BRECKSVILLE, Ohio, Dec. 22, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — The Illuminating Company, a subsidiary of FirstEnergy Corp. (NYSE: FE), presented surprise $5,000 “Gifts of the Season” to two local nonprofit agencies that are working to make lives better in the communities they serve. The gifts were presented on behalf of the FirstEnergy Foundation as part of its annual holiday “Gifts of the Season” campaign.

The recipients of this year’s gifts are United Services Organization (USO) of Northern Ohio and Taking Back Our Youth – two Cuyahoga County organizations that provide support services to underserved and vulnerable individuals of all ages across Greater Cleveland.

“We’re proud to support these organizations because, despite every curveball that’s been thrown at us this year, they have continued their selfless service to our local veterans and our youth,” said Lorna Wisham, president of the FirstEnergy Foundation. “The winners were chosen secretly by FirstEnergy External Affairs employees who identified organizations in their local areas that do extraordinary work to strengthen the community and enhance the lives of vulnerable and underserved individuals.”

USO of Northern Ohio provides resources for service members, veterans and military families throughout various transition points of their service, including assistance to help them prepare for and secure civilian work. The organization serves military families throughout 29 Ohio counties, and helps nearly 45,000 active duty, guard and reserve military members.

“Generous donors, like the FirstEnergy Foundation, provide critical support that improves the daily lives of local service members and their families,” said Sherry Ems, executive director of USO of Northern Ohio. “We’re not a government agency, so we rely on supporters now more than ever to fund programs that help make life easier for our local heroes.”

Taking Back Our Youth provides at-risk children in Cleveland with mentoring programs and educational resources to keep their futures bright. The organization also provides incarcerated youth with services that help prepare them to be productive citizens when they transition back into society.

“We are grateful to have received this FirstEnergy Foundation gift because it will allow us to continue making a positive difference in the lives of children and young adults across our region,” said Makanya Smith, executive director of Taking Back Our Youth. “Housing, family and financial security are the three core items that most inmates need upon release, and these funds will help us provide young men and women with everything they need to turn their lives around.”

Photos of FirstEnergy’s annual “Gifts of the Season” check presentations are being shared on social media using the hashtag #GiftsofFE. Since its inception in 2016, the campaign has awarded nearly $500,000 to organizations that work to strengthen communities.

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

The FirstEnergy Foundation is funded solely by FirstEnergy Corp. and provides support to non-profit, tax-exempt health and human services agencies; educational organizations; cultural and arts programs and institutions; and civic groups in areas served by FirstEnergy’s 10 electric operating companies and in areas where the company conducts business.

FirstEnergy is dedicated to safety, reliability and operational excellence. Its 10 electric distribution companies form one of the nation’s largest investor-owned electric systems, serving customers in Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, West Virginia, Maryland and New York. The company’s transmission subsidiaries operate approximately 24,500 miles of transmission lines that connect the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic regions. Follow FirstEnergy online at and on Twitter @FirstEnergyCorp.

SOURCE FirstEnergy Corp.

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