Chesapeake Energy has pledged $1 million to the United Way of Metropolitan Tarrant County, kicking off the first-ever Barnett Shale Endowment Fund. UPDATE: Click here to read the full Star-Telegram story.
Oklahoma City-based Chesapeake announced the donation, which will be paid in roughly $200,000 annual payments over five years, this evening at the opening of the new headquarters for United Way. The non-profit just moved into the Mercado development on Main Street just north of downtown Fort Worth.
United Way plans to spend 5% of the value of the fund annually and keep the rest to build interest income. United Way's first distribution of the fund is expected by April 2009, O'Malley said.
While this is not the first large donation from a deep-pocketed energy company getting rich off the Barnett Shale, it is considered to be the largest natural-gas-related donation for the United Way's Fort Worth office.
Examples of other donations thanks to the Barnett Shale:
- In June 2007, Chesapeake announced a total pledge of $3.75 million for scholarships to students in Fort Worth and Dallas.
- For the past three years, Fort Worth-based XTO Energy has been a big benefactor at the Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo, buying the Grand Champion steer each time. The company has also been big in buying up and redeveloping property in downtown Fort Worth. The company has a total seven buildings and a parking garage in downtown, imploded another one and is redeveloping a building in the Fort Worth Stockyards.
- Devon Energy gave $3 million to the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History building project in 2007 and was the lead donor in the Fort Worth Police and Firefighters Memorial Project with a $200,000 gift last year. The Oklahoma City-based company, the largest player in the Barnett Shale, gave another $100,000 to the North Texas High School Rodeo Association last year. Several Barnett Shale players were major founding donors to the Science Museum's capital campaign.
- Here's a story from S-T reporter Sarah Bahari on how corporate sponsorship of charitable organizations is tightening, but Chesapeake says it still gives a lot.
-- David Wethe
(Photo: United Way of Tarrant County moves to new headquarters in Mercado building, north Fort Worth, in January)