Get IN Chicago’s work would be impossible without the generous support of our donor community, which includes many of Chicago’s most influential, innovative, and conscientious corporations.  On behalf of our youth, families, and neighborhoods, we are grateful for their investments in safer communities and brighter futures.

 

Get IN Chicago is proud to partner with Exelon.  To learn more about their work in the community, we spoke with Steve Solomon, Vice President of Corporate Relations at Exelon and President at the Exelon Foundation.

Name: Steve Solomon
Title: 
Vice President of Corporate Relations, Exelon and President, Exelon Foundation
Hometown: 
Morton Grove 
Current City/Neighborhood:
 Naperville

What is your favorite thing about Chicago?
Personally, my favorite thing about Chicago is its culture – there is no better place in the world to find amazing music and theater any night of the week.  Growing up, I had parents who made sure we experienced everything the city had to offer.  They helped me understand and appreciate all different types of performing arts and what’s available here in the Chicago area.

But from a work standpoint, I appreciate how Chicago’s companies and foundations come together to solve issues in the city and surrounding area.  Chicago is truly a community of givers, and everyone works together so well.  I talk to peers in other cities across the U.S., and I hear that it isn’t quite the same.

Get IN Chicago is a great example of collaboration around a single issue – youth violence.  Similarly, the Be Creative campaign is working to bring arts programs back to Chicago Public Schools in a meaningful way with leadership from Crown Family Philanthropies, Exelon, Northern Trust, ITW, and more.  We are also proud to be part of the Energizing Student Potential (ESP) STEM initiative, a combined effort between a few different companies including Exelon Foundation, Peoples Gas/ North Shore Gas, Nicor Gas, and BP America. This is only our second year of ESP, but already, we have reached over 80 schools, 180 teachers and 15,500 students with it.

 

What are your company’s giving priorities?
Exelon’s giving focuses in four primary areas, all tied to our commitment to supporting healthy communities where our employees work and serve.  Get IN Chicago falls into our neighborhood development category.

  • Education: Programs that encourage students to stay in school and develop their full potential, innovative math and science initiatives, improve workforce skills, and encourage personal development through mentoring and internships.
  • Environment: Programs that improve the quality of our environment; promote environmental education, conservation, and preservation; develop cleaner sources of energy; protect endangered species; and beautify neighborhoods.
  • Arts & Culture: Cultural institutions with broad public exposure and programs designed to make arts and culture more accessible to a wider and more diverse audience.
  • Neighborhood Development: Programs and nonprofit organizations that support a range of offerings from health and human services to after-school programming.

We work very hard to make sure our support is more than a check.  Last year, we had nearly 4,000 employees contribute 171,000 hours of volunteer time across the country.  Our employees serve on 590 nonprofit boards, volunteer as mentors and curriculum instructors, and donate generously themselves.  51% of Exelon employees participated in our employee giving campaign and/or the Exelon Foundation matching gifts program last year, providing over  $17 million into the community between their personal contributions and the match.

 

How does Get IN Chicago fit into your company’s philanthropic vision?
Whether by encouraging creative thinking through the arts, supporting vocational education, or keeping students on track for graduation, our philanthropic efforts are focused on strengthening the places where our employees live and serve.  Get IN Chicago’s work on youth violence aligns with our commitment to build strong communities.

Another core component of Exelon’s philanthropy is diversity and inclusion.  We’re firm believers that inclusion builds stronger programs and stronger solutions; you get the best ideas when you bring different people to the table. As a collaborative initiative bringing together voices from nonprofits, funders, and research institutions, Get IN Chicago exemplifies that ideal.

 

Aside from Get IN Chicago, what is another project that reflects the mission and values of your company?

Investing in STEM education makes a lot of sense for us.  We want to make sure we have diverse candidates available to work at Exelon in the future, so we prioritize supporting and preparing students for STEM related careers.  For the last 11 years, we have worked with ComEd, United Way of Metropolitan Chicago, and six local nonprofits on the Stay in School initiative.  Through this effort, we work with over 24 high schools in communities with high dropout rates, reaching approximately 2,500 students per year.

The primary goal of the Stay in School program is keeping kids in school and graduating. In conjunction with a team of nonprofit leaders, our employees work with students monthly on leadership development, interview prep, and resume writing trainings. Seeing the students so often, our employees are able to see real growth, and the numbers back up their observations. Last year, 92% of our seniors graduated, 98% of our non-seniors were on track to go to the next grade and 91% of all participants had at least 90% attendance at school.

 

Good Corporate Citizenship is Part of Their Culture: Learn more about Exelon’s work in the community