Marcellus Industry Providing Millions in Donations to Local Charities
Despite low commodity prices and a slowdown of drilling across Pennsylvania, the Marcellus Shale industry has continued to provide funding for local charity organizations. This support has taken place at a time when much of the rest of the country was feeling impacts from the recession and charities were struggling to put money in their coffers. As Patriot-News reports,
“The right place was thousands of feet above a river of natural gas, and the right time was at the start of the Marcellus Shale boom.
“If a charity in Washington County is not receiving money from Marcellus Shale companies, it’s because they’re not asking,” Murphy said.
Oil and gas development was a game-changer for nonprofits in Washington County and throughout the state.
It’s generally believed that, as goes the economy, so do donations to nonprofits. But the industry changed that axiom in Pennsylvania.
As profits fell and the unemployment rate soared, local charitable organizations were receiving more money. They were able to help when it was needed most, thanks to new donations from oil and gas companies.”
Mary Pat Joseph, who heads the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation in Pennsylvania, told the Patriot-News,
“I…was very pleased to see that companies like Range Resources have made a great effort to…maintain their alliances and support levels,” said Joseph, the foundation’s executive director. “I can confidently state that this industry has been a consistent and caring partner to many of us in the nonprofit sector.”
Just how much money is being put back into local communities via these donations?
According to Patriot-News, the first company to drill a well in the Marcellus, Range Resources, was also the first to donate to the United Way back in 2007. Since then, the organization has received almost $1.2 million from the industry and local landowners that received lease and royalty money. In Washington County, Range Resources alone has paid landowners around $1.3 billion in lease and royalty money, much of which gets spent or donated back into the community.
Patriot-News goes on to report,
While records show Range typically gives the most, it’s not the only company investing in the community. Murphy said United Way has also received “very generous donations” from Range vendors, law firms representing energy companies, Noble Energy, Williams Partners, Chesapeake Energy, Rex Energy and others.
Consol Energy gave $40,000 last year to the Imperial Fire Department to add a training room in the department’s new fire station in Findlay Township. The company also contributed $80,000 to the Community Foundation of Greene County’s Educational Improvement Fund.
In northeast Pennsylvania, Cabot Oil & Gas donated $2.5 million in April 2014 to fund the Lackawanna College School of Petroleum & Natural Gas in Susquehanna County.
Range’s spokesperson, Matt Pittzarella, told the news outlet the company has donated around $10 million to local charities and organizations, mostly in Washington County. He went on to say,
“Even during a challenging down cycle, Range remains committed to the communities where we live and work. We’re more creative in how we support these organizations, primarily through volunteer time and helping to connect area nonprofits with other resources and programs to achieve their goals.”
Across the state organizations like Junior Achievement, Hunters Sharing the Harvest, Wounded Warrior, and the National Wild Turkey Federation have partnered with the industry to receive both monetary and volunteer support. In Susquehanna County, a fundraising campaign greatly assisted by Cabot Oil & Gas even led to a brand-new, much needed hospital being built to service the community.
The Marcellus Shale industry, with its many local employees, has strived to be a positive part of the communities these companies operate in. Since 2007 this industry has helped to foster a greater ability to give back through local charities, and has been an important part of Pennsylvania’s non-profit partnerships. And that’s despite low commodity prices and at the same time that companies continue to provide millions of dollars to the state and counties through local impact fees.