Company grants $118,000 to support community groups

Leigh Black Irvin
lirvin@daily-times.com
At center, Ailee Samora plays table soccer with Xavier Lopez on Friday at the Aztec Boys and Girls Club.
  • The funds will go toward supporting programs that focus on education, health and safety and natural resources.
  • Money was given to the American Red Cross to install fire alarms in homes
  • Aztec Boys & Girls Club received money for after school and summer programs for kids

FARMINGTON – ConocoPhillips has awarded nearly $118,000 in grant funds to 31 organizations throughout northwest New Mexico and southwest Colorado. The funds will go toward supporting programs that focus on education, health and safety and natural resources, according to ConocoPhillips officials.

Some of the organizations within San Juan County that received the grant funding include San Juan United Way, the American Red Cross, Boys & Girls Clubs in Aztec, Bloomfield, Farmington, Childhaven, Presbyterian Medical Services, and the Family Crisis Center.

"At ConocoPhillips, we believe it is important to give back to the communities where we live and work, and we are pleased to support local organizations that are improving the quality of life for residents in the Four Corners region," said San Juan Asset Manager David Mabee in a press release. "The grants will support specific projects or purchases that will allow each organization to achieve its mission."

ConocoPhillips spokeswoman Davy Kong said the company gives out the grants each year, and said the amount given varies, depending on the grant requests.

"The funds go toward supporting whatever projects are specified in the grant application," she said.

Michael Patch, CEO for the Aztec Boys & Girls Club, said ConocoPhillips provided a grant of $5,400 to his organization, which provides kids with a positive and safe place to go after school and during summer months — offering educational and recreational activities during times when the children might otherwise have nothing constructive to do.

Mike Patch, executive director of the Aztec Boys and Girls Club plays a board game with James Goolsby, left, and Robert Averett on Friday at the Aztec Boys and Girls Club.

Patch said local ConocoPhillips employees have helped his organization in other ways, in addition to providing financial support.

"They've been a great corporate citizen for many years," he said. "During the last Day of Caring, 20 ConocoPhillips staff members came here to help us paint and do other projects."

The Day of Caring is a United Way-sponsored event in September where volunteers work on service projects throughout the county,

Regarding the company's announcement earlier this year that it will be seeking to sell off its San Juan County assets, Patch said he understands that the company must do what is economically necessary.

"I understand the times and the market are changing, but as long as they're here, we'll keep appreciating what they do," he said.

Patch said his agency applied for funds to support after-school programs, as well as summer programs.

"We have 36 off-campus field trips, and the support makes all that possible," he said. "It gives the kids a chance to have a summer experience outside of Aztec."

The funds provided to the American Red Cross, which is now located in Aztec, will go toward making homes within the county safer, said Amanda Kibel, Regional Disaster Workforce Engagement Manager for the agency.

"They gave us $5,000 for our Home Fire Preparedness Program," said Kibel. "We go into homes and install smoke alarms and replace alarm batteries free of charge to make the homes safer."

Kibel said funds will also help with the organization's outreach efforts, as volunteers often go door-to-door to educate the public on the importance of having working alarms in their homes.

"We knock on hundreds of hundreds of doors," she said. "Our goal is to reduce deaths by home fires across the country. An alarm provides a quicker warning so people have time to get out of the house in the event of a fire. ConocoPhillips has provided help for our organization in the past, usually for our Disaster Services Program. They're a huge supporter of the Red Cross."

For more information on ConocoPhillips and its community support programs, visit, www.conocophillips.com.

Leigh Black Irvin is the business editor for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4621.