The Norfolk Southern Foundation, the charitable giving arm of Norfolk Southern Corp. increased its giving by 13 percent last year to $7 million.
The foundation supports programs to help nonprofit organizations in providing food, shelter, and medical care to those in need; expanding educational opportunities for children; preserving the environment; and promoting arts and culture.
In 2012, the donations included:
• $2.55 million to 80 United Way campaigns and other health and human services groups: More than $1 million of this amount was distributed among The American Red Cross to assist with Superstorm Sandy relief; ForKids Inc. to help homeless families with children become self-supporting; and food pantries, including the Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia, Central Pennsylvania Food Bank, Atlanta Community Food Bank, and Feeding America Southwest Virginia.
• $1.24 million to cultural and performing arts groups, including: Virginia Arts Festival, Virginia Opera, Virginia Symphony, Virginia Stage Company, Chrysler Museum, North Carolina Transportation Museum, Western Virginia Foundation for the Arts and Sciences, Woodruff Arts Center, and Zoo Atlanta.
• $1.14 million to educational organizations: Benefiting from the 15 percent funding increase in this category were Virginia Early Childhood Foundation and Smart Beginnings-Hampton Roads, which prepare children to enter kindergarten; the ACCESS Scholarship Foundation, which provides scholarships to enable high school graduates in Hampton Roads to attend college; and 16 universities that received $300,000 in grants under the Norfolk Southern College Partnership Program. This program, established in 2006, builds relationships to enhance the railroad’s recruiting opportunities, particularly for business and engineering graduates.
• $345,000 to civic, community, and environmental groups: As part of its environmental support, the Foundation provided grants to the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Nature Conservancy of Virginia, and Elizabeth River Project to protect ecologically important lands and waters for nature and people. NS also supported the American Chestnut Foundation’s project to reforest reclaimed mine sites in Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, Virginia, and Kentucky with native, disease-resistant American chestnut trees.
Each year, the NS Foundation gives its operations division employees an opportunity to recommend eligible nonprofit organizations in their communities to receive grants. During 2012, $180,000 was awarded to police, fire, and emergency response organizations; school programs; and historical and community groups as part of NS’ local discretion grant program.
Overall, grants were made to 350 organizations in Norfolk Southern’s operating territory, and an additional 525 organizations benefitted from $1.66 million in employee matching gifts.
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