Editors Note: This story was updated in Feb. 2023 to reflect program impact.
Spectrum Employee Community Grants (SECG) is a community-focused philanthropic program that recognizes Charter employees who volunteer for local nonprofits. Celebrating its fifth anniversary in 2023, the program provides grants to qualifying nonprofits, which include homeless shelters, food centers, job training programs and neighborhood safety groups, among other organizations.
As of February 2023, the program had distributed more than $1.5 million, to nearly 400 organizations across 32 states. In 2022, SECG doubled the minimum and maximum grant amounts awarded. Grants are currently awarded at five levels: $1,000, $2,500, $5,000, $7,500 or $10,000.
Here’s how the program works: A Charter employee must volunteer at a local nonprofit for at least one year to nominate that organization for an SECG grant. The employee’s personal level of commitment is among the factors used in determining the level of funding. Nominated 501(c)(3) organizations must provide a critical social service and/or other basic need.
“Charter is helping community organizations where our employees are volunteering their time and talent,” said Karrin Smoley, Senior Director, Community Impact. “In addition to recognizing our employees, the grants provide much needed support to local nonprofits that are vital to the communities we serve.”
What follows are a few examples of how the program supports vital organizations and builds stronger communities:
Helping The Haven Home
The Haven Home, an emergency overflow shelter for women and their children in Cleveland, received an SECG grant in 2021 after a Spectrum employee who volunteered at the nonprofit noticed that it needed additional support. The grant money was used to help mothers and children at the shelter have a more comfortable stay. As part of her volunteer activities at the shelter, the employee launched a community outreach initiative wherein members were encouraged to make donations of school supplies, baby formula, diapers and other items. The employee also coordinated the collection of the supplies and made regular visits to the shelter to help out where needed. As a result of her dedication, she was asked to join The Haven Home’s Board of Directors.
Support For Veterans Outreach Center
The Veterans Outreach Center (VOC) is a Rochester, N.Y.-based nonprofit that offers job placement services to military veterans. In 2021, the VOC received an SECG grant after a Spectrum employee chose to get involved with the organization in honor of her father, youngest brother, brother-in-law and other family members who are Veterans. In addition to securing a grant that was used to purchase food baskets and clothing, as well as other services to help veterans in need, the employee coordinated an annual “VOC Stand Down” event, which resulted in the installation of wireless internet at the center. Several other Spectrum employees also volunteered for the organization’s annual “Pound the Ground 5K/10K” run and walk, which helps raise funds for veterans. Spectrum employees have also collected clothing, boots, scarfs, mittens and personal items for veterans returning home from deployment. The Veterans Outreach Center has been awarded an SECG grant every year since the SECG program's inception.
Caring For CARES
A Spectrum employee who works in Field Communications in the Great Lakes region helped nonprofit Community Action Resources Empowerment Services (CARES) of Farmington Hills, Michigan, receive an SECG grant in 2020. The employee nominated CARES for the grant after she learned of the organization’s effort to build a “Campus of Hope,” where families could access much-needed resources including food, clothing, support and job training in a centralized location. The employee volunteered for campus clean-ups and donated clothing, while Charter’s grant supported the organization’s food distribution efforts. CARES provides services in early childhood care, job training, life skills for young adults and suicide prevention. Additionally, CARES supports essential needs such as food, clothing and assistance with shelter.
Charter Tech Repays Nonprofit U.S.Vets
In some cases, an employee may have already been volunteering at an organization prior to working for Charter. Such was the case with Maintenance Technician Milo Staley, a U.S. Navy veteran who volunteered with nonprofit U.S.Vets, which offers a range of services to assist veterans with issues such as addiction and homelessness. Staley’s story is particularly compelling because he is a beneficiary of the organization’s services. After completing his Navy service, Staley unfortunately struggled with homelessness and addiction – however, U.S.Vets stepped in and helped him get his life turned around. When presented with the opportunity to “pay it back,” through SECG, Staley thought immediately about the group that stepped up to support him. He helped the organization secure a grant that it used to reach more veterans in need. To learn more about Staley’s story, and SECG, check out the video below.
To learn more about Spectrum's Community Impact programs, click here.