IRVING, Texas, June 22, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Vistra (NYSE: VST) today announced that it is committing $10 million over the next five years to support the advancement of minority communities.
"I think it is pretty simple: Companies have an obligation to ensure an equitable workplace and to help our communities – whether faced with a pandemic, a natural disaster, or inequality and social injustice. Vistra does not see the issues plaguing our country through a political lens; we see it through our people, our communities, and our customers," said Curt Morgan, president and CEO of Vistra. "We must acknowledge that, for some people in our society, there are fewer opportunities and resources, and we are determined to change that. It's the right thing to do."
This investment is a reaffirmation and extension of existing efforts, which focus on national, state, and local organizations that grow minority-owned small businesses, enhance economic development, and provide and improve educational opportunities for students from diverse backgrounds. Today's announcement is consistent with the key focus areas of the company's giving policy and builds upon Vistra's donations in excess of $30 million over the past several years to benefit low-income and minority communities.
"When deciding where to put our focus, we looked to those areas where we believe Vistra can have the most impact – investing in people through education and economic development. When small businesses thrive in minority neighborhoods, they not only provide access to goods and services to local residents, they can transform communities for the better. As an electricity supplier to small businesses, we want to see them flourish," Morgan continued. "We're passionate about helping young people and developing the next generation of professionals. It starts with access to quality education."
Vistra is immediately making donations totaling nearly $1.5 million to a number of proven organizations that impact the communities where the company operates. Ongoing donations will be made in the coming weeks, months, and years.
Examples of Vistra's initial efforts include:
Small Businesses & Economic Development
- Providing immediate relief to rebuild minority-owned small businesses and invest in their long-term growth through national and state organizations and their local affiliates like the National Minority Supplier Development Council, Black Chambers of Commerce, and Hispanic Chambers of Commerce
- Supporting the communities where Vistra has operations, through the National Urban League and its affiliates in Chicago, Cincinnati, Columbus, Houston, St. Louis, Pittsburgh, and Philadelphia
- Expanding our mentoring and pro-bono consulting services for minority-owned small businesses
- Establishing endowed scholarships for historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) and those with significant multi-cultural student bodies, including Prairie View A&M University, Paul Quinn College, and Texas State Technical College located in Vistra's home state of Texas
- Advancing access to education and opportunities through the United Negro College Fund in Dallas and Tarrant County
- Fostering the educational advancement of Hispanic students through the Hispanic Scholarship Fund
- Supporting early childhood literacy and kindergarten readiness through our sustained and sizeable donations from our company and employees to the United Way and its Strong Start Initiative
- Partnering and volunteering with elementary schools in low-income and minority communities
Vistra's Commitment to Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace
Vistra has long recognized the value of a diverse workforce. The company has always aimed to create and maintain an environment where differences are valued and respected, which enhances Vistra's ability to recruit and retain the best talent in the marketplace and to better understand and serve our customers.
"It has been an emotional few weeks for the Vistra family and we have had to reflect on where we are in our journey for social justice and equity. The reality is that we all can and must do more. We cannot delegate change to others; it starts with us. We all spend a significant part of our lives working and we want to work for a company that values us equally and provides a fair path to achieving our career aspirations. To that end, we are doubling down on our efforts to ensure our company culture is one where there's mutual respect and each individual's unique characteristics and skills are valued," said Morgan.
Internally, Vistra is holding sessions where members of the leadership team come together in small groups with employees to listen to their thoughts and experiences on race in their lives and within the workplace.
"We recognize that our people, like people across the country, are hurting and frustrated. They're also searching for ways to make a difference and show support. It's important that we create a safe space for our valued employees to talk about their experiences and the role race has played in their careers, and to share ideas of how Vistra can be better," said Carrie Kirby, chief administrative officer for Vistra. "Our leadership team is listening and learning, and we'll take what we hear to better our formal diversity and inclusion policies and programs in our workplace. We are convinced we will be a better company for all of our stakeholders as a result."
Vistra (NYSE: VST) is a premier, integrated, Fortune 275 energy company based in Irving, Texas, providing essential resources for customers, commerce, and communities. Vistra combines an innovative, customer-centric approach to retail with safe, reliable, diverse, and efficient power generation. The company brings its products and services to market in 20 states and the District of Columbia, including six of the seven competitive wholesale markets in the U.S. and markets in Canada and Japan, as well. Serving nearly 5 million residential, commercial, and industrial retail customers with electricity and natural gas, Vistra is the largest competitive residential electricity provider in the country and offers over 40 renewable energy plans. The company is also the largest competitive power generator in the U.S. with a capacity of approximately 39,000 megawatts powered by a diverse portfolio including natural gas, nuclear, solar, and battery energy storage facilities. In addition, the company is a large purchaser of wind power. The company is currently constructing a 400-MW/1,600-MWh battery energy storage system in Moss Landing, California, which will be the largest of its kind in the world when it comes online. Vistra is guided by four core principles: we do business the right way, we work as a team, we compete to win, and we care about our stakeholders including our customers, our communities where we work and live, our employees, and our investors. Learn more about our environmental, social, and governance efforts and read the company's sustainability report at https://www.vistraenergy.com/sustainability/
SOURCE Vistra Energy