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2023 CNX Foundation Year in Review: Appalachia First Commitment Continues to Bolster Region’s Communities, Families and Neighborhoods

From sponsoring the Pony League World Series and making Dream Fields come true to a million dollar grant for substance use disorder recovery, CNX Foundation continued its investment in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Virginia and Ohio in 2023.

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By Positive Energy Hub Staff

Appalachia First

In 2023, CNX Foundation, the philanthropic arm of CNX Resources, continued bringing CNX’s Appalachia First vision to life. The Foundation is fulfilling CNX’s commitment to an energy-driven middle class that embraces innovation and harnesses the talent, resources and opportunities of Appalachia to transform the region.

“We were able to accomplish an incredible amount last year,” said Audric Dodds, Director of Community Relations and Strategic Relationships for CNX. “From growing the number of students in our Mentorship Academy program to our investment in a desperately needed substance use disorder detox unit in the Mon Valley, we continued our holistic approach to addressing both the region’s acute and long-term needs.”

CNX Foundation funds projects that show a demonstrable commitment toward making a tangible, impactful and local difference in their communities. The Foundation focuses on seven key pillars: food insecurity, children’s health and wellness, broadband and information technology access, domestic abuse and awareness, career readiness (including technical and vocational training), water quality safety and awareness, and The Mentorship Academy.


The HQ at CNX™

The HQ at CNX™ saw significant growth in 2023, adding 17 organizations during the year. Offering affordable, professional office space for nonprofits and minority and women-owned business enterprises, The HQ at CNX helps organizations elevate their businesses while collaborating and networking with similarly-minded organizations. While the businesses have different missions, they all share a commitment to improving the lives of individuals, families and neighborhoods throughout the region. Together, they are creating a community that embodies what it means to put Appalachia First.

Organizations new to the HQ in 2023 include: Lifestyle Coach Maria Allshouse, Perked Up Cafe, Domestic Violence Services of Southwestern Pennsylvania, Food Helpers, 412Thrive, Autism Caring Center, CCAC, Nonprofit Sidekick, Oakbridge Advisor Group, WEN Greater Pittsburgh, Washington County Chamber of Commerce, Down Syndrome Association of Pittsburgh, Joco Holdings LLC, Face2Face Healing, Jeff Hancher Enterprises, TASI and Compassionate Care Unlimited Inc.

“The space we secured at the HQ is amazing. I was able to move our business offices out of the warehouse, and even obtain enough space to create a packing station for one of our food programs that provides kids healthy snacks to take home on weekends,” said George Omiros, president and chief executive officer of Food Helpers.


Dream Fields Do Come True

In August, CNX Foundation announced a $150,000, three-year presenting sponsorship of the DICKs Sporting Goods PONY League World Series. The sponsorship aligns with the children’s health and wellness pillar. At the same time, the Foundation announced the Dream Fields grant program to rehabilitate and revitalize sports fields across the Appalachian basin.

Despite daily rain delays, the 2023 series brought record game attendance to Washington County, culminating in nearly 6,000 fans coming out to watch the series championship game. Over 150 players from five countries and six different states represented their respective regions. While the Dream Fields grant program launched in conjunction with the world series sponsorship, its breadth goes well beyond repairing baseball fields. The program supports community-maintained fields and playing surfaces, filling in funding gaps and addressing needs at fields and sports surfaces throughout the region.

“At CNX, we place a lot of value on youth sports and athletic programs, not only because they contribute so powerfully to physical health, but because they play an important role in their communities,” said Cody Craker, Vice President of Operations and Construction at CNX Resources.


CNX Foundation Substance Recovery Unit

In order to ease the way for those beginning recovery from substance use disorder, CNX Foundation contributed $1 million to Penn Highlands Mon Valley for an inpatient unit where patients can take the first steps toward healing. Located in the heart of rural southwestern Pennsylvania, this facility is the first of its kind to provide this type of recovery care in the area.

At the beginning of a person’s journey to sobriety, the substance recovery unit has physicians and nursing staff available around the clock. Therapists are available to talk with patients as they begin working through their emotions related to detoxification and recovery. The unit also includes 24-hour access to the Emergency Department, Cardiac Care Unit, Behavioral Health Unit and Medical Imaging for when immediate care is needed. This removes some of the pressure on the Emergency Room by freeing up beds and helping patients get the specialized care they need.

“Substance use disorder, and in particular the opioid epidemic, crosses all socioeconomic barriers - it has harmed rural and urban communities alike across Appalachia. We are investing this money because we believe assisting people in their recovery and helping them return to their families, workplaces and neighborhoods will have a positive impact on the region,” said Nick Deiuliis, President and Chief Executive Officer at CNX Resources.


Mentorship Academy

In 2023, 48 students graduated from the Mentorship Academy, CNX Foundation’s flagship initiative. The Mentorship Academy prepares 11th and 12th graders from rural and urban communities to become impactful citizens, workers and family members through transformative learning, community engagement and leadership development. Students accepted into the program develop relationships with peers and business leaders across Western Pennsylvania, as well as an understanding of the region’s career opportunities and how to pursue them.

On August 11th, 14 Mentorship Academy graduates committed to new employers. From hospitality to healthcare, and from the energy field to building trades, 2023’s Mentorship Academy graduates leveraged the program’s opportunities to connect with regional organizations and their leaders, identifying areas of professional interest to pursue after high school. UPMC hired four graduates, delivering on one of the goals of the UPMC/CNX M.O.V.E.S. program to help and hire students interested in healthcare careers. CNX Resources hired four graduates. The Builders Guild of Western Pennsylvania, Perked Up Cafe, Chemstream, Eaton and Deep Well Services also hired academy graduates.

“We are here to help our students further their opportunities in the workforce and in education,” said Shani Yeldell, Psy.D., Community Relations Manager for the Mentorship Academy. “We connect our students with our partner organizations to demonstrate the depth and breadth of opportunity in our region, and we show them opportunities like apprenticeships and skilled trades. Our students have knowledge and confidence about their careers and their futures, and they know we remain steadfast in supporting them now and down the road.”

In October, the Mentorship Academy was recognized at the “Magic of Mentoring” dinner — alongside the Heyward House and the Consortium for Public Education — as an organization deeply committed to championing the region’s youth. The Mentorship Academy received the Thieman Award for exceptional work in mentoring through the region.


CNX Impact

From collecting dozens of bags of trash around Washington Lakes to raising funds for Southwest Virginia STARS, CNX employees added new community initiatives and organizations to Impact, its annual season of giving, while increasing support for food pantries and children and families in need during the holiday season. Impact begins on the first of November each year and extends through the holiday season.

Impact is a fundamental part of CNX’s Appalachia First vision to advance and invest in communities across its region. Designed to generate tangible, impactful, and local benefits for the region CNX is proud to call home, this initiative embraces the idea that by supporting its local communities, people can realize and take advantage of the wide variety of employment opportunities a natural gas-driven economy offers.

Through the program, participating employees work with CNX leadership to identify specific community areas of most impact. Over the course of the 2023 year-end campaign, 270 employees donated over $100,000 to 19 different organizations including food banks, veterans organizations and humane societies.

“Part of the goal of Impact is to have employees help direct support to the communities, causes and organizations they are most passionate about and see the most need,” said Haley Scott, Chief Risk Officer of CNX. “This year it was great to see our number of volunteers increase, as well as the inclusion of so many new causes. It’s a wonderful opportunity for employees to volunteer their time and guide financial giving to areas where they see the most need.”

Strengthening Appalachia

With one of the largest, most efficient and environmentally sustainable sources of natural gas in the world, Appalachia is poised to become a leader for the new natural gas economy. The HQ at CNX™, CNX Impact, the Mentorship Academy and the Foundation’s philanthropic investments work in concert together to support the people who call Appalachia home. This is just the beginning of a multi-faceted approach to bring this vision to life, and CNX Foundation is looking forward to a future making tangible, impactful and local differences in the years to come.

CNX Foundation is dedicated year-round to supporting organizations that embrace opportunities to make a positive impact in their Appalachian communities. To learn more about the Foundation, visit www.cnx.com/about-us/cnx-foundation.



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A CNX news hub highlighting all aspects of our Appalachia First vision. Subscribe for insights on energy innovation, advocacy, and community engagement across the region.