PPL Electric Utilities and PPL Gas Utilities presented a total of 27 company funded grants for marketing, promotion and advertising initiatives aimed at attracting development in the areas they serve in Pennsylvania.
"PPL believes that support for community and economic development is not only good for our business but also the right way to do business. Through our partnership approach to economic development, we focus on direct support that enables regional and local organizations to do what they do best," said Donald M. Bernhard, manager of Community and Economic Development for PPL Electric Utilities.
Added to a first round of grants awarded earlier this year, PPL Electric Utilities has provided more than $153,000 in funding for economic development projects in its service area in 2003.
Blue Ribbon grants are awarded on a competitive basis, Bernhard said. In the selection process, PPL looks for initiatives that it feels will be effective in marketing areas that its utility subsidiaries serve.
Of these initiatives website enhancement has received the most support. The project also supports seminars to bring in website developers. Aside form website enhancement the Blue Ribbon project has funded direct mail campaigns, provided the mean necessary to update printed materials and sponsored special events.
"In the fiercely competitive world of economic development, we partner with organizations that represent the communities we serve. We want to help them become more effective in getting their messages across to corporate executives, real estate brokers and site selection specialists," he said.
Bernhard described the application process as brief and informal. PPL looks for applicants who show a constant effort to improve and grow. They also want organizations to have other grants. This gives an organization a chance to leverage the grant by making request for public grants to match PPL's private donation. Once the organization has been approved for a grant PPL request that they complete the designated efforts before they are reimbursed. This effort has provided PPL a chance to work with nearly all of their partners and numerous networking opportunities. The project has received positive feedback.
In addition to the marketing grant program, PPL helps its regional and local partners by funding training for their economic development professionals, providing leadership for community and economic development activities. The PPL Company provides this support by contributing to the basic training of new staff members to economic development teams by granting scholarships to send them to the Pennsylvania Basic Economic Development Course. PPL also maintains a database of available industrial and office properties that covers 45 Pennsylvania counties. The database is accessible through PPL's Economic Development Web site: www.pplweb.com/econdev.
PPL Electric Utilities is a subsidiary of PPL Corporation. Headquartered in Allentown, Pa., PPL Corporation controls about 11,500 megawatts of generating capacity in the United States, sells energy in key U.S. markets and delivers electricity to customers in Pennsylvania, the United Kingdom and Latin America.
By: Ashley Davison