Wisconsin Public Service Foundation is the philanthropic entity for WPS and other subsidiaries of our holding company, Integrys Energy Group. In other words, the foundation and the utility are two different organizations, with two very different purposes. The foundation provides for charitable contributions to our local communities, while WPS and our other utilities are focused on providing safe, reliable electricity and natural gas to customers. The foundation is funded by our shareholders, not by our utility customers.
The History of Wisconsin Public Service Foundation
Wisconsin Public Service Foundation was incorporated in 1964. It was funded with paper company stocks and bonds that had been repurchased by WPS in the late 1920s and had appreciated significantly. The transfer of the certificates, accomplished over a four-year period, gave the foundation a financial base of $2 million. The resulting tax credits increased the value of WPS stock by $.20 per share, and gave the company a consistent means of contributing to charitable, educational and scientific organizations. Over the past 30 years, the foundation's stocks and bonds have redeemed, and the money has been used to buy mutual funds.
Today the foundation supports organizations involved in community and neighborhood development, education, environment, human services and health, and arts and culture. Donations average $1.2 million annually. Wisconsin Public Service Foundation is a strong supporter of capital projects, the United Way and start-up programs in communities where we serve gas or electricity.
The Foundation's Board
Wisconsin Public Service Foundation is led by Larry Borgard, President; Chuck Cloninger, Vice President; John Wilde, Treasurer; Jodi Caro, Secretary and Assistant Treasurer; Dane Allen, Assistant Secretary; and Bill Laakso, Director. Each region our utility serves has an established Contributions Committee consisting of local employees from a cross-section of departments. All donation requests for a region are sent to the region's Contributions Committee, which reviews the requests based on the needs and issues in the community, as well and the foundation budget for their region.
The day-to-day administration is handled by Karmen Lemke, Director of the Wisconsin Public Service Foundation.