Portland General Electric employees and retirees are on track to donate around $1.7 million to charity this year, including the company’s 50 percent match.

A record 66 percent of company employees and retirees participated in this year’s annual PGE Employee Giving Campaign benefiting more than 1,000 nonprofits and schools. Nationally, 35 percent of employees participate in similar programs.

“I’m very proud of what they’ve done and their generosity in this year’s campaign is outstanding,” said Jim Piro, PGE president and CEO. “Every year, especially during challenging economic times, we never know how much we are going to raise, but once again our employees have stepped up to support the organizations they care about.”

Top recipients include: Oregon Food Bank, Work for Art, Oregon State University Foundation, Doernbecher Children’s Hospital Foundation, Providence Medical Foundation/Providence Cancer Center, Emanuel Medical Center Foundation/Oregon Burn Center, Oregon Humane Society, Oregon Public Broadcasting, Dougy Center for Grieving Children, and Oregon HEAT.

Motivated PGE employees include Rod Haines, a crew dispatcher. No matter where he is, Haines does a full-body exercise called a burpee every day. Friends and family make donations for every burpee that Haines does.

Haines is raising money for multiple sclerosis awareness and research. He chose that cause because his mother was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis 16 years ago.

“On January 1, I did one burpee and on December 31, I will do 366 burpees,” Haines says, noting 2012 is a Leap Year. “Multiple sclerosis doesn’t take a day off and I won’t either.”

Haines is one of more than 1,700 company employees and 140 retirees who participated in the annual program this year. Since the company match program began in 1999, PGE and its employees and retirees have contributed more than $15.8 million to their communities.

Portland General Electric is an electric utility that serves approximately 829,000 residential, commercial and industrial customers in Oregon. It is headquartered in Portland.

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