FirstEnergy Foundation Donates to Institute Nature Center

FirstEnergy Regional External Affairs Consultant, Kevin Eck (center) presented a check for $25,000 in support of The Institute’s nature center project to executive director Tracy Holliday, left, and board secretary Gwendolyn Magras.

A recent gift of $25,000 from FirstEnergy Foundation will support ongoing development of The Institute’s new nature center near Waynesboro.

The 40-acre nature center property is currently under development and expected to open in the second half of 2024.

FirstEnergy Regional External Affairs Consultant Kevin Eck recently visited the property for a project update and check presentation.

“FirstEnery Foundation contributions total $50,000 to date in support of our vision for serving the regional community from our exceptional nature center campus,” said Tracy Holliday, The Institute’s executive director.

The Institute mounted a $3 million capital campaign to transform the rural property into a public nature center. With $2.6 million already raised, they are hoping the public will help to “Close the Gap” with additional donations. 

“We are almost there and much work has been done,” Holliday said. “Among other infrastructure improvements, we need a new bridge to provide safe access for buses and other vehicles.”

“We deeply value our longtime partnership with FirstEnergy as we strive to serve the community with experiences that educate, inspire and unite people around shared interests,” Holliday said.

The FirstEnergy Foundation is funded solely by FirstEnergy Corp. and provides support to non-profit, tax-exempt health and human services agencies; educational organizations; cultural and arts programs and institutions; and civic groups in areas served by FirstEnergy’s 10 electric operating companies and in areas where the company conducts business. Learn more at

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