Washington Gas on Thursday unveiled its “Strive for 35” supplier diversity campaign in Maryland in partnership with Prince George’s County-based Financial Services Corporation First.
Strive for 35 is a pledge to increase Washington Gas’ target spend for diverse suppliers in Maryland to 35 percent by 2028. The initiative aims to award 35 percent of non-gas supplier contracts to companies owned by minorities, women and service-disabled veterans that represent diverse and protected-class businesses.
“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, Washington Gas president/CEO. “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.”
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, 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.
“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.”
For more information regarding Washington Gas supplier diversity initiatives, go to https://www.washingtongas.com/about/supplier-diversity.