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Nicor Gas Foundation commits $200,000 to advancing equity in education in Rockford

NAPERVILLE, IL. – Thursday, July 28, 2022 – The Nicor Gas Foundation committed $200,000 to the proposed Goodwill Excel Center School in Rockford to support their new technology lab. The Excel Center Technology Lab will be a critical component to the Northern Illinois campus and will serve up to 300 low-income adult students per semester as they work to earn their high school diplomas and obtain jobs in growing, sustainable local industries. 

“At Nicor Gas, we are committed to advancing equity in education by serving our neighbors and ensuring students at the Excel Center School have access to the latest technology and tools needed to take the next step in their career,” said Meena Beyers, vice president of Business and Community Development. “The Nicor Gas Foundation is proud to support Goodwill’s mission to transform adult lives with access to a rigorous high school curriculum and job readiness programs.”

With the support of the Nicor Gas Foundation, the proposed lab will have the latest in technology, including computers and tablets, to ensure students have the tools needed to complete coursework, as well as vocational credentials and certificates. Students will also have access to simulators for hands-on experience in different career pathways including manufacturing, healthcare, IT, and transportation and logistics. Additionally, the lab will be fully accessible to all individuals including those with vision or mobility impairments. 

“We are grateful for the generous gift from the Nicor Gas Foundation,” said Ben Bernsten, president of Goodwill Industries of Northern Illinois. "As we receive financial commitments like this one, it helps us move one step closer to opening up and maintaining an Excel Center in Rockford. The technology lab funding from Nicor Gas Foundation is a critical component to funding this innovative school and we look forward to our ongoing partnership."

Upon graduation, Excel Center students are more likely to enroll in college and see a higher increase in earnings in five years regardless of race, gender or socioeconomic status. 

To learn more about Nicor Gas’ commitment to the community, visit

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

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