TUCSON, Ariz.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Tucson Electric Power’s Powerful Choice Challenge, an online contest where five local nonprofits have the chance to win $125,000 in honor of the company’s 125th anniversary, kicks off today and runs through Oct. 25.
During TEP’s Powerful Choice Challenge, the community is invited to visit tep.com to cast votes for one of five nonprofit agencies: the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona, Habitat for Humanity Tucson, Junior Achievement of Arizona, the Primavera Foundation and Tucson Values Teachers.
The agency that receives the most votes during the contest will receive a $125,000 contribution from TEP. The company also will make contributions ranging from $20,000 to $5,000 to the challenge runners-up. All contributions are funded from company resources, not customers’ rates.
The contest is part of TEP’s yearlong celebration of 125 years of service to Tucson. Since it was founded by a group of local business leaders in 1892, TEP has worked to improve the quality of life in Southern Arizona through philanthropy and community service.
Participating agencies were selected by TEP based on their community impact and the strength of their project proposals. The agencies, and their projects, include:
- Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona: Culinary Job Training That Feeds Southern Arizona – The Community Food Bank’s Caridad Community Kitchen provides culinary and job skills training to low-income individuals who are committed to self-improvement. Most Caridad students have much to reclaim: sobriety, a home, a family, or self-reliance. Students learn culinary skills by preparing over 150,000 nutritious meals each year for vulnerable children, the homeless and working poor, and homebound seniors. Funds from TEP will help feed the hungry today while preparing a new class of Caridad students for successful careers in the culinary industry. More than 85 percent of Caridad Community Kitchen graduates maintain gainful employment.
- Habitat for Humanity Tucson: A Brush With Kindness – An estimated 39,000 Pima County homes are substandard and in need of major repair. Habitat Tucson is committed to ensuring that everyone has a safe, decent place to live by repairing homes for our senior, veteran and disabled neighbors. Funds from TEP would help Habitat Tucson improve the lives of 70 limited-income families by completing critical home repairs, including energy efficiency upgrades that reduce their utility costs. Habitat Tucson’s A Brush With Kindness program also will help restore dignity to these homes with a fresh coat of paint, accessibility ramps and grab bars for improving mobility, and other special touches that make a house a home.
- Junior Achievement of Arizona: STEM-IT Summit – Junior Achievement of Arizona (JA) delivers critical science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) programs to middle school students from local limited-income families. Funds from TEP will allow JA to provide these lessons to an additional 2,000 Tucson students, preparing them for the workforce of the future. Through the first-ever local JA STEM-IT Summit and classroom lessons, students will gain critical thinking and technical skills to secure future STEM employment. JA’s proven model leverages educational partnerships and passionate volunteers to maximize impact. JA participants graduate at a higher rate than other Arizona students and, as adults, are 2.5 times more likely to start a business. JA envisions thousands of its students improving our community by pursuing productive STEM careers.
- Primavera Foundation: Casa Paloma Women’s Shelter – Homeless women, often fleeing abuse, have few options. Shelters are typically full, and the women face other challenges that may impede their ability to access mainstream services such as physical and mental health challenges, substance abuse or chronic homelessness. Casa Paloma gives homeless, single women refuge, comfort and support. The women-only center helps participants stabilize their lives by helping them to secure employment and housing. The center offers weekly life skills sessions such as financial empowerment, conflict resolution and domestic violence awareness. Casa Paloma provides shower and laundry facilities, meals, blankets, hygiene items and clothing to 235 women annually. Funds from TEP would help renovate the 62-year-old shelter with numerous health, safety and energy efficiency improvements.
- Tucson Values Teachers: Light Bulb Moments for Students – Teachers matter more to student success than any other aspect of schooling. But low pay, heavy workloads and a lack of support and respect are driving teachers out of the state or the profession. Funds from TEP would help Tucson Values Teachers (TVT) show 12,000 teachers that the community values their work to help 250,000 Southern Arizona students succeed in school and in life. TVT proposes collecting nominations of excellent teachers and recognizing 125 of them in a celebration during Teacher Appreciation Week. Each teacher would receive $500 to empower their students with "light bulb moments" of learning. These funds have an impact beyond the classroom because a strong education system benefits students and improves the quality of life for everyone.
To participate in the Powerful Choice Challenge, voters must be 18 years or older and live or work in TEP’s service area. People may vote once per day after visiting tep.com, clicking on challenge promotion and then clicking on their preferred nonprofit during the official voting period of 6 a.m. MST Monday, Oct. 16, to 6 a.m. MST Wednesday, Oct. 25, 2017. Votes for each nonprofit will be displayed upon scrolling over their images on the challenge homepage. At the conclusion of the challenge on Oct. 25, TEP will declare the winner on its website and social media platforms.
The Powerful Choice Challenge represents just part of TEP’s ongoing philanthropic investment in Southern Arizona. TEP will contribute more than $1.5 million this year to local charities from corporate resources, not customers’ rates. The company also contributes significant in-kind support, and its employees volunteer thousands of hours for the causes closest to their hearts.
TEP serves nearly 420,000 customers in Southern Arizona. TEP and its parent company, UNS Energy, are subsidiaries of Fortis Inc., which owns utilities that serve more than 3 million customers across Canada and in the United States and the Caribbean. For more information, visit tep.com.