2018 Community Engagement Report


2018 Community Engagement Report


2018 Community Engagement Report



total dollars granted

The Wills Group’s Community Engagement Approach

The Wills Group’s approach to community engagement carries on a longstanding tradition of service and giving and is designed to help people address their basic
needs, keeping Lives in Motion.



organizations supported

We focus on two key areas where we believe we can make the greatest impact: Eliminating Childhood Hunger and Ensuring Safe and Healthy Homes. Our goal is to make sure that our communities’ basic needs of food and shelter are met and that everyone can create a better future for themselves and their families.



employee volunteer hours

Through these two programs, we provide meaningful, hands-on volunteer opportunities throughout the year for our employees. At The Wills Group, employees can take paid time off to volunteer in their community. Employees are also eligible to receive a corporate charitable match for personal contributions they make to nonprofit organizations.

$3 million
donated over the
past 10 years


A Lot of Good People
Doing a Lot of Good Things

“Lives in Motion” is how we express our commitment to caring for our customers, our communities, and each other.


A Great Sense of Worth

My experience with our community engagement program has been great. Through the program, The Wills Group has given me a lot of opportunities to grow, allowing me to look outside of myself.

Every time there has been a volunteer opportunity my supervisor always says, “Yes! Go ahead.”

I take advantage of each opportunity. It gives me a great sense of worth. Accomplishment. Community engagement presents us with a unique opportunity here at The Wills Group to apply our skills and knowledge to help people in any way that we can.



60% employee participation in community engagement programs


Eliminating Childhood Hunger

Nearly 490,000 children across Maryland, Virginia and Delaware are food insecure (USDA). When children experience hunger, it is difficult for them to go to school and learn. The Wills Group, in collaboration with its Dash In Food Stores business, works with partner organizations to eliminate childhood hunger across the Mid-Atlantic region so that no child has to go to school on an empty stomach.

This year, Dash In opened its largest neighborhood concept store to date in Midlothian, Virginia, just outside of Richmond. The Wills Group provided FeedMore with a $10,000 grant to support its weekend food program for kids.

Maryland Food Bank:
More than 40 Wills Group employees came together to sort food, pack boxes, and learn about the Maryland Food Bank’s programs and the local communities the food bank serves. More than 34 pallets and 20,301 pounds of food were sorted and packed over the course of two days.

No Kid Hungry:
The Wills Group, working with our national partner No Kid Hungry, implemented a pilot program in Dash In stores to raise awareness and funds during Hunger Action Month in September. Customer donations from each participating Dash In store were used to support No Kid Hungry’s effort to connect hungry kids to meals.

Southern Maryland Food Bank:
A donation helped the Southern Maryland Food Bank expand their weekend food program that provides food to kids throughout the school year. The grant also helped expand the square footage of its community garden, increasing the amount of fresh produce the food bank can provide, and helped to create a prep kitchen to increase the number of hot meals distributed across Southern Maryland.


Ensuring Safe and Healthy Homes

Ensuring Safe and Healthy Homes, SMO Energy’s charitable giving platform, is inspired by Julian Blacklock “Blackie” Wills, who served as President and CEO of The Wills Group from 1961 to 1998. Blackie was instrumental in providing home energy assistance for low-income homeowners in Southern Maryland, including seniors, veterans, single parents, and those with disabilities. The program is now part of the Maryland Energy Assistance Program (MEAP).

This year, our employees across all Wills Group businesses worked together to assemble
more than 150 preparedness kits, with each kit containing essential items for home safety including a new smoke alarm, carbon monoxide detector, lead testing kit, and first-aid kit. The preparedness kits were distributed through fire departments across Southern Maryland.

In 2018, we expanded on our commitment to ensure safe and healthy homes with a $100,000 donation to Rebuilding Together, which included a series of employee volunteer events. This partnership with Rebuilding Together – a national nonprofit organization that provides home repairs to individuals in need at no cost – enabled The Wills Group to repair five homes in Anne Arundel and Charles counties. The Wills Group and Rebuilding Together will continue to work together to host more neighborhood rebuild days, ensuring that deserving homeowners across the Mid-Atlantic region can remain safely and comfortably in their homes.

Thank You

None of the valuable work that we, at The Wills Group, have accomplished this year would have been possible without the hard work and dedication of our community engagement committee members and employee volunteers.

Community Leadership Team

  • Tara Handy (Co-Chair)
  • Lock Wills (Co-Chair)
  • Steve Donnelly
  • Tim Edwards
  • Ken Halperin
  • Don Hamberger
  • Amanda Jamison
  • Arielle Kimmer
  • Dee Nascimento
  • Brooke Rieman
  • Joe Wills
  • Michele Wills
  • Melon Yeshoalul

Eliminating Childhood Hunger Committee (ECHC)

  • Amanda Jamison (Co-Chair)
  • Joe Wills (Co-Chair)
  • Bijan Banapoor
  • Chelsea Benincasa
  • Mary Jane Garner
  • Juanita Lacefield
  • Glenn Posey
  • Kim Purdy
  • Sean Smith
  • Anna Perry

Ensuring Safe and Healthy Homes Committee (SHHC)

  • Tim Edwards (Co-Chair)
  • Brooke Rieman (Co-Chair)
  • Jessica Eller
  • Sharon Espinosa
  • Catherine Forbes
  • Steve Gagliardi
  • David Lipshaw
  • Wendy Logan
  • Caitlin Peden
  • Mike Stewart
  • Michele Wills

Golf Tournament Committee (GTC)

  • Steve Donnelly (Co-Chair)
  • Don Hamberger (Co-Chair)
  • Matt Ammerman
  • Derek Chappell
  • Chris DeCarlo
  • Brian Fenwick
  • Paul Grabis
  • Huong Hogan
  • Susan Perry
  • Michelle Reeves
  • Lindsay Turner

Match Campaign Committee

  • Ken Halperin (Chair)
  • Bruce Bacon
  • John Brucculeiri
  • Sharon Espinosa
  • David Lipshaw
  • John Ragunas
  • Robert Wenzinger