FirstEnergy Foundation Presents “Gifts of the Season” to Local Charities in The Illuminating Company’s Service Area

The giveaways are part of the FirstEnergy Foundation’s annual holiday campaign

BRECKSVILLE, Ohio, December 15, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — The FirstEnergy Foundation has granted a surprise $5,000 “Gifts of the Season” to two local non-profit organizations that strive to improve the lives of communities within The Illuminating Company’s service area.

The Illuminating Company logo (PRNewsfoto/FirstEnergy Corp.)

This year’s gift recipients are EDWINS Leadership & Restaurant Institute at Cleveland, Cuyahoga Countyand HOLA Ohio in Painesville, Lake County – two organizations that provide support services to underserved and vulnerable people of all ages across the greater Cleveland region.

“We are proud to support these organizations as their missions align with our commitment to a diverse, equitable and inclusive workplace where everyone feels valued, included and respected,” said Lorna Wisham, President of the FirstEnergy Foundation. “The winners were chosen by FirstEnergy External Affairs employees who identified organizations in their area that are doing extraordinary work to strengthen the community and improve the lives of vulnerable and underserved populations.”

Established in 2007, EDWINS Leadership & Restaurant Institute provides formerly incarcerated adults with a foundation in the culinary and hospitality industries, while providing housing and support services necessary for their long-term success at its Second Chance Life Skills Center. Nearly 100 students graduate from the Institute each year, and 95% of graduates are employed in catering and catering establishments across Ohio.

“We believe that every human being, regardless of their past, has the right to a fair and equal future,” said Brandon Christowski, Founder, President and COO of EDWINS Leadership & Restaurant Institute. “Generous funds from the FirstEnergy Foundation will support our ongoing mission to help returning citizens receive the training and support services needed for long-term success.”

Likewise, HOLA Ohio is calling on the hospitality industry to help drive education, workforce development, and entrepreneurship in the Northeast. from ohio Latino and immigrant communities. The news of the organization $2 million HOLA Hispanic Community Center, which is expected to open in March 2022will include a commercial kitchen, classrooms and meeting spaces to help individuals hone their culinary and entrepreneurial skills.

“Our new community center will allow us to expand programs and services that equip Latin American families with skills that will lead to better jobs and economic stability, while celebrating their culture and helping them lead more healthy,” said Veronica Isabel Dahlbergexecutive director of HOLA Ohio.

Photos of FirstEnergy’s annual “Gifts of the Season” voucher presentations are shared on social media using the hashtag #GiftsofFE. Since its creation in 2016, the campaign has rewarded almost $500,000 to organizations working to strengthen communities.

The FirstEnergy Foundation is funded solely by FirstEnergy Corp. (NYSE: FE) and provides support to nonprofit, tax-exempt health and social service organizations; educational organizations; cultural and artistic programs and institutions; and civic groups in areas served by FirstEnergy’s 10 electricity operating companies and in areas where the company does business.

The Illuminating Company serves more than 750,000 customers across Ashtabula, Cuyahoga, Geauga, Lake and Lorain counties. Follow The Illuminating Company on Twitter @IlluminatingCo and on Facebook at

FirstEnergy is dedicated to integrity, safety, reliability and operational excellence. Its 10 electricity distribution companies form one of the largest investor-owned electricity networks in the country, serving customers in Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, West Virginia, Maryland and New York. The Company’s transmission subsidiaries operate approximately 24,000 miles of transmission lines that connect the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic regions. Follow FirstEnergy online at and on Twitter @FirstEnergyCorp.

Editor’s note: Photos of the gifts of the season presented to these organizations by FirstEnergy representatives can be downloaded from Flickr.



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SOURCE First Energy Corp.