Gas achieve its goal to infuse $5 million in partnerships that enable economic opportunity in the communities it serves. These investments will support workforce development, job growth and diverse business entrepreneurship through organizations working to advance economic equity and strengthen communities. For more information about these partnerships, visit nicorgas.com/community.
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 2.2 million customers in a service territory that encompasses most of the northern third of Illinois, excluding the city of Chicago. For more information, visit nicorgas.com.
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 utility customers through its regulated distribution companies in four states with approximately 666,000 retail customers through its companies that market natural gas. Other nonutility businesses include investments in interstate pipelines and ownership and operation of natural gas storage facilities. For more information, visit southerncompanygas.com.