We believe in the value of diverse perspectives.
It’s one of the reasons the Exelon Foundation has donated $1 million to the National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC), which opened on Sept. 24 in Washington, D.C. It's the first national museum solely devoted to presenting the African American experience.
As one of the museum’s Founding Donors, the Exelon Foundation will be recognized for its contribution in the NMAAHC’s Founding Central Hall and the Smithsonian’s Benefactors Room. There are preliminary plans for the museum and Exelon to collaborate on an event in the Edison Pepco Place Gallery, and once the museum opens up the next round of registration, Exelon employees will be able to volunteer as docents.
Exelon employees who recently visited the museum were struck by its emotional portrayal of African American history, from slavery and the Civil Rights movement to President Barack Obama’s inauguration.
The NMAAHC donation aligns with the Exelon Foundation's mission to seek out and support diverse perspectives, ideas and causes. We also provided $1 million to the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial in 2009. And Exelon was the lead sponsor of the They Seek a City: Chicago and the Art of Migration exhibit at the Art Institute of Chicago in 2013.
“Diversity and inclusion is really part of our corporate fabric; it's part of our culture,” said Steve Solomon, Exelon vice president of corporate relations. “It makes Exelon a special place to work.”
Exelon’s corporate philanthropy benefits diverse communities.
“Exelon’s giving program is focused on four areas: community development, arts and culture, the environment and education,” Solomon said. “The one constant across those four pillars is diversity and inclusion.”
In 2015, Exelon donated $22.5 million, or 68 percent of total giving for that year, to organizations that specifically provide programming or initiatives for diverse populations. Of that $22.5 million in donations, 40 percent targeted more than one diversity group.
Our contributions to diversity-focused organizations extend to partnerships and sponsorships within the communities we serve. Exelon, its Illinois utility ComEd and United Way of Metropolitan Chicago started the Stay in School Initiative 11 years ago. The program has helped more than 25,000 Chicago students gain access to resources and stay on track to finish high school. The initiative focuses on areas with high dropout rates, and in the most recent school year, the program saw 92 percent graduation rate for seniors.
Through volunteer work and mentorship programs, our employees also do their share in supporting organizations and causes that target the diverse communities where we live and work. For example, during this year’s National Volunteer Week in April, 3,800 Exelon employees donated 15,000 hours at 230 events.
“When you look at what we do as a company, our employees provide safe and reliable service to our customers,” Solomon said. “It’s really part of our job, helping the community. Exelon employees want to volunteer and serve.”
Exelon has developed an inclusive workplace for our employees, and our diversity helps drive our success.
Since taking on her current role in 2000, Janese Murray, Exelon vice president of diversity and inclusion, has built those values into the business and helped Exelon raise the bar even higher.
"Diversity and inclusion is for real at Exelon," Murray said. "It’s integrated into everything we do, including our performance metrics.”
Each senior leader at Exelon creates a diversity and inclusion plan and measures progress. We also make sure we’re doing business with diverse partners. In 2015, we spent $1.4 billion with women- and minority-owned suppliers, up from our 2014 total of $1.1 billion.
Employees are leading the way, as well. There are 36 chapters of Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) across the enterprise, which have almost exclusively been started by employees. These ERGs – such as the Exelon African American Resource Alliance and Exelon PRIDE – help build connections to communities of employees, helping foster a culture of inclusion and respect. Approximately 7,500 Exelon employees are in at least one ERG.
Murray said making diversity and inclusion paramount in all aspects and on all levels of our company is a benefit to our workforce, our suppliers and Exelon’s performance, too.
“Innovative ideas, increased productivity and increased retention are all results of sustaining a broad view of talent in a world that’s more demographically diverse,” Murray said. “We can’t afford to sit back and be comfortable with the status quo, especially when we operate in a constantly changing energy industry. We need the best leadership, strategy and ingenuity—and we get that by embracing diversity.”