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In honor of Pi Day, SDG&E announces donation to support science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) classroom projects

Source:  SDG&E

March 14, 2019 (San Diego) - In honor of Pi Day and in support of local teachers, San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) is launching a $314,159 matching grant program to enable K-12 public schools in the region to provide more classroom learning opportunities in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).

Pi (Greek letter “π”) is the symbol used in math to represent a constant — the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter — which is approximately 3.14159. Accordingly, SDG&E has set aside a donation amount reflecting the infinite number.  Shareholder funds (not utility rates) are used to fund the charitable initiative. 

“Innovation and economic prosperity in our region are powered by breakthroughs in science, technology, engineering and math,” said SDG&E Chief Operating Officer Caroline Winn, an outspoken STEM champion. “Teachers play a critical role in inspiring future innovators, so it is important for us to support classroom-based STEM learning opportunities.”

This is the second year SDG&E is providing matching grants to support local STEM teachers in partnership with –  an online platform that enables public school teachers to crowdfund materials, projects, and field trips for their students. This year SDG&E aims to support 500 teachers at 300 local schools, through 600 STEM projects that could reach 40,000 students. Last year, SDG&E helped 208 teachers at 135 schools and reached nearly 20,000 students through 286 STEM projects.  Sixty-four percent of these schools were in disadvantaged communities.  

With mathematics being a key pillar of STEM education, Pi Day is the perfect time to kickstart the crowdfunding initiative as math enthusiasts all over the world recite the infinite digits of Pi, talk to their friends about math, and eat pie. 

Teachers at public schools located in San Diego and South Orange counties that are served by SDG&E are eligible to receive matching funds for STEM projects that cost $1,000 or less. For every dollar they raise via DonorsChoose, SDG&E will provide a $1 match.  For teachers whose schools are located in disadvantaged communities, as defined by the state’s CalEnviroScreen as being most vulnerable to environmental pollution, SDG&E will offer a $2 match for every $1 raised by teachers, making public contributions even more impactful. 

“Teachers across San Diego County do extraordinary work every day to cultivate students’ interest in STEM,” said Dr. Paul Gothold, superintendent of the San Diego County Office of Education. “The support of individual donors and SDG&E for STEM education in the classroom makes a real difference, especially in fostering innovation and in creating greater equity across students, schools, and communities.”

Teachers are encouraged to create project requests through  To donate to a project that SDG&E is matching, visit

SDG&E is a San Diego-based energy company that provides clean, safe and reliable energy to better the lives of the people it serves in San Diego and southern Orange counties. The company is committed to creating a sustainable future by providing around 45 percent of its electricity from renewable sources; modernizing natural gas pipelines; accelerating the adoption of electric vehicles; supporting numerous non-profit partners; and, investing in innovative technologies to ensure the reliable operation of the region’s infrastructure for generations to come. SDG&E is a subsidiary of Sempra Energy (NYSE: SRE), a Fortune 500 energy services holding company based in San Diego. For more information, visit or connect with SDG&E on Twitter (@SDGE), Instagram (@SDGE) and Facebook.

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"California Mandated"?

It seems that "California Mandated" that public utilities spend money on public education, energy savings, technology and research programs etc. Who is behind that door? Public Utilities Commission, State Legislature or some other State bureaucracy doing the mandating? It still takes us back to the money trail.......our pocketbooks as rate payers. This does not sit well with me.

Shareholder funds (not utility rates) are used to fund the chari

Would someone explain (1) where "shareholder funds" come from and (2) what utility rates has to do with it. I would presume that every dollar SDG&E takes in, comes from our pockets in some way. SDG&E is playing the "Welfare" public relations ploy whereby they are giving out rate discounts, grants. rebates etc. They also pay (guaranteed) common stock dividends. So nice of SDG&E however, the money has to come from somewhere. SDG&E "does not" produce anything today, whereby in the past they generated electricity. Now they are just a middleman that causes rates to increase just by being a middleman. I also would presume that the Public Utilities Commission is charged with oversight. Is there any?

Some utility "grants" are mandated by the state.

California mandates that utilities spend money on certain things, such as public education programs on energy savings.  There is an energy technology and research program administered 80% by the state and 20% by utilities, for instance:

I am not certain about the specific grant funds listed above.