Fueling Safe and Thriving Communities
At Atmos Energy, we weave our passion for giving back to the communities we serve throughout our culture. In fiscal year 2022, our employees volunteered close to 34,000 hours to support community endeavors and nonprofit organizations. Through our Fueling Safe and Thriving Communities program, we donated more than $16 million to support approximately 1,200 organizations in the places where we live, work, and serve. Our Fueling Safe and Thriving Communities program focuses on three essential pillars:
Atmos Energy collaborates with local school districts and education foundations to promote childhood literacy. Third grade marks the shift from “learning to read” to “reading to learn,” putting deficient readers at a greater risk of falling behind at this age.We help provide the resources needed for students to read at grade level by third grade. Children in underserved school districts are more vulnerable to falling behind in grade-level reading proficiency, and remote and hybrid learning necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated those vulnerabilities even more. To improve third-grade literacy scores, we have partnered with a wide variety of nonprofit organizations dedicated to this cause.
“Our commitment to Fueling Safe and Thriving Communities is reflected in the many ways our employees donate their time and skills throughout the year to support local school districts, after-school programs and food banks.”
Kelly Biegler, Atmos Energy Vice President of Public Affairs
In fiscal year 2022, Atmos Energy continued its partnership with Communities in Schools of North Texas (CISNT), which surrounds students with support, empowering them to stay in school and achieve in life. CISNT was founded in 1993 in response to the growing dropout problem in Denton and Wise counties. Today, the organization has grown to serve seven school districts with more than 30,000 students each school year. Through holistic services, which address students’ physical, academic, social-emotional, and mental health barriers, CISNT positively impacts student success, with 99 percent of students staying in school and on track for graduation. CISNT works to empower students to be successful in school and in life with weekend food support, professional mental health counseling, college and career readiness, and parent and family engagement.
“For more than a decade, Atmos Energy has been quick to volunteer, whether that be for fundraising events or special events on school campuses. Atmos Energy has contributed annually to our ‘Stay in School’ banquet and increased their donation during the COVID pandemic to support students and families suffering from food insecurity. Their support has helped 11,975 students with access to food throughout the school year, saving them from the detrimental impact of ongoing hunger and food instability.”
Ann Pape Wilson, CISNT Chief Executive Officer
Atmos Energy began our partnership with the Radford (Va.) Public Library in fiscal year 2022 by supporting the launch of their inaugural ‘1,000 Books Before Kindergarten’ reading program. Adding to the Radford Public Library’s roster of events, Atmos Energy supported a series of presentations to host author Daniel Nayeri. These presentations included sharing his first autobiographical novel, Everything Sad is Untrue (A True Story), with hundreds of Radford University and Radford High School students. Nayeri also offered inspiring words to hundreds of secondary- and elementary-level students on the act of kindness and a cooking event offering Persian dishes for the community to sample.
“Our library is more than a general center of reliable information; we strive to promote an enlightened citizenship and enrich our communities’ lives. Atmos Energy’s generosity has supported innovative events and the continued exposure to educational opportunities for hundreds of students of all ages.”
Elizabeth Sensabaugh, Director of the Radford Public Library
Supporting Healthy Futures
In addition to education, Atmos Energy recognizes that easy access to well-being support and nutritious food are critical to a healthy future. The small town of Caney, located in southeast Kansas and largely made up of rural ranch and farmland, has been designated a USDA “food desert” with the nearest grocery store 20 miles away. Thankfully, Caney Valley Food Pantry is dedicated to tackling these issues and serving its neighbors in need.
Formed in early 2018, the organization started by packaging and distributing food boxes each month to the area’s low-income elderly and disabled population. Caney Valley Food Pantry has since grown and now also offers a school produce backpack service for more than 100 reduced lunch program students in conjunction with the Caney Valley High School Food and Consumer Class, and it has more than doubled its produce outreach to 1,400 recipients.
“This small-town food pantry serves southeast Kansas communities in a big way. The Caney Valley Agape Network and Food Pantry is an invaluable resource for those in need, and we are proud to support their mission each and every year.”
Aaron Bishop, Atmos Energy Public Affairs Manager
Since beginning to partner with Caney Valley Food Pantry in 2018, Atmos Energy has donated more than $10,000 to support this fight against hunger. Atmos Energy employees also volunteered their time in fiscal year 2022 to fill backpacks with items such as breakfast cereal, peanut butter, granola bars, popcorn, goldfish crackers, ramen noodles and macaroni and cheese for more than 400 students to enjoy.
In Louisiana, one in five households is at risk of hunger or food insecurity. In fiscal year 2022, we continued our long-standing partnership with Second Harvest Food Bank of Greater New Orleans, the largest charitable anti-hunger network in south Louisiana. Founded in 1982, Second Harvest Food Bank distributes approximately 32 million meals to more than 210,000 people, and its reach extends across 23 parishes with support from 700 community partners and programs. We are proud that Atmos Energy’s support of Second Harvest’s tireless work to combat hunger in South Louisiana has totaled more than $200,000 and helped provide 800,000 meals to families in need over the years.
In Fall 2022 in West Texas, we participated in back-to-school drives that distributed more than 500 backpacks, lunch sacks, and water bottles to elementary students and donated school supplies for 23 families in the Family Promise program. We also continued our partnership with the West Texas Food Bank, which serves 19 counties as a distribution center to solicit, store, inspect, and repack donated and purchased food for local partner agencies. In 2019, we began supporting our employees by volunteering their time to the Food 2 Kids program. There, we helped to package and organize nutritious meals for students to eat after school and on weekends. Since 2020, our employees at Atmos Energy have made contributions that have provided more than 46,000 meals to children and families in need.
“We are so thankful for Atmos Energy’s focus on fueling bright minds and healthy futures for our children. Their commitment to bettering the communities we both serve makes our partnership strong, and we look forward to many more years fighting hunger together.”
Libby Campbell, West Texas Food Bank CEO
Celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2022, DFW Restaurant Week is the largest culinary event in North Texas and the country's second longest running restaurant week. Participating restaurants donate a portion of their revenue to North Texas Food Bank and to Lena Pope, which offers services that support child development and improve the behavioral and mental health of children and their families. We continued our ongoing support of this event in 2022.
Atmos Energy shows respect and gratitude to firefighters, police officers, medical teams, veterans, teachers, and many other heroes by supporting their work in the communities we serve. We partner with local first responders to offer natural gas safety training, promote home safety guidance to residents, and support victims of natural disasters. We provide meals to local medical teams and first responders working around the clock to care for patients in need. We also support educators with school supplies, classroom resources, and tools to improve early childhood literacy.
Meals for Heroes in Need
In 2022, we were among the first corporate sponsors of Operation Commissary, a new initiative of Operation Stand Down Tennessee, which works to address food insecurity among Veterans in Middle Tennessee. Those who served our country in uniform are twice as likely to become food insecure because they are less inclined to seek assistance. Operation Commissary’s innovative model provides non-perishable food along with instructions to receive additional grocery assistance.
Supporting First Responders
At Atmos Energy, we believe our first responders are integral to keeping our communities safe, and we pay tribute to their selflessness year-round.
In our Colorado and Kansas communities, our team donated more than $40,000 in 2022 to local fire departments and volunteer fire departments so that they could purchase personal protective gear and innovative technology. These funds also support firefighter training, community safety programs that teach home safety tips and natural disaster preparedness, as well as search and rescue efforts for victims of avalanches, wildfires, or even white-water rafting accidents.
Our support for first responders also includes safety training—since June 2022, we have conducted 44 training sessions for more than 840 fire and rescue personnel at our Charles K. Vaughan Center in Plano, Texas. These training sessions include two hours of classroom discussion that cover the properties of natural gas to determine on-site actions needed during an emergency, as well as safety procedures identified to protect first responders and ways the departments can work in tandem with our employees. Another hour includes a tour of the Flow Lab and Gas City, two specially built training areas located on the CKV campus.
“This is about relationship building and safety. If there is an emergency, our employees are more than likely acquainted with the fire and rescue personnel onsite, which provides a great working relationship before, during, and after the incident.”
Kelee L., Atmos Energy Compliance Analyst
Helping our communities stay warm during the year is one of Atmos Energy’s highest priorities. Through a variety of energy assistance programs, we help eligible customers experiencing financial hardship pay their gas bills on time every month. Throughout the year, Atmos Energy offers financial assistance to the elderly, people with disabilities, veterans,and income-qualified families who need help paying their gas bills. Our Sharing the Warmth program is supported by donations from our customers and Atmos Energy. This program distributes funds to local nonprofit organizations that provide utility bill assistance. We also partner with nonprofit agencies that participate in the federally funded Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), which helps meet the energy needs of underserved families.
This past year our Sharing the Warmth program received customer contributions totaling $1.15 million, which were supplemented by Atmos Energy contributions of $3 million. These generous contributions enabled us to partner with 119 nonprofit organizations within the eight states we serve—helping 25,200 eligible individuals pay their natural gas bills. These funds provide support to customers for utility bills, home weatherization upgrades, and repair and replacement of customer-owned natural gas appliances and piping.
“It is hard to express the joy and satisfaction we experience at Brighter Outlook when individuals with no hope or options for help come to us, and because of Sharing the Warmth, we can say ‘Yes!’ It is enormously rewarding, and we want to say thank you so much for helping us to give a Brighter Outlook to so many.”
Reverend Bruce D. Datcher, Brighter Outlook CEO
Since 2008, Atmos Energy has offered a Conservation and Energy Efficiency Program in the Mid-Tex service area. In the past year, this program, referred to as Keeping the Warmth, helped 380 income-qualified and senior citizen householdsreduce their energy consumption and lower their utility bills. Atmos Energy customers who are at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty guidelines may apply for Keeping the Warmth assistance through one of our partner agencies to receive materials and installation services such as:
- Gas water heater blankets
- Gas heater and water heater replacement
- Attic, wall, and floor insulation
- Caulking, weather-stripping, and duct sealing
- Wall outlet covers, aerators, and carbon monoxide detectors
Energy Assistance Blitzes
To better provide immediate and easy access to funding, Atmos Energy partners with local energy assistance agencies to host “blitzes.” These events take place on a designated day and in partnership with one of hundreds of organizations, like GraceWorks Ministries in Williamson County, Tenn., to distribute Sharing the Warmth funds on a first come, first served basis to customers who attend. No appointment is necessary, and qualified Atmos Energy customers can receive funding on the spot for past-due debt, deposits, and service charges. In 2022, through intentional outreach, education, and communication with its community action agencies, nonprofits, and customers, Atmos Energy helped more than 65,000 households gain access to $34 million through LIHEAP, Sharing the Warmth, and other programs.
“Tara, a single mother, was extremely thankful for all the assistance she received at the blitz event and voiced that she now feels empowered with the confidence to advocate for herself and her daughter. It is our joy to help our neighbors and their families. Our partnership with Atmos Energy gave us the opportunity to provide Tara immediate help and surround her with a variety of community resources to help her reach the goals she set for herself and her family.”
Laurie Siebel, GraceWorks family coach