November 30, 2023

From climate action to youth-oriented causes — Sempra employees give back to their communities

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Meet some of our employees that make differences in their communities and how Sempra and the Sempra Foundation support them

Whether it’s collecting basic essentials for people in need, participating in volunteer cleanups and beautification events or supporting emergency services and disaster relief efforts, employees with the Sempra family of companies are involved in an array of charitable causes that help improve their neighborhoods. Their efforts don’t just stop with their donated time, energy and/or funds either — the Sempra Foundation, which is funded by Sempra, donates money for every hour an employee volunteers with a nonprofit organization in addition to matching employees’ monetary contributions.

Here’s a glance at the work some of our employees are doing in their communities.

The mother-daughter duo

Carmen Ortega and Michele Shimose of SoCalGas volunteer at a nonprofit in Southern CaliforniaCarmen Ortega, a remittance processing supervisor for Sempra California’s SoCalGas, isn’t just a passionate community volunteer. She’s also the mother of a passionate community volunteer.

Ortega, alongside her daughter Michele Shimose, a project advisor in financial performance for SoCalGas, are actively involved in charities, like Shoes that Fit, Heart of Compassion and Los Angeles Regional Food Bank, across Los Angeles County. Together, they have organized the collection of shoes and backpacks for 400 children in need. Ortega said it’s about more than just giving children shoes and backpacks — it’s fulfilling their basic needs.

“It gives these children an opportunity to be like other kids, to attend school with dignity,” said Ortega, who has been with Sempra’s family of companies for 38 years. “A new pair of shoes brightens up a child’s self-esteem and helps bring out a positive attitude for them to face their day.”

Shimose said their charitable efforts are more impactful because they are Sempra employees.

“The support that the Sempra Foundation provides means that my individual volunteering is compounded and increases the impact one person can have,” Shimose said.

Photo: Carmen Ortega and Michele Shimose of SoCalGas volunteer at a nonprofit in Southern California

The aviator who protects

Harvey Wagner of Sempra Infrastructure, a volunteer captain with the Civil Air Patrol, poses in front of an airplaneWhen Harvey Wagner isn’t fulfilling his job duties as the director of project development for Sempra Infrastructure, a Sempra operating company, he is serving as a captain for the Civil Air Patrol (CAP), a volunteer organization and the official auxiliary to the U.S. Air Force. When Wagner is on a mission, he is focused on keeping people safe and saving lives. The missions include search and rescue operations, disaster relief, wildland firefighting support and pandemic response, just to name a few.

“Volunteering with the CAP allows me to continue to serve my country and community using my skill set and passion for aviation while maintaining a separate professional career,” said Wagner, who has been with Sempra’s family of companies for eight years. “We make direct positive impacts in the community through numerous types of missions. Knowing that Sempra has my back when I volunteer helps me to focus on carrying out these and other critical missions safely and successfully,” he said.

Photo: Harvey Wagner of Sempra Infrastructure, a volunteer captain with the Civil Air Patrol, poses in front of an airplane

The Jill-of-all-trades

Alison Thomas pauses for a photo during a volunteering sessionAlison Thomas will always join an effort to support a charitable cause. Thomas, an executive assistant at Sempra for six years, has been involved in Environmental All Stars, Produce Good, San Diego Audubon Society, I Love a Clean San Diego, Kitchens for Good, Scripps Ranch Theatre and La Jolla Playhouse, among other nonprofits.

The list of charitable causes may sound overwhelming, but Thomas loves all of it.

“I love working with many organizations that provide opportunities to work with like-minded individuals,” Thomas said. “Being active in the community is important to me, I like to give back. It is wonderful that Sempra is so supportive especially with the volunteer hours matching program.”

Photo: Alison Thomas pauses for a photo during a volunteering session

The nature afficionado

Taylor Sais, municipal infrastructure advisor for regional public affairs at Sempra California’s SDG&E, said his background in environmental science coupled with the power of volunteerism sparked his desire to support causes such as the Newport Bay Conservancy and the Agua Hedionda Lagoon Foundation.

“Watching community members come out for a common cause to protect the bay really motivated me to see what else I could do to support the Newport Bay,” Sais said.

What’s more motivation? Having the support of his employer.

“It is amazing to have Sempra support employees’ charitable initiatives as many employees put a lot of their time into these organizations,” Sais said.

In fact, the employee-match donation from the Sempra Foundation helps bring low-income students to the bay.

“Many of these students live within 10 miles from Upper Newport Bay and have never visited the ocean, let alone a wetland,” Sais said. “The Sempra Foundation’s donation helps contribute to the bussing of these students to and from the nature preserve.”

The passionate do-gooder

Cintia Nava volunteers to help clean up a parkCintia Nava, an administrative coordinator for Sempra Infrastructure, is involved in all parts of the Sempra Infrastructure Foundation’s work where education, clean energy, emergency relief and volunteerism are the focus. An employee with the Sempra family of companies for four years, Nava said she rarely passes on an opportunity to do good in the community.

“I have always loved helping and when I have the opportunity, I don’t think twice about it,” Nava said. “I have supported it with every opportunity. It will continue to be that way as long as I belong to this great Sempra family of companies.”

Nava has volunteered with Patronato Francisco Mendez to help paint recreational facilities and Mexican Food Banks Association to help collect beans and rice.

Nava said she’s proud to be a part of a leading North American energy infrastructure company that also focuses on humanitarian efforts.

“It means a lot to me to belong to a company that is also a humanitarian company where we can all help whoever needs it,” Nava said.

Photo: Cintia Nava of Sempra Infrastructure devotes her extra time to causes supported by the Sempra Infrastructure Foundation in Mexico

Across Sempra

As of Sept. 30, 2023, employees with the Sempra family of companies have donated more than 24,000 volunteer hours to charitable causes. To support their volunteer efforts, the Sempra Foundation has donated nearly $200,000.

In total, the Sempra Foundation has matched $2.3 million in employee donations to charitable causes from Jan. 1, 2023 to Sept. 30, 2023.

In celebration of Giving Tuesday, the Sempra Foundation hosted another Double Match Day for Sempra employees on Nov. 28, double-matching any donation an employee made that day to a valid nonprofit, 501c3 organization.

For more information about the Sempra Foundation, visit To explore career opportunities with the Sempra family of companies, visit our careers page.