About the AuthorBrett Kreiser Wind Plant Manager – Green River
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All three National Grid Renewables employees at our Green River wind farm grew up here in the Green River community. All of us benefitted from the local Green River 4-H organization. Now our kids are benefitting from 4-H. It’s one of the core institutions in this community.
So, it was personally meaningful that National Grid Renewables was able to partner with Green River 4-H and donate last year. On a broader level, that community partnership is the perfect example of National Grid Renewables’ unique way of doing business: our roots in the soil of America’s rural, agricultural communities, and our continued commitment to farmer-friendly, community-focused business practices.
Bringing community giving down to the local level
In addition to the local community fund allocated annually for every National Grid Renewables project, the staff at every project site also have an annual charitable giving budget. It’s meaningful because we get to have a direct hand in helping the community.
When Green River 4-H reached out last year about donating, we immediately knew it was something we wanted to do. Making the donation to Green River 4-H was a powerful way to show our support for the community today — and to show we’re just as committed to the long-term sustainable future of agriculture in this community.
4-H both symbolizes and directly nurtures this future of agriculture. It helps young people think more broadly about what a future career in agriculture could look like, how that future is changing in exciting ways, and how they can be a part of that change for the better. But it also makes them think more broadly about careers outside of agriculture.
For example, our National Grid Renewables employees go to the 4-H center to work with kids, and those kids also take field trips here to our project site. These experiences open their eyes to the growing world of renewables. They see how renewables are helping (and literally powering) their communities, bringing energy right into their homes. They get to see how a project is bringing jobs and building sustainable economic growth in their community. And they get an up-close look at some of the exciting, tech-driven careers in renewables that still enable them to make a big impact in their home community.
Face-time matters more than money
The Green River onsite team
Left, Brett Kreiser; Center, Jeremy Harms; Right, Jacob Stewart
One thing we constantly hear from community members is, “You guys show up.” People know they can call when they have a need, and we will come out to help and lend a hand however we can.
I think that speaks to the difference in how National Grid Renewables approaches community support. Lots of companies give money. But letting your people spend work hours getting personally involved in community support — that’s not normal.
And it makes a huge difference, because it’s hard to make time for volunteer work after work hours. People are busy, they’re tired, they have families. Having the ability to do it during work hours and do it under the company’s name — it feels pretty good to know that your company actually cares enough to let you do that.
Expanding local impacts
Looking to next year, we’re planning to make another donation to Green River 4-H. We’re excited to continue working with them, and are already planning several work days at the Green River 4-H fairgrounds to help with maintenance and building repair. We’ve also made a donation to one of the high school football programs here in the community.
The important thing is that we show the community we’re not going anywhere. We’re not just throwing money at communities in the development stage, and then disappearing. National Grid Renewables is invested in our projects — and investing in our communities — for the long haul.