CNX reaches out to community with co-working spaces

Rick Shrum

Speaking from corporate offices that stand out among the ubiquitous hills of Southpointe, Nick Deluliis kicked off a recent tour of CNX Resources’ building by outlining one of the company’s missions.

“We want to invest in our region, and our region is Appalachia,” said the president and CEO of the natural gas exploration, development and production company. “We want to invest locally in tangible, impactful ways.”

Appalachia may be huge, stretching across most of Pennsylvania, all of West Virginia and 11 other states. But the investment is formidable as well – $30 million to enhance communities throughout that region. The publicly traded company has funded that amount through CNX Foundation, a nonprofit it established last July.

That investment now includes an outreach initiative introduced by company officials during that May 19 tour. It’s called HQ at CNX, which is designed to provide co-working spaces where nonprofit, charitable, underserved and underrepresented organizations would have an opportunity to ramp up their businesses.

The rental spaces would be at CNX headquarters, 1000 Consol Energy Drive, in the mixed-use park in Cecil Township.

Interested organizations can become HQ members and select from three levels of services, and annual fees, that are based on amounts of space and amenities offered. Members make an initial two-year commitment, but pay nothing the first year. Fees are $600, $1,800 and $2,400, respectively, for levels 1, 2 and 3.

One CNX official said, “We’ve gotten interest from organizations already.”

HQ is a viable endeavor, said Audric Dodds, the firm’s director of Community Relations and Strategic Partnerships, and executive director of CNX Foundation.

“We’re a profitable organization and we feel communities can benefit from what we do. You don’t have to be a perfect organization to partner with CNX. We look for diamonds in the rough.”

Dodds spoke during an hour-long tour of the four-story CNX complex, which drew about 40 business leaders, community members and CNX partners. The “tourists” coursed through three sections of available space – offices, co-working and flex spaces, private meeting rooms and a kitchenette. There is vast outdoor space on the rooftop, where training, board meetings and other events can unfold.

Amenities also will include free WiFi and parking; 24/7 security and entry; and office cleaning and maintenance.

Southwestern Pennsylvania businesses, Dodds assured, are in line to benefit from the HQ initiative. “Communities closest to our operations are our first priority,” he said. “We then want to support the broader Appalachian region with an emphasis on underserved and underrepresented communities.”

CNX and its foundation also operate the Mentorship Academy, for high school students who do not plan to attend a four-year college immediately after graduation. The academy, which is completing its first year, focuses on providing urban and rural youngsters from economically disadvantaged communities with opportunities to succeed.

“We show them job opportunities, real opportunities they can take advantage of when they graduate,” Dodds said, adding that 30 seniors are now in the program. “They can get a job with us or a partner.”

CNX works with a number of partners, some of which participated in the tour. They included True Fit Marketing, located in the CNX building; Washington County Community Foundation; and organizations that may end up becoming HQ at CNX members.

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