How Gas South’s long-standing commitment to fighting hunger helps fuel food-insecure kids and communities
Carley Stephens, Gas South’s Community Affairs Program Manager, on building a culture of giving
Many organizations tout their philanthropic initiatives. But, at Gas South, giving back is simply part of the company’s DNA.
Gas South’s mission, “Be a Fuel for Good,” isn’t just a slogan in the company handbook or website. It’s an attitude embraced by the entire organization — from the many employees who volunteer their time to the bold, company-wide commitment to giving back at least 5% of profits each year to children in need.
HOPE Atlanta is thankful to be among the beneficiaries, as Gas South is generously matching up to $30,000 in donations to the HOPE365 monthly giving program through the end of May.
The partnership first started in 2017, when Gas South began supporting Action Ministries through financial contributions and employee volunteerism. (Note: Action Ministries has since joined HOPE Atlanta, and you can learn more about the combined organization here).
Carley Stephens, Community Affairs Manager at Gas South, said she spoke with more than 90 nonprofit organizations when she first stepped into the role that year. “As a company, we articulated our purpose. We set our commitment to give 5% to children in need,” she said.
Gas South’s workforce is known for its volunteerism. Many employees have given their lunch breaks or after-work hours to pack lunches for HOPE Atlanta’s Smart Lunch Smart Kid program, which feeds schoolchildren throughout Georgia during summer and school breaks. “We had always had an employee event to do Smart Lunch Smart Kid. It fits within our purpose to give back to children in need,” Stephens said.
In 2020, Gas South employees assembled more than 450 meal kits (and logged more than 490 volunteer hours total).
“The silver lining in 2020 was that we had to look at giving, and we had to revamp volunteerism. In doing that, we started refocusing on how to involve our employees,” said Stephens, whose role involves developing new ways to democratize corporate giving at Gas South. “It’s our employees that make us profitable, so we are now working on ways to empower our employees to be able to run their own volunteer events and fund them,” she added.
One of the ways Gas South empowers employees to “Be a Fuel for Good” is through team grants, where the company sponsors volunteer events planned by individual employees or teams. It also lets employees vote for which local organizations should receive $10,000 or $50,000 “impact investments” each year.
Having given $1M to area nonprofits in 2020 (including $30,000 to HOPE Atlanta), Gas South increased that amount even more in 2021. The company has allocated nearly $1.5M for philanthropic giving this year and, having recently acquired Infinite Energy, its charitable footprint has expanded to Florida. “We have a lot of new employees and partners in Florida this year, so we have expanded to include them,” said Stephens.
Although the company is growing and changing rapidly, giving remains foundational to the company culture. In fact, two of its core values are “Put People First” and “Do What’s Right.”
“If you’re giving because it’s the right thing to do, you then look at how you’re giving, and, ‘Is that really the best way to do what’s right?’” Stephens said.
She added that she was glad to see Action Ministries join HOPE Atlanta in 2021. “I’m really happy, honestly, that Action has taken this step with HOPE Atlanta. To say, ‘I think we can do this better together.’”
We’re proud to have Gas South’s support in the fight to “do better” for underserved Georgians.
Want to “Be a Fuel for Good” in your community as well? Consider putting kindness on auto-pilot when you join HOPE365 with a monthly gift. Through the end of May, Gas South is generously matching all new monthly donations, up to $30,000.