The Women’s International Network of Utility Professionals returned to its New York roots this week. To mark the organization’s 100th anniversary, WiNUP presented its annual conference at the Seneca Niagara Resort & Casino.
As part of the four-day event, funds were raised for Community Missions of Niagara Frontier. On Wednesday morning, agency Vice President of Public Relations and Development Christian Hoffman and Girls Circle Lead Facilitator Elizabeth Freiburger served as guest speakers. They shared Community Missions’ history, purpose and recent programming additions. Following their talk, a check presentation has held, revealing a donation topping $4,400. Funds were raised through a silent auction, and WiNUP member and conference attendee donations.
Since its founding in 1925, Community Missions has provided a unique blend of referral, crisis, community support and residential services for youth and adults. Last year, Community Missions provided over 200,000 meals and more than 13,000 nights of care to neglected or abused children and homeless adults.
Freiburger said the WiNUP donation would be put toward the Girls Circle program, specifically for art programs and graduation ceremonies.
Community Missions began offering Girls Circle in 2016, thanks to funding from the Niagara Area Foundation, a division of the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo. The program is designed to foster self-esteem, help girls maintain authentic connection with peers and adult women in their community, counter trends of self-doubt, and allow for genuine self-expression through verbal sharing and creative activity.
Over the past six years, the program has served a wide variety of ages in the Niagara Falls City Schools and has been funded through the 21st Century Grant. A second grant from the Niagara Area Foundation provided funding for this past summer's expansion to Lockport, and other program necessities.
For more information, visit www.communitymissions.org.
WiNUP was founded when seven women employed in the young and growing electrical industry met at the 1923 annual meeting of the otherwise all-male Society for Electrical Development on Association Island near Henderson, New York. Today, the not-for-profit 501(c)(6) organization provides a link for developing and recognizing professionals involved in utility industry business trends, issues, products and services. It has more than 500 members in 19 chapters across the U.S. WiNUP’s philanthropic efforts support national and local organizations with focus on women’s issues, STEM education and environmental initiatives.
In Niagara Falls, WiNUP conference topics highlighted sustainable investments, renewable energy, hydropower and workforce development, as well as leadership and professional development. Conference tours focused on hydropower, including a visit to the New York Power Authority’s Niagara Power Vista. In addition, a stop at the Niagara Falls Underground Railroad Heritage Center highlighted this area’s role in leading slaves to freedom.
Conference attendees included WiNUP members and nonmembers representing a wide range of electric, gas, water and municipal utilities from around the nation.
For information about WiNUP, visit www.winup.org.