WASHINGTON, D.C. (October 30, 2019) -- Washington Gas today launched a comprehensive plan to increase its target spend for diverse suppliers in Maryland to 35 percent by 2028. Called “Strive for 35,” the initiative aims to award 35 percent of its non-gas supplier contracts to companies owned by minorities, women and service-disabled veterans that represent diverse and protected-class businesses.
As part of its merger commitment with AltaGas, Washington Gas’ Strive for 35 is a pledge with the Maryland Public Service Commission (PSC) to find additional ways to engage diverse suppliers and ensure their services are matched appropriately with organizational needs, as well as support the companies’ diversity and inclusion values.
The program includes creating the Strive for 35 Fund, a $100,000 annual contribution over five years totaling $500,000, which will be facilitated through a newly formed strategic partnership with Prince George’s Financial Services Corporation First (FSC First), a provider of financing and loan services. Teaming with FSC First will allow Washington Gas to ensure the fund provides lending opportunities for diverse Maryland-based suppliers who are interested in working in the natural gas industry.
Strive for 35 continues a longstanding tradition of supporting supplier diversity at Washington Gas. For example, in 2009, Washington Gas was one of 19 regulated utilities to commit to awarding 25 percent of contract spending to diverse businesses based on an agreement with the Maryland PSC. As of 2018, the company has exceeded that goal by directing more than 26.1 percent of its purchases to diverse suppliers.
“At Washington Gas, supplier diversity is critical to our day-to-day operations – procuring goods and services from diverse suppliers is a sound business strategy, drives competition in the marketplace and benefits our customers, the community and employees,” said Adrian Chapman, President and CEO of Washington Gas. “We will work closely with the Maryland Public Commission as we expand our spend to diverse suppliers, and applaud our partners at FSC First for standing with us side-by-side as we make our Strive for 35 pledge a reality.”
“We share a common objective with Washington Gas of promoting diversity as core to every aspect of our business, and we are delighted to join together to offer a solution for what is often considered a barrier – successfully securing working capital for diverse suppliers,” said Shelly M. Gross Wade, President and CEO of FSC First. “Washington Gas has a vested strategic partner in FSC First, and we look forward to offering more opportunities for Maryland’s diverse contractor base for many years to come.”
Washington Gas has historically maintained a Supplier Diversity Program that expands and builds on relationships with diverse suppliers, improves growth and enhancement, and fosters minority business enterprise development. In addition, as committed champions of supplier diversity, Washington Gas includes diverse spend as part of the company’s annual Corporate Scorecard goal to ensure accountability with executives and management.
For more information regarding Washington Gas supplier diversity initiatives, please visit https://www.washingtongas.com/about/supplier-diversity.