Tucson Electric Power employee and retiree volunteers poured tens of thousands of hours into volunteer projects in 2013, extending the company’s longstanding dedication to service and community wellbeing.

This volunteer effort is driven by TEP’s Community Action Team, or CAT, which was born in 1993 with a company-sponsored and employee-driven philosophy and has expanded over the years to make deep and significant impacts in the community.

Over the course of the last 20 years, CAT volunteers have contributed more than a half-million hours of their personal time. Last year, UNS Energy Corporation employees (TEP is the principle subsidiary), with help from family members and friends, donated more than 48,000 hours to nonprofit organizations.

Corporate philanthropy is integrated into most of the volunteer projects, leveraging greater impact for the local charities and neighborhoods served.

“The degree of employee commitment to the community, in Tucson and beyond, is what makes the program work,” said Sharon Foltz, Community Relations Manager for TEP.

TEP focuses its volunteer efforts in areas important to its employees. Areas of emphasis include but are not limited to:

  • Health & Safety – TEP is a longtime supporter of the Pima Council on Aging to provide education and services that allow seniors to live safely and well, 88 Crime, law enforcement and fire departments to promote education, readiness and response.
  • Quality of Life – TEP partners with more than 50 organizations that provide services for at-risk people in our community including the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona, Interfaith Community Services, Primavera Foundation, the Gospel Rescue Mission, Aviva Children’s Services, Arizona Children’s Services and the Southern Arizona Children’s Advocacy Center.
  • Economic Development – TEP provides significant leadership and financial support to organizations that attract business to Southern Arizona and encourage partnerships among the private, public and nonprofit sectors.
  • Environment – TEP was a founding member of the Buffelgrass Coalition and is partners with dozens of conservation groups including the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum, The Nature Conservancy Arizona and the Arizona Tree Council.
  • Education – TEP promotes career readiness for the utility industry and supports STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) programs and resources.

“We really are a family that comes together,” Foltz said. “The helping culture is so embedded into this company that when a co-worker puts forth a need, we all rally to support the cause.”

UNS Energy also provides the communities it serves with philanthropic and membership support of about $4 million annually, not including donation of in-kind services for partner nonprofits (meeting space and printing, for example). Notable efforts include the company’s unique Grants That Make a Difference program, which grants $155,000 to nonprofits serving at-risk persons throughout UNS Energy service territories in Arizona.

Another way TEP aids nonprofits is encouraging employees with particular areas of expertise to serve on boards, an effort that has placed 157 UNS Energy personnel in direct, ongoing contact with local charities and civic organizations that need them.

“It’s not just about volunteer programs – it’s the entire holistic approach our community involvement strategy takes,” Foltz said. “When an agency gets TEP’s help, it’s getting a very strong partnership.”

For more information about connecting your nonprofit to UNS Energy resources, please visit https://www.tep.com/community/ or http://www.uesaz.com/community/. Thank you for your partnership in building stronger communities.