Award-winning actor Samuel L. Jackson, Memphis Tigers basketball head coach John Calipari and Memphis Grizzlies Guard Rudy Gay have volunteered their talents to raise money and awareness of energy conservation and Plus-1, a MIFA-run program which assists families in crisis in Memphis and Shelby County by helping to pay their utility bills. MLGW worked to produce the Public Service Announcements featuring the actors and athletes.
Jackson, whose list of credits include A Time to Kill, Pulp Fiction, the Star Wars series and The Incredibles, has worked in the Memphis area on various movie projects like the recent Black Snake Moan, also recorded a PSA for MLGW reminding customers of important energy-saving tips.
Coach Calipari has led the Memphis Tigers to victory in over 74 percent of his games during his tenure as the head coach at the University of Memphis. Calipari has been instrumental in re-energizing Memphis' love affair with Tiger basketball.
Gay, a second year starter for the Grizzlies, averages 15.8 points per game. He was Named First Team All-American by the NABC, won the Rupp Award and was one of four finalists for the Naismith National Player of the Year Award while playing for the University of Connecticut Huskies. He was also a member of the USA Men's Basketball Team.
The Plus-1 program is administered by the Metropolitan Inter-Faith Association (MIFA). MLGW customers fund the program through one-time donations or by adding a dollar or more to their utility bill each month. Since its inception in 1982, Plus-1 has provided millions of dollars in assistance. Last year's giving to the Plus-1 program was a 20 year low.
Plus-1 recipients come from all walks of life; however due to genuine hardships such as debilitating illness or recent unemployment, their financial resources are thoroughly exhausted. Each month, MIFA receives more than 800 requests for utility assistance, but is able to help only about 140 of these families due to the program's limited funds. However, to those who do receive aid, the Plus-1 gift makes the difference between being able to heat their home, cook their meals, and live in a cold, hungry world.
MLGW is the largest three-service public power utility in the nation, serving more than 420,000 customers in Memphis and Shelby County. A 2007 survey of large metropolitan areas showed that MLGW has the sixth lowest combined rates in the nation.