WPS Foundation background
Wisconsin Public Service (WPS) Foundation is a philanthropic entity for WPS, Minnesota Energy Resources, Michigan Gas Utilities and Upper Michigan Energy Resources, which are among the subsidiaries of WEC Energy Group. The foundation and the WPS utility are two different organizations, with two very different purposes. The foundation provides charitable contributions to communities in areas served by the energy companies. The foundation is funded by WEC Energy Group stockholders, not by customers of the energy companies.
Through direct grants, scholarships and an employee matching gifts program, the foundation supports the quality of life in the energy company service areas. The foundation supports programs in arts and culture, community and neighborhood development, health and human services, education and environment.
WPS Foundation was incorporated in 1964, funded with paper company stocks and bonds repurchased by WPS in the late 1920s. The transfer of the certificates, accomplished over a four-year period, gave the foundation a financial base of $2 million. The resulting tax credits increased the value of WPS stock by $.20 per share, and gave the company a consistent means of contributing to charitable, educational and scientific organizations. Over the past 30 years, the foundation's stocks and bonds were redeemed, and the money has been used to buy mutual funds.
The foundation is a strong supporter of capital projects, the United Way and start-up programs in communities served by the four energy companies in Wisconsin, Minnesota and Michigan.
Each region the energy companies serve has a Contributions Committee of local employees from a cross-section of departments. Donation requests for a region are sent to the region's Contributions Committee, which reviews the requests based on the needs and issues in the community.
Lana Vandervest is the foundation administrator.