AUSTIN - The Texas Oil & Gas Association released the following column as a part of TXOGA's year-long celebration of its centennial anniversary.
November is National Philanthropy Month! If you're looking for evidence of true Texas philanthropic spirit, then look no further than our state's oil and natural gas industry. Beyond fueling our state, our nation and our world, Texas oil and natural gas companies and their employees devote their time, talent and treasure towards caring for the communities they call home.
Each year, oil and natural gas companies donate millions of dollars to philanthropic causes across Texas, providing significant funding for STEM education programs, community housing projects, disaster relief efforts and a wide range of local charities.
Throughout the company's operational footprint, CITGOS's STEM Talent Pipeline initiative has funded programs that promote the importance of STEM education and provide educators with the resources they need. SM Energy's partnership with Texas Tech University Whitacre College of Engineering's Robotics program helps cultivate an interest in STEM studies and careers throughout West Texas by serving over 2,500 students, 65 school districts, 118 school campuses, home school organizations, private schools, 4-H organizations, and Boys and Girls Clubs.
After Balmorhea State Park's world-famous spring-fed swimming pool closed down due to structural collapse, Apache Corporation partnered with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation to raise $2 million for repairs and was later recognized with the Interstate Oil & Gas Compact Commission's 2019 Chairman's Stewardship Award for their efforts.
BP's Foundation Employee Matching Fund was created to help grow the impact of employee volunteer time, charitable donations and participation in fundraising pledge events. In 2018 alone, BP employees personally contributed $6.4 million to charitable organizations and educational institutions worldwide for which the BP Foundation provided matching gifts totaling about $6 million. Similarly, in 2018, EOG Resources employees contributed over $1.8 million under company matching gifts programs. EOG and its employees donated nearly $6 million that year. Hilcorp Energy Company establishes a charitable trust for every new employee with an initial gift of $2,500 to be donated at the employee's direction to a qualified charity or charities of his or her choice. The company then matches employee contributions dollar for dollar up to $2,000 each year. Since its inception, the Hilcorp Giving Program has contributed over $11.5 million to non-profit organizations throughout the United States, benefitting all types of causes.
Beyond investing tremendous financial resources, it's the time, dedication and tireless volunteer efforts of Texas oil and natural gas employees that best showcase the philanthropic heart of this industry.
During Hurricane Harvey, oil and natural gas employees from all over Texas stepped up to help those affected by the storm. Halliburton employees evacuated nearly 100 people using company assets, and Cheniere employees used their own boats during the storm to help neighbors, coworkers, and even to save livestock!
In April, Centennial Resource Development, Inc. celebrated its first "Day of Service," providing the opportunity for all employees to spend a day out of the office to participate in volunteer efforts such as pantry stocking, planting trees and serving meals to the homeless. PDC Energy's "Energizing our Community Day" hosts an organized effort for employees and their families to participate in an annual full day of volunteering.
In 2018 alone, Phillips 66 employees spent 78,000 hours volunteering and supported 853 different organizations. Valero employees logged more than 150,000 hours in 2018 volunteering for hundreds of community projects, including mentorships, shelter support, holiday events, and emergency relief. Over 7,300 employees and retirees volunteered through Chevron Humankind, totaling more than 274,200 volunteer hours and benefitting 2,185 charitable organizations in 2018.
Through a multitude of meaningful philanthropic efforts, the Texas oil and natural gas industry has proven a commitment to serve and better local communities across the Lone Star State. Taking care of communities, neighbors, schools and families is as vital to the industry's purpose as providing the energy and everyday products that make our modern lives possible because this is our economy, our environment, and our future, too.