Nonprofits worry how BP's departure will affect their budget
BP's announcement that it plans to leave Alaska is raising eyebrows in the nonprofit world as leaders worry another source of income during tough budget times is going away.
In 2018, BP donated more than $4 million to education and community organizations across Alaska. Cassandra Stalzer of United Way of Anchorage said BP and its employees have donated $22 million to the organization over the last 20 years.
"The funding comes through United Way and it gets distributed and dispersed throughout the state," said Stalzer. "That's a significant hit for not just United Way of Anchorage but the nonprofits and the people that they serve."
Staltzer said it's more than just corporate donations that have come from the company. BP employees tend to be active volunteers who serve on the boards of many nonprofits in Alaska.
"They have a really deep culture of community support," she said.
Nonprofits are trying to figure out how BP's exit will effect them, including Catholic Social Services. Director Lisa Aquino said the company donates to the Brother Francis Shelter and Clare House as well as the agency as a whole.
"The support that BP has given to our programs at Catholic Social Services and to our agency overall has been really valuable and they are a very generous supporter," said Aquino. "And that will be something that we will have to go out and find new support for."
Finding new support could be challenging, especially for the University of Alaska which is facing large budget cuts from the state. In a statement, UA President Jim Johnsen said:
"BP Alaska has been a tremendous partner to the University of Alaska over the years. Through sponsorships and generous support of our engineering, STEM and ANSEP programs, as well as an employer of our graduates and funder of our research, BP’s generous philanthropic support and advocacy has provided important leadership for the university and the State of Alaska."
BP spokesperson Megan Baldino said the company plans to honor all of its funding commitments for 2019, but after that, everything else is up for discussion.
Hilcorp, the company purchasing BP's assets in Alaska, issued a statement which said giving back to communities where people live and work is very important to the company and its employees.
A spokesperson for the Hilcorp said it donated nearly $700,000 to various Alaska-based organizations in 2018, which did not include their employee giving program.
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