Enviva investing more to help community projects

By: By Gavin Stone - Staff Writer

ROCKINGHAM — Enviva Biomass will increase its contribution to local nonprofits Habitat for Humanity and Military Missions in Action by 30 percent in the new fiscal year.

The two organizations will put the extra money towards similar causes: helping elderly people in need of home repairs that will allow them to avoid going to a nursing home, though MMIA focuses on aging veterans. This is the second year of the company’s contributions to the nonprofits.

Habitat will receive about $3,000 in additional funds, which will be put towards its Critical Home Repair program, according to Amie Fraley, executive director of Habitat for Humanity of the NC Sandhills. The CHR program, which targets those who do not already own Habitat homes, will be able to provide assistance to an estimated two additional families, according to Fraley.

“We focus on those who want to age in place,” Fraley said of the CHR program. “Adding a ramp or new roof allows them to stay there safely.”

Fraley added that the money will likely be used to support repairs this fall. Some Enviva staff went out to a Habitat build site last year, and Fraley said she hopes it will be an ongoing partnership as the company brings in more local employees.

Tony Lennon, regional director for MMIA, said the donations from Enviva last year “really helped” because the organization’s projects can quickly reach four-digit expenses, even with donations and other assistance.

“It’s very generous of them,” Lennon said. “They’re a good group down there.”

Lennon said MMIA, which typically does two or three projects in Richmond County each year, is still in search of additional projects whose price tag is “in the ballpark” of what Enviva is willing to contribute.

“Once we figure out the most needy people, we’ll jump on it,” Lennon said.

Enviva has supported several causes in Richmond County since it began construction of its new plant on N.C. 177, including in nearby Dobbins Heights and Monroe Avenue Elementary School.

“Enviva endeavors to support initiatives that will have a meaningful impact on the local communities where we live and operate. Our employees enjoy giving back and volunteering their time to local nonprofit organizations that mirror our company’s mission and values,” Communications and Public Affairs Director Maria Moreno said in an email. “We very much look forward to continuing to invest more time and resources to these and similar programs in the Richmond County area in the future.”

Reach Gavin Stone at 910-817-2674 or [email protected]

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By Gavin Stone

Staff Writer