By Velda Addison, Hart Energy

In between the daily barrage of oil- and gas-related news releases, commentary and Google alerts, Exxon Mobil Corp. sent a news release April 17 announcing the company and its employees had donated $743,000 to Alabama colleges and universities.

This one was quickly followed by another news release. This time, more than $1.3 million worth of donations had been made to Virginia colleges and universities.

That afternoon another 11 press releases with similar news from Exxon Mobil hit the email inbox. The donations came in the form of unrestricted grants from the ExxonMobil Foundation, the corporation’s philanthropic arm that is composed of employees, retirees, directors and surviving spouses, according to the releases.

“ExxonMobil employees care about education and make it an investment priority year after year,” said Suzanne McCarron, president of the ExxonMobil Foundation. “Commitment to excellent education is not only important to our business but also ensuring the next generation is prepared to excel in the future.”

Here is the rundown of the states with colleges and universities that received funds in 2014:

  • $743,150 to 12 Alabama schools;
  • $1.4 million to 38 California schools;
  • $857,000 to 12 Colorado schools;
  • $1.1 million to 34 Illinois schools;
  • $854,000 to nine Kansas schools;
  • $2.6 million to 19 Louisiana schools;
  • $1.1 million to 32 New Jersey schools;
  • $3.4 million to 88 New York schools;
  • $909,000 to 33 Ohio schools;
  • $1.4 million to 10 Oklahoma schools;
  • $3.8 million to 67 Pennsylvania schools;
  • $10 million to 77 Texas schools;
  • $909,000 to 33 Ohio schools and
  • $1.3 million to 33 Virginia schools.

As part of the program, donor pledges are matched 3-to-1 up to $7,500 to qualifying U.S. colleges and universities, the company said in the news release. Other funds include the American Indian College Fund, Hispanic Scholarship Fund and the United Negro College Fund.

In all nearly 900 institutions received a total of about $47 million through the 2014 Educational Matching Gift Program, Exxon Mobil said in the release. The amount was actually higher, up $3 million, from the previous year.

In these days of budget cuts and less revenue, it is good to hear that philanthropy still has a place in the hearts of employees and the companies for which they work. Although the grants are unrestricted, institutions receiving the funds are encouraged to use some of money for math and science programs.

Contact the author, Velda Addison, at