VIDEO

Joe Dominguez, chief deputy superintendent for the Inglewood Unified School District, posed for pictures, shook hands and accepted congratulatory well wishes recently at Southern California Edison’s (SCE) 13th annual Black History Month celebration.

As a participant in SCE’s School Energy Efficiency Program, the district successfully reduced its energy consumption by retrofitting lights at various schools and creating a more comfortable learning environment for students. The changes resulted in a savings of about $163,000.  

“On behalf of the children and the community, we thank you because not only did we provide a positive learning environment, but we’re able to have fiscal savings within our budget to reinvest back into our schools,” said Dominguez, who accepted SCE’s Energy Efficiency Participation Award on behalf of the school district at the Energy Education Center in Irwindale.  

Darin Brawley and Alvin Jenkins, superintendent and director of facilities, respectively, for the Compton Unified School District — also an Energy Efficiency Participation Award recipient — shared a similar success story.

“They (Edison) did a great job reducing our energy,” said Jenkins. “We were able to save so much money that we can put money aside to work on our facilities and help us out without actually spending more money on bonds.”

More than 350 guests gathered at the event to recognize the achievements of local African-American businesses and leaders, their contributions to economic growth, service to the community and participation in energy-efficiency programs. And there was plenty to celebrate.

“We really appreciate the partnership we have with our customers, toward our neighbors, toward our communities, with our friends,” said SCE President Pedro Pizarro. “I really like that we’re able to celebrate and recognize the importance of African-American contributions to our communities, to our state, to the nation and to the world.”

“This is an opportunity to spend time with our community leaders in the African-American community to show Edison’s commitment to our partnership in the areas of energy efficiency and supplier diversity, and frankly you can see all the love we have in this building,” added Lisa Cagnolatti, SCE vice president, Business Customer Division.

In keeping with the celebration’s theme, “Giving Back,” Pizarro said charitable giving is ingrained in Edison’s culture. SCE employees are encouraged to give back and support underserved communities, and do so through volunteerism, fundraising and financial donations.  

“Our philosophy is that all people should have opportunities to do well,” he said.  

Keynote speaker Bonnie Boswell, a reporter, producer and talk-show host, said growing up, she was expected to give back.

“It was hardwired into my childhood,” she said. “One person can make a difference. I want to encourage people to understand that they have tremendous power in their life.”  

Accepting SCE’s Diverse Business Enterprise Award was Linda Wright, president/CEO/founder of the Moreno Valley Black Chamber of Commerce. The chamber was honored for its commitment to the economic, civic, commercial, cultural, industrial and educational interests of the area.

The Youth Action Project (YAP) was also honored with SCE’s Community Partnership Award, presented to Tremaine Mitchell, director of operations. Since 2007, the project has hired and trained more than 200 local college students, provided more than 90,000 work experience and community service hours and provided tutoring and mentoring to more than 1,000 high school students within the San Bernardino Unified School District.

Kyanne Parchment, a 2014 Edison Scholar, who is studying computer science at the University of California, Davis, praised SCE and its parent company, Edison International, for helping minority students from low-income, underrepresented communities like her realize their dreams.

“I think we need more Edisons to help give a greater number of minorities a chance to succeed and explore science, technology, engineering and math fields,” she told the audience. “There are many other students with tremendous abilities and who just need a helping hand. I want to challenge everyone in attendance today to find someone who needs help, and help them in any way you possibly can.”

Certificates of excellence were presented to Lluvia Onesto, a student at La Tijera K-8 Academy of Excellence Charter School, and Emily Orozco, a sixth-grader at Davis Middle School in Compton, for their winning art work which focused on “Giving Back.” Each received a Kindle as part of their prize.