By ANCHORAGE DAILY PLANET
It is amazing to watch as the news that BP is planning to leave the state rattles through the nonprofit universe in Alaska.
Over the years, you seldom heard anything positive about BP or the oil industry. Plenty of bad. Not much good. You rarely heard they annually gave millions of dollars to nonprofits – BP alone gave something like $4 million just last year – or loaned executives to them, or encouraged employees to pitch in and help in their communities.
BP generously supported more than 200 organizations across the state, gave earthquake aid, built a conference center and supported everything from the Alaska State Fair to the Fur Rendezvous to the Alaska Zoo. It funded scholarships and camps and the Anchorage symphony. The list is seemingly endless. In its 50 years in Alaska, it has been a generous corporate neighbor.
Now that it plans to pull up stakes for greener pastures, folks are starting to remember all that. The worries are that Houston-based Hilcorp, the proposed buyer, may not be so generous. It gave $315,000 to Alaska charities last year, the Anchorage Daily News reported.
But “$13.5 million has been donated by (its) employees to organizations across the United States, according to data on Hilcorp’s website. About 43 percent of that money, or $5.8 million, went to religious causes — by far the biggest donation category,” the newspaper reported.
If regulators agree, the company Alaska loves to hate, the company that for decades fed much of the state and paid for its government, is leaving. It will be missed.
And not only on the North Slope.