It’s the time of year when kind hearts spread joy and happiness as goodwill takes center stage. Oil and gas companies as well as individuals known for their ties to the energy sector are no exception to these acts of generosity. Some of these acts of service oftentimes are carried throughout the year. Those efforts mean a lot to not only those on the receiving end but also others in the community who see another side of the industry. Earlier this month, Nexen Inc. donated $100,000 to Sorrentino’s Compassion House, an organization in Alberta, Canada, that provides support for women undergoing breast cancer treatment, diagnosis, or follow-up care. The donation was part of a campaign that aims to raise money to build additional guest suites for women with breast cancer. “At Nexen, giving back to the communities where we live and work is one of our core values,” Kris Geekie, director of community consultation and regulatory affairs-oil sands for Nexen, said in a prepared statement. “Sorrentino’s Compassion House helps residents from over 160 communities in northern Alberta who are fighting breast cancer, and many of them live in the Wood Buffalo region. At Nexen, we want to do our part to help our neighbors in the fight of their lives.” Oilman T. Boone Pickens spread holiday cheer in December, too, giving out free tickets to the Oklahoma State v. Gonzaga basketball game. Pickens bought 4,000 unsold tickets for the New Year’s Eve game and brought many smiles to the faces of OSU fans. “I thought long and hard about what gift I could give my fellow OSU Cowboys this year,” Pickens said in a release. "I couldn’t find enough basketballs, but I did find enough basketball tickets. Let’s put them to good use, pack Gallagher-Iba for the Gonzaga game, and put a great exclamation point on a promising OSU basketball season." A few other billionaires or companies with deep pockets could take a hint from this generous act. How about sprinkling the Houston area with some free Houston Texans tickets? Any takers? The spirit of giving doesn’t only come during the holiday season. As oil and gas companies undertake massive projects, pouring millions of dollars into efforts to find and produce hydrocarbons worldwide, many make it a priority to help the communities where they operate throughout the year. Giving back to communities is something in which Noble Energy takes pride. During a recent media briefing in Houston, Noble’s Chairman and CEO Chuck Davidson spoke about how the company is driven by purpose and values, and strives to better people’s lives. The company’s contributions to the Bioko Island Malaria Control Project helped lower the malaria parasite by 55% in children under 15, according to Davidson’s presentation. The company also partnered with the Israel National Museum of Science, Technology and Space to construct a science park. ExxonMobil’s philanthropic arm also extends beyond the US into Africa/Middle East, Europe/Caspian, Asia/Pacific, Canada, and Latin America. The company reported its worldwide community investments to nonprofits and special causes in 2011 totaled US $234 million in cash, goods, and services. The majority of those dollars went toward civic and community causes, pre-college education, and higher education followed closely by employee and retiree giving. And most of those dollars – $161.3 million – stayed at home to help those in need. Contributions to causes in Africa/Middle East, $45.9 million; Europe/Caspian, $30.1 million; and Asia Pacific, $26.1 million, rounded out the top four destinations for ExxonMobil’s investments last year. It is good to hear that companies and individuals still find it important to invest in communities and show love to people, not just people in need but to those who just want to have a little fun. It brings me joy knowing that there are still good deeds happening in the world, although they are often overshadowed by the negative or commonplace business events. To those who give back, I say thank you and keep up the good work. Contact the author, Velda Addison, at