Friday, October 16, 2020

#FridayGiving: An elephant ton of excitement at the Milwaukee County Zoo

Head over to the Milwaukee County Zoo to check out resident African elephants, Brittany, Ruth and Belle, at the Adventure Africa Elephant Exhibit. The exhibit is thanks in part to a $750,000 gift to the Zoological Society of Milwaukee from the We Energies Foundation. 


The exhibit features a 1.6-acre outdoor habitat, a 20,000-square-foot Elephant Care Center, individual stalls for training and elephant health care, and various indoor and outdoor enrichment activities to keep the elephants happy and healthy.

Zoo visitors are able to view the elephant exhibit and the new multispecies hoofstock exhibit from the We Energies Foundation Elephant Overlook — a second-floor terrace on the southeast corner of the elephant care center. The We Energies Foundation African Forest Garden adds beauty between the two exhibit areas. 




“The We Energies Foundation focuses on creating a brighter future for the communities we serve, and the zoo is a wonderful example of an organization that makes a positive community impact,” said Beth Straka, vice president — We Energies Foundation and senior vice president — corporate communications and investor relations at WEC Energy Group.

The Zoological Society of Milwaukee, a nonprofit that helps fundraise and support the Milwaukee County Zoo, continues to fundraise for their Window to the Wild campaign to complete Adventure Africa. Many of the African animals (impalas, hippos, rhinos, zebras and bongos) will live near one another in new habitats that look and feel expansive and open. Learn more about Adventure Africa.

#FridayGiving

Since the early 1980s, We Energies has invested hundreds of millions of dollars in communities across the state.

Read more about our yearlong effort to highlight some of the incredible organizations we support here.

Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter to make sure you don’t miss any #FridayGiving posts.


Friday, October 9, 2020

#FridayGiving: Literacy Services helps adults head back to school, improve their lives

When you hear the phrase “back to school” you usually picture little kids heading back into the classroom after summer break. But for Literacy Services of Wisconsin, “back to school” means helping adult learners break down barriers and explore new opportunities for themselves and their families.


We Energies is proud to support Literacy Services as they celebrate 55 years in our community. The organization provides motivated adults with access to quality basic education and skills training so they can improve their lives and strengthen our community. Last year, volunteers and staff helped more than 1,000 adult learners build literacy skills, improve their English and earn high school credentials.



To learn more about Literacy Services’ impact and how you can get involved, visit their website

#FridayGiving

Since the early 1980s, We Energies has invested hundreds of millions of dollars in communities across the state. 

Read more about our yearlong effort to highlight some of the incredible organizations we support here

Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter to make sure you don’t miss any #FridayGiving posts. 

Friday, September 25, 2020

#FridayGiving: We Energies’ Public Service Building taking part in virtual Doors Open

Like many Milwaukee organizations, Historic Milwaukee had a tough choice to make this year: cancel their annual Doors Open event or find a way to adapt. As a proud sponsor of the event, we’re pleased to report they chose the latter — and starting Saturday, Sept. 26, we’ll be taking part in a virtual Doors Open 2020.

In years past, historic buildings have opened their doors to the public as part of a citywide celebration of Milwaukee’s architecture. This year, more than 60 buildings are part of the online festivities, running through Sunday, Oct. 11.

We’re excited to showcase some of the incredible, historic features of the Public Service Building (PSB), our 115-year-old headquarters. Visitors to the PSB webpage will learn that construction began on the building in 1902. It was designed as a central station for The Milwaukee Electric Railway and Light Co. (TMER&L), a predecessor of We Energies. 

You can still see many of the beautiful neoclassical details from the outside, as well as the replica green doors where rail cars used to enter and exit the building. We’ve posted plenty of pictures of the inside, too. 

To learn more and take part in this year’s virtual event, visit the Doors Open website.

#FridayGiving

Since the early 1980s, We Energies has invested hundreds of millions of dollars in communities across the state. 

Read more about our yearlong effort to highlight some of the incredible organizations we support here

Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter to make sure you don’t miss any #FridayGiving posts. 

Friday, September 18, 2020

#FridayGiving: Our support helps the Addiction Resource Council teach kids to say no

Parents know the transition from middle school to high school can be tough, but the Addiction Resource Council (ARC) in Waukesha County is working to make sure 7th through 9th graders have the skills they need to make good decisions. The We Energies Foundation is proud to support their mission through the Resist the Influence program.



As part of the program, trained professionals teach kids how to recognize negative outside influences and the impact those influences can have on their lives. The goal is to prevent the students from trying e-cigarettes, alcohol and drugs. The program teaches students to make decisions that reflect who they are, not who someone is pressuring them to be.



To learn more about the Addiction Resource Council, visit their website.

#FridayGiving

Since the early 1980s, We Energies has invested hundreds of millions of dollars in communities across the state.

Read more about our yearlong effort to highlight some of the incredible organizations we support here

Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter to make sure you don’t miss any #FridayGiving posts.

Friday, September 11, 2020

Educators continue learning with help from the We Energies Foundation

Students are just getting back to school, but many teachers have been working hard throughout the year, continuing their education to prepare their students for success. That’s where the Milwaukee Teacher Education Center (MTEC) comes in. The not-for-profit was designed to recruit, support and retain teachers and school leaders in urban settings. 

Teachers gather for training in February 2020


The We Energies Foundation is a proud sponsor of the organization, as it provides teachers with continuous training to help the next generation succeed. Its goal is to increase learning and close achievement gaps through effective teaching.

The current health crisis has taken a toll on students and teachers alike. Although the center provides many different options for educators, MTEC is offering educators training and tools to support students impacted by trauma during the coronavirus pandemic.

To learn more about MTEC and its incredible mission, visit its website.

#FridayGiving

Since the early 1980s, We Energies has invested hundreds of millions of dollars in communities across the state.

Read more about our yearlong effort to highlight some of the incredible organizations we support here.

Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter to make sure you don’t miss any #FridayGiving posts.

Friday, September 4, 2020

Put energy efficiency on your back-to-school list

Back-to-school looks different for a lot of families this year, as many children are still learning at home. We put together some energy-efficient lesson plans that will help you and your stay-at-home students manage energy costs.




Show them this bright idea: Turn off lights when no one needs them. Use dimmer switches on indoor lights and switch to LED bulbs. They use up to 75% less energy than standard incandescent bulbs.

Tell them they have the power: Power strips that is. Many electronics consume energy even when they aren’t being used. Often called energy vampires, these devices can cost up to $100 a year. Plugging chargers, computers and gaming equipment into a power strip lets you turn them off with one switch. Better yet, use a smart power strip. It turns off automatically when devices are not in use.

Soak up knowledge … and savings: The average household spends about $300 a year on water heating costs. Lowering your water heater thermostat to 120 degrees is an easy do-it-yourself lesson to show your kids and help manage energy costs.

Keep minds open and the refrigerator door closed: Did you know we open our refrigerators on average 33 times per day? Minimize the number of times you open your refrigerator door. An open door allows warm, moist air in, which makes the compressor work harder. Pick a snack ahead of time, so you don’t leave the door open too long.

Follow a dress code: As the weather gets cooler, throw on a sweater, rather than cranking up the heat. Better yet, install a programmable thermostat, so no one needs to touch that dial.

It’s never too soon to teach your kids about energy efficiency. For more easy tips visit our website



Wednesday, September 2, 2020

From the archives: We Energies homefront efforts during WWII

Companies nationwide played crucial roles in supporting the Allies throughout World War II, and We Energies was no exception. We Energies — and its employees — had a hand in the ultimate victory, which happened officially on Sept. 2, 1945. 

At Wisconsin Electric Power Co., which later became We Energies, the Public Service Building in downtown Milwaukee was a venue for USO dances, draftee orientation, award ceremonies and other events in support of the war effort. The company participated in the drive to find and recycle usable scrap for military use, and more than 3,000 tons were turned in during 1942 alone.
Although the company participated in government programs to conserve fuel, manpower and materials, and customers were asked to conserve energy, war-time industrial demand for electricity skyrocketed. The system’s combined output more than doubled between 1938 and 1944. Heavy industries accounted for most of the growth.

The company had transit lines then that played a vital role too. The interurban system and trolley buses transported draftees to downtown Milwaukee, where they connected with the train to Fort Sheridan or the Great Lakes naval station for deployment. And as automobile production was suspended and gasoline and tires were rationed, a growing number of factory workers depended on trolleys and buses day and night. Passenger traffic jumped from 218 million riders in 1938 to 428 million in 1944. Signs on company street cars urged citizens to buy war bonds. 

Sadly, sixteen of the 1,014 Wisconsin Electric Power Co. employees who were deployed were lost to the war.



Friday, August 28, 2020

#FridayGiving: We Energies Foundation announces inaugural Rewarding Responders Grants

The We Energies Foundation is awarding $50,000 in grants to public safety agencies across Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula to purchase lifesaving equipment. 

The money is being awarded to more than 30 departments through the inaugural We Energies Rewarding Responders Grants. Each recipient has been awarded up to $2,000.

We Energies President Tom Metcalfe personally awarded a grant to Milwaukee Fire Chief Mark Rohlfing and other members of the Milwaukee Fire Department. They plan to use the grant to purchase a combustible gas detector.



Other recipients include: 

City of Waukesha Fire Department — Waukesha firefighters will use the grant to replace aging carbon monoxide (CO) meters in each of their oxygen delivery bags. Carbon monoxide is a deadly gas that is both colorless and odorless. The department says the CO meters are their first line of defense in protecting paramedics and their patients.

City of Brookfield Fire Department — The Brookfield Fire Department has requested funding to buy firefighter rehabilitation equipment, including a specialized cooling towel. Rehabilitation equipment helps reduce the risk of firefighter injury.

Town of Ixonia Fire Department — The Ixonia Fire Department will use the grant to replace outdated power saws. The fire department keeps the saws on their front line engines and uses them to help extricate victims after car crashes, during fires and even natural disasters.

Fond du Lac County Sheriff’s Office — The sheriff’s office will use the grant to help fund their public safety drone program. Their goal is to train deputies to become drone pilots, which will help keep the community safe.

City of Port Washington Fire Department — The Port Washington Fire Department requested funding to replace outdated combustible gas and carbon monoxide detectors. Carbon monoxide is a deadly gas that is both colorless and odorless. Gas detectors can serve as a first line of defense in protecting firefighters and the public.

Appleton Fire Department — The Appleton Fire Department will use the grant to purchase a new fire hose. The fire department has been trying to replace older hoses over the last few years.

West Allis Fire Department — The West Allis Fire Department requested funding to purchase thermal imaging cameras. The cameras help firefighters see hazards through smoke and can help save lives if someone is trapped inside a burning building.

City of Franklin Fire Department — Franklin firefighters plan to use the grant to purchase personal voltage detectors. Voltage detectors can help prevent electrocution if firefighters respond to a scene with downed wires or other electrical equipment.

City of South Milwaukee
— The City will use the grant to purchase portable scene lights. They say that slips, trips and falls are the biggest causes of injuries at emergency incident scenes, with many attributed to poor lighting. Portable lights are easy to use and will make emergency response safer.

Crystal Falls Township Fire Department — The Crystal Falls Fire Department plans to use the grant to upgrade their breathing equipment with newer air bottles. New bottles weigh less, which helps reduce firefighter fatigue.

Nordic Ambulance Service — Nordic Ambulance Service, based in Foster City, requested funding to purchase more portable automated external defibrillators (AEDs). They say the new equipment will reduce response time and save lives.

The grants are part of We Energies’ commitment to safety in the communities the company serves. 

Since the early 1980s, We Energies has invested hundreds of millions of dollars in communities across its service territory. 

Friday, August 21, 2020

#FridayGiving: We Energies helps bring the Streets of Old Milwaukee to life

The Milwaukee Public Museum has reopened to the public. If you’re planning a trip, make sure to visit the Streets of Old Milwaukee.

From the immersive street car to Granny in her rocking chair to Abby the cat (have you found her yet?), the exhibit always wows visitors. We Energies is proud to support the popular reimagined exhibit through a multi-year financial pledge.


We believe it’s important to support community organizations and businesses in our service area – including museums, art groups and certain sport franchises – all of which bring an economic benefit to the communities we serve and contribute to our quality of life.

If you haven’t seen the new Streets of Old Milwaukee, plan a trip today.


#FridayGiving

Since the early 1980s, We Energies has invested hundreds of millions of dollars in communities across the state.

Read more about our year-long effort to highlight some of the incredible organizations we support here

Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter to make sure you don’t miss any #FridayGiving posts.

Friday, August 14, 2020

#FridayGiving: Helping a Milwaukee family build their dream home

On a warm summer day in Milwaukee, volunteers from We Energies strapped on tool belts, helmets and masks and went to work building a house for Habitat for Humanity.

We Energies President Tom Metcalfe stopped by to thank the volunteers and help out with the build.

“We talk about heroes in the community, and I think We Energies has really stepped up here. We’re not only challenged by storms this time of year and the COVID-19 pandemic, but we’re still finding time to put our hearts and soul into some of these important projects,” Metcalfe said.


Over the course of two days, volunteers climbed ladders, hammered nails and sawed wood. Their efforts will help a family build a safe, affordable home.

 

“I could not be prouder of the association we have with Habitat for Humanity,” Metcalfe said. “It goes back 25 years we’ve been supporting this organization, not only with funding, but with volunteers who come out here – giving up their time - to work on these important projects.”



#FridayGiving

Since the early 1980s, We Energies has invested hundreds of millions of dollars in communities across the state.

Read more about our yearlong effort to highlight some of the incredible organizations we support here.

Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter to make sure you don’t miss any #FridayGiving posts.

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Spartacus named new safe digging ‘ambassadog’

Dozens of dogs entered and almost 12,000 customers voted. On Aug. 11 (811 day), Spartacus, a 6-year-old, 6-pound Pomeranian from Caledonia, Wisconsin, was named our new safe digging “ambassadog”!

He may be little, but we’re giving him the huge responsibility of reminding our customers to call 811 at least three days before you dig.

Keep an eye out for Spartacus as part of our new ad campaign:

About 811

Whether you’re planting a garden or installing a fence, you could be putting yourself in danger if you strike an underground natural gas line or electrical cable. Contact 811 at least three days before you dig to have the location of buried utility lines marked — and to keep you and your family safe. 

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Doggone it! Cast your vote for our next safe digging ‘ambassadog’

Voting is now underway to select the next star of We Energies’ safe digging campaign! The winner will help us promote an important safety message: Doggone it! Call 811 at least three days before you dig.

Dozens of We Energies customers submitted pictures of their pups — we’ve narrowed it down to 10 finalists.

Now, we’re giving you the “paw-some” responsibility of voting for the “ulti-mutt” winner. You can vote as many times as you like between now and Wednesday, Aug. 5.

We’ll reveal our new “ambassadog” Tuesday, Aug. 11 — 811 Day.

About 811

Whether you’re planting a garden or installing a fence, you could be putting yourself in danger if you strike an underground natural gas line or electrical cable. Contact 811 at least three days before you dig to have the location of buried utility lines marked — and to keep you and your family safe.

Friday, July 17, 2020

Paying it forward: We Energies group supports academic dreams for two local youths

We Energies employee members of the American Association of Blacks in Energy (AABE) – Wisconsin chapter recently presented scholarships to Derek Coleman and Taylor Jagers, two Milwaukee-area high school seniors. The scholarships are part of the group's participation in the Adopt a High School Senior Program.

The Adopt a High School Senior Program was started as a Facebook group dedicated to uplifting Wisconsin’s high school seniors during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Coleman and Jagers are graduates of Golda Meir High School and both plan to attend Milwaukee Area Technical College (MATC).

Coleman is part of the We Energies design apprenticeship program. “Growing up in Milwaukee is no easy task just like life itself,” Coleman said. “There were obstacles along the way that tried to distract and hinder me. It was my responsibility to myself to prevail over these obstacles. Milwaukee has prepared me for the world in the best way.” 

Derek Coleman received funds toward his future education. 

Jagers is pursuing a career in computer engineering. In her free time, she helps care for her disabled grandmother and enjoys listening to music, dancing and coming up with new cookie recipes with her mom. Jaegers says her favorite quote and words to live by are, “You never know until you try, so always give your best; and if you fail, try again.”

Coleman and Jagers each received $1,000 toward their future education. 

Taylor Jeagers (middle) was presented a scholarship
 from We Energies members of AABE-WI

AABE is a nonprofit professional organization that focuses on issues in the energy sector at the national level and serves as professional resources for its members. It promotes educating youth about careers in energy. Additionally, AABE members network on a national basis to help resolve workplace issues via sharing best practices and expertise. We Energies has 22 employees who participate in this organization.

#FridayGiving

Read more about our yearlong effort to highlight some of the incredible organizations we support here.

Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter to make sure you don’t miss any #FridayGiving posts.

Thursday, July 16, 2020

Customers urged to stay connected

We Energies is urging customers who are behind on their energy bills to contact us as soon as possible to avoid disconnection. 

Disconnection is always a last resort 
If you are having trouble paying your bill, visit our website or call us at 800-842-4565. We are here to work with you to arrange a payment plan and connect you to financial assistance options. 

Energy assistance is available 
Some customers may qualify for energy assistance through the Wisconsin Home Energy Assistance Program (WHEAP). This year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, customers have until Sept. 30 to apply. Additionally, income eligibility has been updated to make it easier for people who have been recently laid off. 

Simple ways to manage costs 
There are many ways to manage your energy costs at home and at work. Visit our website for a handy checklist. 

As always, if you have questions about your bill or think you might have trouble paying, call us at 800-842-4565.

Monday, July 6, 2020

Stay cool with these money-saving tips

To help you stay on the sunny side of life, we have some tips to help you save money on your summer energy bill. 



No cost 

Keep the sun out. Close blinds, shades and drapes on the sunny side of your home during the day to keep the house cooler. 

Adjust your thermostat. When at home, set it a few degrees higher to save energy. When you are away, adjust your thermostat 7 to 10 degrees higher than your normal setting for at least 8 hours a day. This can help you save 10% on your energy bill. 

Manage your energy costs with Budget Billing. Budget Billing spreads your annual charges more evenly over 12 months. 

Turn down the heat by delaying heat-producing activities such as cooking, drying and ironing until evenings or when the weather cools.

Leave thermostat’s fan switch on “auto” so the fan only runs when the furnace runs. Setting the fan to “on” causes it to run all the time.

Low cost 

Seal cracks and gaps around windows, doors and siding with caulk and weather stripping. This keeps cool air in and hot air out. 

Use standing fans, even if you have air conditioning. Circulating cool air makes it feel cooler. 

Install a programmable thermostat for your comfort and convenience. It can adjust the air conditioning for times you typically are away and times you typically are home. You also can program it to reduce cooling when you go to sleep and turn it back up before you wake up in the morning. 

Schedule regular tune-ups for your air conditioner. Seasonal maintenance keeps equipment running safely and efficiently, and saves money in the long run. 

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Bye bye, birdies: We Energies, WPS peregrine falcon chicks leave the nest

The We Energies and Wisconsin Public Service (WPS) falcon chicks (and their parents) are enjoying some pomp and circumstance after reaching another milestone. The chicks have learned to fly and officially joined the class of 2020.


Blaze was the first chick to spread his wings, and his younger brother, Hoppy, was the last. All of the chicks were named in honor of our favorite things about Wisconsin. 

The fledglings will spend the next few weeks learning how to hunt prey and mastering their flying skills. After that, they’ll head off in separate directions to start their own lives.

This year’s class of chicks brings the total number of peregrines hatched, named and banded at We Energies and WPS power plants to 410 since our recovery efforts began in the mid-1990s.

Peregrine falcon program

We Energies and WPS are honored to be a part of a statewide effort to restore the peregrine falcon population. The Department of Natural Resources added peregrine falcons to Wisconsin’s endangered species list in the 1970s.

This program is another way We Energies and WPS demonstrate environmental stewardship. From helping endangered animals and restoring natural habitats, to building new solar facilities and reducing carbon emissions, we are committed to a cleaner future.

Thursday, June 18, 2020

Don’t let a balloon blunder leave your neighborhood in the dark

As we head into the summer of stay-at-home celebrations, we want to remind people there is one party staple that could turn your backyard bash into a blackout — a balloon.

Every year, thousands of our customers lose power in balloon-related outages. Just this past weekend, more than 1,500 customers in Milwaukee lost power when a Mylar balloon came into contact with power lines.

Balloons, especially Mylar balloons, can act as conductors and create a short circuit in a power line. Take a look at what happens when Mylar balloons fly into power equipment and see just how dangerous it can be:

Whether you’re celebrating a birthday or graduation, or just hosting a summer get-together, follow these steps to keep your family safe and the power on:

·       When possible, keep balloons inside.

·       Never release balloons outside.

·       Make sure all balloons are tied securely to a weight that’s heavy enough to keep them from flying away.

·       When you’re done with balloons, let the air out and throw them in the trash.

·       Never try to retrieve a balloon that has become entangled in a power line.

If you spot a balloon stuck in our equipment, give us a call at 800-662-4797. Don’t let a balloon blunder cut your celebrations short.

Friday, June 12, 2020

#FridayGiving: We Energies Foundation supporting Milwaukee Fire Department and other organizations on the front line of COVID-19 relief efforts

We are proud to announce the We Energies Foundation has committed more than $500,000 in donations to health care, emergency response and other nonprofit organizations on the front lines of the fight against COVID-19. 

That includes a special donation to the Milwaukee Fire Department so they can purchase adapters to make their existing personal protective equipment more effective against COVID-19. 

To date, the We Energies Foundation has pledged more than:
• $250,000 to healthcare organizations including Froedtert and the Medical College of Wisconsin, Aurora Health Care and Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin. 
• $125,000 to nonprofits committed to keeping families fed, including Hunger Task Force, Feeding America, Racine County Food Bank, Walworth County Food Pantry and the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee. 
• $125,000 to community organizations including United Way, Salvation Army and the American Red Cross. 


Nonprofit organizations that have not received funding are encouraged to apply for a COVID-19 grant on the We Energies Foundation website. 

To increase the impact of the relief effort, the We Energies Foundation also has earmarked $250,000 to match dollar-for-dollar any personal donations made by employees to organizations fighting the effects of the pandemic.

These donations are part of a commitment from the charitable foundations of We Energies and Wisconsin Public Service to contribute $1 million to nonprofits across our service area. 

We are committed to making the communities where we live and serve a better place for all. The only way to get through difficult times like these is to power through together.

Thursday, June 4, 2020

Introducing Cream Puff, Bubbler and Tundra: Peregrine falcon chicks officially named and banded

The We Energies and Wisconsin Public Service (WPS) peregrine falcon chicks are moving on to the next stage of their lives. Thousands of people voted to name the baby birds after their favorite things about Wisconsin. Now, the eight chicks born at our power plants have been given their names and their identification bands. 

Oak Creek Power Plant 

From left to right: 

Scoop (male)

Cream Puff (female)

Bubbler (female)


Valley Power Plant in Milwaukee

From left to right

Brandy (female)
Blaze (male)
Hoppy (likely a male, but too young to band)


Weston Power Plant in Rothschild

From left to right: 

Kringle (male)
Tundra (female)

About the bandings:

During the banding, our peregrine falcon manager gently places a towel over the chick’s head to calm it down. He then carefully attaches a small metal band to each leg. The bands allow people to contact us and let us know if they’ve spotted one of our peregrines in the wild.




There are just a few weeks left to watch the chicks in their nest boxes. They'll fly the nest later this month. Make sure to tune into our live nest box cameras before they say goodbye!

Peregrine falcon program

We Energies and WPS are honored to be a part of a statewide effort to restore the peregrine falcon population. The Department of Natural Resources added peregrine falcons to Wisconsin’s endangered species list in the 1970s.

Since our first successful nest box in the mid-’90s, 410 peregrine falcons have hatched at our facilities. The falcons are drawn to tall structures along Lake Michigan or major rivers, which make many of the We Energies and WPS facilities ideal nesting sites.

This program is another way We Energies and WPS demonstrate environmental stewardship. From helping endangered animals and restoring natural habitats, to building new solar facilities and reducing carbon emissions, we are committed to a cleaner future.

Friday, May 29, 2020

#FridayGiving: Employee volunteers support communities during health crisis ‘We just felt the need to help’

The COVID-19 pandemic has strained the resources of local communities and social services organizations. Despite the challenges involved, many We Energies employees have found ways to help out and volunteer safely from their own homes.

Some employees and their family members have assembled face masks to address local shortages. In the Milwaukee area, Donna Olson, senior IT infrastructure consultant, and Ellen Dizard, attorney, participated in #MaskUpMKE, a United Way-supported project that drew over 1,300 community volunteers and produced over 1 million masks for local agencies. Others have donated masks directly to healthcare workers.

“I've made dozens of masks for Children’s Hospital, Froedtert Hospital, and for nurses and CNA friends that requested them,” said Mary Wolter, director — gas regulatory planning policy. “I had some fun with the fabric choices. Most popular were the patriotic ones!” 

Ear savers crocheted by Melodie Falek.
















































To help people wear masks more comfortably, employees also have donated ear savers to hook on to the elastic straps. Jacob Spencer, designer, has 3D-printed them, while Melodie Falek, office assistant, has been crocheting them for medical professionals and other first responders. 

Employees are addressing other community needs, as well. Mary Brooks, office assistant, has volunteered at the St. Catherine Food Pantry in Milwaukee, and Matthew Gertsch, contractor, has made an extra effort to donate blood at a time when the American Red Cross is facing shortages.

Carol O’Leary, specialist III, worked to establish an urban farm to benefit MacCanon Brown Sanctuary, a food pantry and homeless shelter in Milwaukee. 

Volunteers planting peppers and tomatoes at the urban farm Carol O'Leary supported.

In addition to volunteering, many employees have contributed to local organizations and businesses impacted by COVID-19.

“Since my husband and I are both still working, we decided to put our stimulus checks to work helping others,” said Cindy Gaffney, IT Service Desk representative, who has donated to restaurants and hair stylists, as well as faith organizations and the Hunger Task Force. “Sure, we could use it on bills or projects around the house, but others are not working, and we just felt the need to help.”

We Energies and Wisconsin Public Service (WPS) — part of the WEC Energy Group family of companies — are contributing $1 million through their charitable foundations to help communities during the COVID-19 pandemic. These include donations to local United Ways, hospitals, domestic violence shelters, food pantries, youth programs and other organizations on the front lines. For more information about current volunteer needs in your community, visit your local United Way website or search for opportunities.

Friday, May 22, 2020

#FridayGiving: Employees support UPAF during a critical time of need

The United Performing Arts Fund (UPAF) ensures that everyone has access to the arts, and now more than ever, they need our help. The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a significant toll on performing arts groups across the community — forcing them to cancel performances and in-person arts education.

This month, hundreds of We Energies employees pledged part of their paychecks to support this incredible organization, totaling more than $160,000. The We Energies Foundation will match those donations.





















We Energies has a long history with UPAF. Over the past 20 years, our employees have donated almost $2 million through annual workplace giving campaigns.

We’re proud to play our part, but the need is still great. Fourteen UPAF member groups are projecting an $8.3 million loss due to canceled performances and fundraisers. Thirty-five percent of employees at UPAF organizations are furloughed, laid off or taking a cut in pay and more than 60,000 kids will not receive in-person arts education programming.

If you’d like to help, please visit https://events.upaf.org/give/211357/#!/donation/checkout/


#FridayGiving
Since the early 1980s, We Energies has invested hundreds of millions of dollars in communities across the state.

Read more about our yearlong effort to highlight some of the incredible organizations we support here

Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter to make sure you don’t miss any #FridayGiving posts.

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

‘Cream Puff,’ ‘Bubbler’ and ‘Kringle’ top voting in peregrine falcon naming contest


We asked you to name our peregrine falcon chicks after your favorite things about Wisconsin, and now that the results are in, we’re sensing a pattern. Six of the top eight names are food and drink related! But it’s no surprise that Wisconsin is known for some tasty treats.

With almost 12,000 votes cast, the winners of this year’s contest are:

  •         Cream Puff, in honor of a State Fair tradition.
  •         Bubbler, in honor of Wisconsin’s fresh water.
  •         Kringle, in honor of Wisconsin’s favorite pastry.
  •         Scoop, in honor of delicious Wisconsin custard.
  •         Brandy, in honor of the official state cocktail.
  •         Tundra, in honor of the state’s longest season.
  •         Blaze, in honor of blaze orange and pink worn by Wisconsin hunters.
  •         Hoppy, in honor of the state’s many breweries.



We’ll be using these names for the eight peregrine falcon chicks born at We Energies and Wisconsin Public Service (WPS) power plants this spring.

Even though voting is done, you can still watch the chicks on our live cameras as they continue to grow. They won’t leave the nest for a few more weeks.

Peregrine falcon program
We Energies and WPS are honored to be a part of a statewide effort to restore the peregrine falcon population. The Department of Natural Resources added peregrine falcons to Wisconsin’s endangered species list in the 1970s.

Since our first successful nest box in the mid-’90s, 402 peregrine falcons have hatched at our facilities. The falcons are drawn to tall structures along Lake Michigan or major rivers, which make many of the We Energies and WPS facilities ideal nesting sites.

This program is another way We Energies and WPS demonstrate environmental stewardship. From helping endangered animals and restoring natural habitats, to building new solar facilities and reducing carbon emissions, we are committed to a cleaner future.


Friday, May 15, 2020

#FridayGiving: Ronald McDonald House makes sure children have a place to stay

In the 36 years since it opened, the Ronald McDonald House in Milwaukee has provided more than 45,000 families with a place to stay when children seek medical care at nearby hospitals. Its incredible mission continues despite the COVID-19 outbreak, and We Energies is proud to support the Ronald McDonald House as it navigates these difficult times.


The Ronald McDonald House offers young patients and their families a place to call home at little or no cost. The organization will never turn a family away because they are unable to pay, but it costs almost $130 to house a family for just one night. The average stay is one week.

Normally, a team of over 550 volunteers help a dedicated staff do whatever they can to make a family’s stay a little easier. But because of the pandemic, volunteer services have been suspended, and the full-time staff is taking turns working in the house or remotely each week.

Recently, the We Energies and Wisconsin Public Service foundations pledged $1 million to help communities during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Ronald McDonald House is one of the many nonprofit organizations receiving some of that emergency funding.

If you’d like to help the Ronald McDonald House, please visit https://rmhc-easternwi.org/how-to-help/donate/.

#FridayGiving
Since the early 1980s, We Energies has invested hundreds of millions of dollars in communities across the state.

Read more about our yearlong effort to highlight some of the incredible organizations we support here.

Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter to make sure you don’t miss any #FridayGiving posts.

Sunday, May 3, 2020

We Energies fills unique role in supporting raptor’s population recovery

This year’s peregrine falcon families aren’t the only feathered friends that will benefit from We Energies-provided nesting areas. Employees from We Energies joined representatives from the Harrison Athletic Association (HAA) to install an osprey nest platform near Menasha, Wisconsin, Feb. 24. American Transmission Co. (ATC) donated the platform, MJ Electric provided the used power pole (from an ATC project), and We Energies provided the labor and equipment to install the pole and platform.

We Energies crew digs the hole where the used light pole and nest platform will be located


























We Energies employee Steve Nissen, approached HAA about partnering with We Energies to install a platform after the pair of ospreys that had been nesting at the Harrison Athletic Field lost their nest last year.

“There is a pair of ospreys that have been nesting on top of one of the softball diamond light poles for about six years,” explained Nissen, who has been an umpire for the HAA for the past 10 years. “Last summer, the high winds blew the nest down, and one of the chicks was lost. The ospreys tried rebuilding on that same light pole and another light pole with little success.”

The new platform is approximately 200 feet behind the softball field, providing a safer and less threatening environment for the birds, which would often protect their chicks by dive-bombing players on the field. The osprey pair was expected to return to the area separately between late March and early April, and Nissen spotted one osprey in the nest April 7. “Ninety-five percent of the time, ospreys will use a nesting platform that is provided,” he said. 



Since 1980, We Energies field crews have constructed and erected alternative nest structures for osprey breeding pairs in key habitat throughout Wisconsin and Michigan's Upper Peninsula, significantly contributing to the recovery of the osprey population. Today there are more than 550 nesting pairs in 58 of Wisconsin’s 72 counties, up from fewer than 100 nesting pairs in the northernmost counties in the 1970s.

More information on WEC Energy Group’s osprey recovery efforts

Friday, May 1, 2020

#FridayGiving: We Energies supports Make-A-Wish Wisconsin during unprecedented times

Seven-year-old Shelby wished to meet a unicorn. Seven-year-old Isaac wished to see the northern lights. These are just two of the thousands of wishes that Make-A-Wish Wisconsin has granted to kids in our community battling critical illnesses.

Unfortunately, the COVID-19 crisis has forced the organization to postpone 100 wishes so far this year, with more to come. But Make-A-Wish Wisconsin is still hard at work granting the wishes they can, and We Energies is proud to support their efforts. 



This past Wednesday, April 29, was World Wish Day, commemorating the 40th anniversary of the very first wish being granted. Currently, there are more than 430 wishes in progress. Now, more than ever, Make-A-Wish Wisconsin needs help to deliver hope to kids in our community. To donate, please visit www.wisconsin.wish.org/give.

#FridayGiving
Since the early 1980s, We Energies has invested hundreds of millions of dollars in communities across the state.

Read more about our yearlong effort to highlight some of the incredible organizations we support here.

Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter to make sure you don’t miss any #FridayGiving posts.

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

#SquawktheVote: Vote to name our falcon chicks after your favorite things about Wisconsin

♫♩ Brandy old-fashioneds and scoops of fresh custard. Kringles, you betcha! And brats served with mustard. A nice hoppy brew and tailgating for teams … these are a few of our favorite things! ♫♩

We couldn’t have said it better ourselves, Julie Andrews. Now more than ever, it’s important to remember the things that make us happiest about our home state. That’s why we want you to name our peregrine falcon chicks after your favorite things about Wisconsin.


Starting today and running through Sunday, May 17, you can vote on your favorite names. The top vote-getters will be used to name the falcon chicks born this spring at We Energies and Wisconsin Public Service (WPS) power plants across the state.

Choose from:


·        Cheesy in honor of dairy farmers
·        Hoppy in honor of our many breweries
·        Gem├╝tlichkeit in honor of Wisconsin’s welcoming spirit
·        Kringle in honor of our favorite pastry
·        Scoop in honor of delicious custard
·        YouBetcha in honor of our unique expressions
·        Cream Puff in honor of a State Fair tradition
·        Blaze in honor of blaze orange and pink worn by hunters
·        Tundra in honor of the longest season
·        Brandy in honor of the state cocktail
·        Bubbler in honor of our clean, fresh water
·        Polka in honor of the state dance
·        Brat in honor of our favorite sausages
·        Tailgate in honor of one of our favorite pastimes
·        Forward in honor of the state motto

Peregrine falcon program

We Energies and Wisconsin Public Service (WPS) are honored to be a part of a statewide effort to restore the peregrine falcon population. The Department of Natural Resources added peregrine falcons to Wisconsin’s endangered species list in the 1970s.

Since our first successful nest box in the mid-90s, 402 peregrine falcons have hatched at our facilities. The falcons are drawn to tall structures along Lake Michigan or major rivers, which make many of the We Energies and WPS facilities ideal nesting sites.

This program is another way We Energies and WPS demonstrate environmental stewardship. From helping endangered animals and restoring natural habitats, to building new solar facilities and reducing carbon emissions, we are committed to a cleaner future.

Friday, April 24, 2020

#FridayGiving: We Energies supports The Women’s Center during a critical time of need

While social isolation is a necessary step to control COVID-19, experts are concerned it may cause a spike in cases of domestic violence. That’s where The Women’s Center comes in. Located in Waukesha County, the organization provides survivors a safe home every day, including during this critical time of need. The We Energies Foundation is proud to support its efforts.



The Women’s Center serves women, children and men impacted by domestic abuse, child abuse, sexual violence and trafficking. It is the only agency of its kind in Waukesha County, and its confidential services are provided free of charge to thousands of survivors each year. The center’s goal is to heal and empower adults and children as they work toward a future free from violence.

Even now, The Women’s Center emergency shelter and 24-Hour Hotline are available, and it continues to provide tele-advocacy to survivors. If you are able to help, you can donate directly on the center’s website.


#FridayGiving

Since the early 1980s, We Energies has invested hundreds of millions of dollars in communities across the state.

Read more about our yearlong effort to highlight some of the incredible organizations we support here.

Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter to make sure you don’t miss any #FridayGiving posts.

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

The foundations of We Energies and Wisconsin Public Service commit $1 million to COVID-19 relief effort

We Energies and Wisconsin Public Service (WPS) — part of the WEC Energy Group family of companies — announced on April 14, that they are contributing $1 million through their charitable foundations to help communities during the COVID-19 pandemic. The foundations will provide grants to nonprofit organizations supporting front-line efforts — primarily hospitals, first responders and food pantries.

“At a time like this, our commitment to the safety and welfare of our employees and the communities we serve has never been more critical,” said Kevin Fletcher, president and CEO — WEC Energy Group. “Our foundations have supported organizations serving our communities for decades. It is in that tradition that we are driven to support these vital services as they face unprecedented challenges.”








To increase the impact of the relief effort, the foundations are earmarking $300,000 of the $1 million to match, dollar for dollar, the personal donations made by employees to organizations fighting the effects of the pandemic.

The foundations have already taken actions to address the urgent needs of this crisis through donations to numerous groups including the United Way of Greater Milwaukee & Waukesha County, Brown County United Way and Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee.

Nonprofit organizations interested in applying for COVID-19 grants should follow the normal grant process outlined on the We Energies Foundation website and the WPS Foundation website.

About We Energies Foundation and WPS Foundation
Since they were established, the We Energies and WPS foundations have provided more than $200 million in contributions to programs that support nonprofit organizations that promote education, community development, arts and culture, and the environment in the communities served by We Energies, Wisconsin Public Service, Michigan Gas Utilities and Minnesota Energy Resources.

The We Energies Foundation and WPS Foundation are funded by stockholders of WEC Energy Group, not by the customers of its utility subsidiaries.