Building Bonds: Teaming up with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Ross County

Allen Hull

About the Author

Allen Hull
Operations Manager

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Shortly after I joined the National Grid Renewables team in July 2022, I got wind about our involvement with Kiewit concerning a fundraiser for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Ross County in Chillicothe, Ohio. I grew up right in that area, this project felt close to home—so I jumped right in.

To me, Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) stands as a testament to the power of giving back. This is an organization that truly embodies the idea that when you give, you receive even more in return. They offer life-changing mentorship programs for at-risk kids who are in need of guidance and support. And what’s truly amazing is that many of the connections formed during the program end up lasting a lifetime. I’ve seen this firsthand here in Ross County—and it’s a cycle of positivity that only keeps growing stronger.

But while I’ve had previous experiences with BBBS, this was my first time working on a community giving project with National Grid Renewables. It was immediately clear that, just like BBBS, National Grid Renewables is an organization that believes in a deeper level of commitment and support for the community.

I’ll tell a quick story: After National Grid Renewables and Kiewit donated $10,000 to BBBS, we found out they needed a ramp for people with disabilities. Rather than leaving it to them to use our monetary donation for the ramp, our construction teams stepped in to actually purchase and install it for them. For me, this experience highlights how powerful and rewarding it can be when a person, or an organization, is able to put their unique skills and resources to work to make a meaningful impact.

A Shared Commitment to Community

The Yellowbud team delivers a donation check to Big Brothers Big Sisters of South Central Ohio.

I certainly don’t have a long history with National Grid Renewables’ commitment to community engagement, yet the experiences I’ve had in just a few months made a big impression on me. While lots of companies talk the talk around community support, I’ve seen how this organization lives out those values in a number of ways.

Here’s another example: We partner with our contractor, Kiewit, to help find new community causes to support. When they take on remote projects, they look for local charities that could use help. Between our two organizations, we’ve had some big charitable engagements, like our $10,000 donation to BBBS, and regular donations to the local food bank. They also look beyond the obvious—not just the large charitable organizations but also local churches and community groups. That helps us to broaden our scope, and in turn, deepen our impact in the community. To get even more specific, working with these smaller community organizations often gives us a better opportunity to form genuine relationships with community leaders and individual community members.

Looking Ahead with Purpose

One other difference I see with National Grid Renewables’ community support work is that we’re not just looking at immediate engagements today; we’re making longer-term commitments toward the future, too. Right now, we’re planning on teaming up with the Ohio 4-H, local churches, and community groups for our upcoming Greenfield project. My colleague, Greg Courter, likes to point out how these kinds of partnerships do more than just help our projects succeed; they make the whole community stronger for the long term. I’m right there with him on that.

Look, we all know that the bottom line matters. Businesses need to turn a profit. But what I’ve seen with National Grid Renewables is that we put our commitment to supporting the community first. It’s not something we only do when we have extra budget, and it’s not the first line item that gets cut when budgets get tight. We keep on giving back, because it’s part of who we are—from corporate leadership to the folks out in the field.

I think the underlying difference is that we’re not all here to make the most profit; we’re here to make a lasting, positive impact. We all really believe that our renewable energy projects are helping drive positive change—in these communities and in our broader world. And we also believe in going further to be a positive force for change in these communities.

I may be early in my tenure at National Grid Renewables, but I know I’m in it for the long haul. I’m excited about what we’re doing, and I’m excited about the positive changes I can keep making in my community.

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