Since January 2020, the Puget Sound Energy Foundation has provided over $1.9 million in grants to organizations providing critical services to the communities that Puget Sound Energy serves or has facilities in. Of that, $1.4 million was provided to help to local communities impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic with $648,000 awarded through a new competitive grant program.

The PSE Foundation is a nonprofit entity operating independently of Puget Sound Energy helping the communities PSE serves. In December, the Foundation provided the competitive grants to 79 nonprofits to aid in their response and recovery to the COVID-19 pandemic. The nonprofit and public charity organizations that received the grants are within PSE’s 16 county service and operation areas.

Puget Sound Energy Foundation
One way Dawson Place Child Advocacy Center provides services to children is through the use of therapy dogs. Left to right: Razzle, Bruce, Lucy, and Harper. Photo courtesy: Dawson Place Child Advocacy Center

The PSE Foundation 2020 competitive grant program sought to fund programs and services that ensured community members could access shelter, food, personal protection equipment (PPE), and other essential services. Funding was also supplied directly to nonprofit organizations offering critical services such as food banks, agencies supporting youth and seniors, housing, health and more. The money awarded was used to keep their doors open by funding deep cleaning expenses, equipment, or other mandated health and safety requirements.

One organization that received a grant from PSE Foundation is Dawson Place Child Advocacy Center in Everett. Dawson Place is dedicated to helping kids, seeking justice, and promoting healthy families. The organization helps children who have been victims of abuse, neglect, or endangerment. Dawson Place was awarded a $20,000 COVID Response and Recovery Grant from the PSE Foundation.

“The Puget Sound Energy Foundation grant makes our Child Advocacy Center safer for the 50+ professionals and the over 1,000 child abuse victims and families they serve every year,” says Executive Director at Dawson Place Child Advocacy Center Lori Vanderburg.

Puget Sound Energy Foundation
After a child goes through a forensic interview they receive a quilt, like these pictured here. The quilts are provided by community organizations, like Stray Threads Quilt Guild who provided the quilts in this photo. Photo courtesy: Dawson Place Child Advocacy Center

All through the pandemic, Dawson Place continued to operate, and they were able to keep their staff healthy and safe, thanks to the grant from the PSE Foundation. Because Dawson Place is considered an essential service, it was critical for the organization to remain open and safely staffed throughout the pandemic.

The most extensive use of the money was for HVAC air scrubbers to keep the air inside their workspace clean. Dawson Place also used the money for plexiglass partitions to separate workspaces, touchless hand sanitizers, and hands-free bathroom faucets.

“The gift allows us to continue our essential work because every child abuse victim deserves safety, justice, and healing,” Vanderburg says.

Together, the PSE Foundation and Puget Sound Energy contributed more than $4 million in total to nonprofits across Puget Sound Energy’s service and operation area communities. While these funding efforts are extraordinary, Puget Sound Energy and PSE Foundation aren’t taking a step back. The COVID-19 pandemic and the lasting financial impacts due to the pandemic response are far from over. In 2021, the PSE Foundation will again identify community organizations that create a positive impact and make selections for grant awards including the opportunity for nonprofits to submit an application through a competitive grant program.

Puget Sound Energy Foundation
Dawson Place Child Advocacy Center is an organization dedicated to helping kids, seeking justice, and promoting healthy families. Photo courtesy: Dawson Place Child Advocacy Center

“The application for the 2021 competitive grant program will open in the early summer, and have a focus on how our communities can begin the healing process from health or welfare insecurities intensified or made visible by the pandemic.  This year’s competitive grants will be awarded in the fall to organizations within the communities that Puget Sound Energy serves or has facilities in,” says Rachel Benner, community engagement representative with Puget Sound Energy and PSE Foundation.

The Puget Sound Energy Foundation is dedicated to keeping our communities safe and prepared where PSE serves and operates in Chelan, Columbia, Cowlitz, Douglas, Garfield, Island, King, Kitsap, Kittitas, Klickitat, Lewis, Pierce, Snohomish, Skagit, Thurston, and Whatcom Counties.

As a trusted community foundation, the PSE Foundation is supportive and responsive to the needs in the areas they serve. The nonprofit organizations in our communities can address pandemic-related challenges head on with the support from PSE.