When tragedy strikes acts of kindness typically emerge. That was the case when people and businesses across the US began responding to calls for donations after a massive tornado touched down in Moore, Okla., claiming the lives of at least 24 people and leaving a trail of damage. Energy companies were among those reaching out to help. Continental Resources announced it would donate US $2.5 million to help with disaster relief efforts in central Oklahoma. Of that amount, $1 million was set to go to the American Red Cross Oklahoma Relief fund, with the rest to be given based on community needs. “We’re standing together with other Oklahomans affected by this tragedy,” Continental Resources CEO Harold Hamm said in a prepared statement. “This is our home. Along with the volunteer efforts and contributions of our employees, we want to do what we can to rebuild our communities.” Other companies that donated included ExxonMobil Corp., $500,000; Chevron Corp., $500,000; and Noble Energy, $500,000. All were donations to the American Red Cross. Noble Energy also committed to match its employee donations up to $1,000 per employee. “From our founder's humble beginnings and the company's inception in Ardmore to the employees that live and work in the area, Oklahoma is a part of the fabric of Noble Energy,” Noble CEO Charles Davidson said in a news release. “We will stand with the communities of Oklahoma to help them recover from the damage and devastation caused by the tornadoes.” In addition to a $1 million donation to the American Red Cross, Oklahoma City-based Chesapeake Energy said it would organize hundreds of employee volunteers to help tornado victims. In a statement, Archie Dunham, chairman of the board, said, “We are providing all possible assistance using Chesapeake equipment, machinery, and resources, and many of our people are already mobilized under the Operation Blue banner and assisting in the rescue efforts. We urge other local businesses and citizens to pitch in to help during our community’s hour of need.” In these situations, every dollar donated helps, and so does work by volunteers lending assistance in neighborhoods hit hard. The willingness to part with money and time shows that companies realize that making a profit isn’t the only thing that matters. Such donations aren’t reserved for times of tragedy. In fact, corporate giving is the norm for some. For example, Pioneer Natural Resources recently teamed up with Goldman Sachs and AT&T in the Dallas-Fort Worth area for a charity golf tournament benefiting an organization that advocates in court for abused children. Dallas CASA received a contribution of about $1.3 million in April. For some companies, providing scholarships for college-bound students are among the ways to give back. For others, contributions include picking an annual fundraising event to pour companywide efforts into, while some target other specific social service causes. ExxonMobil is among the industry’s largest corporate givers. A look at the community and development section of the company’s website shows the magnitude of the company’s investment in communities. In 2011, the company along with its divisions, affiliates, and the ExxonMobil Foundation provided a combined $234 million in cash, goods, and services worldwide, according to information on the company’s website. Initiatives targeted education, health, human rights, and other causes. These acts of generosity by not only the companies, but also their employees are to be commended. People should not forget about these types of acts when forming opinions about the oil and gas industry. Contact the author, Velda Addison, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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