For more than 30 years, ComEd has partnered with the Chicago Urban League, providing volunteer and financial support for the League's Education, Workforce and Scholarship programs, and signature fundraising events, Golden Fellowship Dinner and SUMMIT Luncheon. In the following Q&A, ComEd president and CEO (and Chicago Urban League Board member) Anne Pramaggiore discusses ComEd's commitment to community involvement, the importance of corporate citizenship and the components of a strong partnership.
Anne Pramaggiore, president and CEO of ComEd.
Describe your role with ComEd?I am the president and CEO of ComEd, which has 6,200 employees and revenues of $6 billion. We serve 3.8 million customers by delivering energy to their homes and businesses.
How has the idea of community engagement evolved over the years at ComEd, and what is the company’s current mission/priority in this area?Community support and engagement have been part of the company culture since ComEd’s early years and currently support over 300 community and civic organizations. ComEd’s engagement with the Chicago Urban League dates back more than 30 years so it is certainly one of our longest relationships. I attended the Golden Fellowship Dinner three years ago and was delighted to view a video featuring Wade Watson – who was seeking a job in the 1940s through the Chicago Urban League. He found a job at ComEd through our early partnership with the Chicago Urban League and he retired from ComEd. The most amazing part of the story is that Mr. Watson’s grand-daughter Keisha works for us now as a legislative liaison. I think that is a great testament to the culture of ComEd.
How do philanthropy, volunteerism and leadership development work together within ComEd’s broader corporate citizenship strategy?ComEd’s philanthropy, volunteerism and leadership development efforts mirror the company’s core values and culture and advance employee development. Whether it’s through the 15,000 hours donated by our volunteers each year or the 90 community boards on which our executives serve, at ComEd, we really do power lives. Our core values carry over into everything we do. We’re empowering young people through our Youth Ambassador Summer programs and we engage the disabled community through our Energy Force programs. And we’re creating job opportunities by providing job training through our CONSTRUCT program designed to address diversity in the construction industry. We’re also launching a new Diversity and Inclusion initiative for our employees. At ComEd, we really are focused on powering lives, both within and outside of the company.
What does the ideal partnership with an NPO look like to ComEd?The ideal partnership enables ComEd and often its business partners to work with the respective nonprofit to serve our customers. We often partner through direct involvement by ComEd’s employees, our partners’ volunteers, and company leadership. The CONSTRUCT program is one of my favorite examples of what private-public partnerships can achieve. In collaboration with 18 of our construction partners and four social service agencies, including the Chicago Urban League, ComEd has launched CONSTRUCT. CONSTRUCT is an eight-week program that provides career guidance, life skills training, testing preparation, practical education and information on the requirements for entering the utility and construction industries. Participating companies will provide students with job shadowing experience as well. We’re proud of this program and grateful to our partners for helping to make it such a big success.
Why has ComEd decided to partner with the Chicago Urban League and how does ComEd see the partnership developing over time?Our relationship with the Chicago Urban League goes back more than three decades. Chicago Urban League is a highly valued and trusted resource throughout the region and it’s a relationship we’re proud of. We believe in Chicago Urban League’s vision of economic empowerment for the African-American community and we know that Chicago Urban League has a track record of successfully executing on its mission. Vision and impact – that is what both ComEd and Chicago Urban League are about.