Corporate philanthropy is also important to our communities because it helps enhance quality of life, advances education and other worthy endeavors, and enriches communities. In 2013, AEP and the American Electric Power Foundation donated more than $21 million to support more than 2,200 community organizations.
In 2013, the AEP Foundation introduced Credits CountSM, a dual enrollment program to help students pursue STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) education and careers while completing a high school diploma. Through a $5 million, five-year grant to Columbus State Community College Foundation in Ohio, the program will be launched in the Columbus City Schools in the fall of 2014.
The program will help students fill in learning gaps so they are ready to take college-level courses while still in high school. By graduation, students will have earned credits that count toward a career-ready certificate in a STEM-related field or toward a college degree in fields that may include energy, the environment or information technology. Students who achieve a grade point average of at least 3.0 are also eligible for college scholarships to continue their post-secondary education at Columbus State. Together, the accumulation of college credits at no cost while in high school and the potential award of college scholarships addresses two of the largest barriers to attaining a college degree, especially by disadvantaged youth – college preparedness and affordability.
Major components of the program include middle school STEM experiences, college readiness assessments, tutoring, and a summer bridge program to enhance English and math skills. The program is designed to be replicated in other locations in the AEP service territory.
The use of corporate jets is critical to our ability to conduct business in our 11 states. But these assets can also be used to help those in need. In 2013, AEP Aviation joined more than 550 other corporations that transport cancer patients to life-prolonging treatment as part of the Corporate Angel Network (CAN). According to CAN, flying on corporate aircrafts allows patients to save the expense of commercial tickets and avoid large crowds, which can pose a health risk to patients with immune system deficiencies. All arrangements are handled by CAN and there is no additional cost to the company to accommodate a patient and his/her family member or companion. CAN is a public charity supported entirely by contributions from individuals, foundations and corporations. Although there were no matches between our flight schedule and patients’ needs in 2013, we are ready to support this initiative in 2014.