Success Stories

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NV Energy (NV) - Empowering Employees and Communities in Nevada
NV Energy (NV)
Engage Your Employees

Empowering Employees and Communities in Nevada

As the leading electric and gas utility company in Nevada, NV Energy’s success is directly linked to communities that thrive and grow. The company, which was named the first BCA 10: Best Businesses Supporting the Arts in America honoree from Nevada in 2015, recognizes the value of the arts as not only a powerful contributor to the evolution of Nevada’s communities, but also as a method for engaging employees in meaningful, collaborative volunteer projects.


In 1987, NV Energy established the NV Energy Foundation. The Foundation regularly contributes to arts and culture initiatives and organizations in urban and rural Nevada, including the Metro Arts Council of Southern Nevada; the Smith Center for the Performing Arts; and the month-long Artown festival in Reno, which presents more than 500 free or low-cost arts and culture events each July.


Additionally, NV Energy has been a long-term supporter of the Nevada Museum of Art in Reno, an active partner for the company’s arts and cultural engagement. As the lead sponsor of the museum's membership program, NV Energy supplies employee volunteers for art show openings and membership cultivation events. When NV Energy hosts employee art shows as part of its employee engagement work, the museum displays winners’ artwork and hosts a reception for employees and their families.


NV Energy maintains a formal employee volunteerism program, enabling both full-time employees and interns to contribute to and experience the impact of the arts throughout the state. A key component of the company's commitment to volunteerism are two Employee Volunteer Councils (EVC). The EVC consists of employees from diverse backgrounds who coordinate and lead year-round volunteer activities. In addition, the EVC is a decision-making team that evaluates company-wide volunteer opportunities presented to NV Energy, enlists and motivates volunteers, recognizes employee volunteers, and ties volunteer initiatives to the company's purpose. The EVCs commonly use VolunteerMatch as a way to connect with volunteer opportunities in the community.


Once an NV Energy employee retires in northern Nevada, they have the privilege of becoming a "Sierra Connector," which enables them stay involved in volunteer events throughout the year. The group has a board of directors that meets once a month to review upcoming events and issues. The board also decides on events to be involved in and designates event leaders. 


Although NV Energy employees volunteer throughout the state year-round, July is a particularly popular month for volunteering. In northern Nevada, employees volunteer for the Artown festival, for A Night in the Country music event in the small community of Yerington, and for the Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival, which all take place that month.


In addition to assisting with local events, employees and company leaders serve on numerous arts boards, applying core professional skills to support capacity building. For example, NV Energy’s President and CEO, Paul Caudill, serves on the board of the Western Folklife Center, which presents the annual International Cowboy Poetry Festival in Elko, drawing 8,000 visitors to a town of 18,300. Representatives of the NV Energy Foundation have also worked with other corporate and private foundations to discuss community priorities for grant funding. Through such conversations, capital funding was raised to build a children’s Discovery Museum in Reno


“NV Energy believes the arts are essential to the quality of life for all Nevadans wherever they live. The arts build vibrant communities—whether large or small, urban or rural. Not only are the arts good for communities, they are good for business and are critical to economic diversification, tourism, and educational reform strategies,” said Caudill.


Employees receive discounts to cultural events and institutions as a result of company sponsorships, and NV Energy employees who demonstrate an outstanding level of commitment to volunteerism or work related initiatives are often offered complimentary tickets to arts events. An employee volunteer incentive program, Dollars for Doers, rewards employees with an incentive of $250 to the organization of their choice once they have volunteered 25+ hours for a single organization.


In addition to its robust volunteer program, NV Energy weaves the arts into its company culture, using the arts in diversity, team building, leadership, and presentation training; and displaying original art by local artists on its walls. In Reno, NV Energy contracts with Sierra Arts Foundation, the local arts agency, to provide a changing gallery of local artists’ work in the company’s headquarters. The company has also sponsored children’s art shows at its headquarters building in Reno.


The arts not only helps transform the rural and urban communities NV Energy serves, but empowers the company's employees to feel proud of NV Energy's contributions, and the state where they live and work.


Listen to a webinar recording of Mary Simmons, Vice President of Business Development and Community Strategy at NV Energy, discussing the company's arts partnerships. Americans for the Arts members can listen for free.


Read The pARTnership Movement essay on engaging employees through the arts.


Photo 1: NV Energy provides critical support for “Powering Up Poetry,” an initiative to ensure that all high-school aged students in Nevada can participate in the Poetry Out Loud Program and to provide workshops led by published poets for students at schools in rural communities. Student participants are pictured here with Mary Simmons of NV Energy.



Photo 2: NV Energy volunteers at the Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival.

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The pARTnership Movement is an initiative from Americans for the Arts to reach business leaders with the message that partnering with the arts can build their competitive advantage. Americans for the Arts is the nation's leading nonprofit organization for advancing the arts in America.


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