Chesapeake Layoffs Could Affect Metro Nonprofits In Future

Wednesday, September 30th 2015, 7:20 pm
By: News 9

Deep cuts and layoffs at Chesapeake Energy have local charities and nonprofits trying to find other funding sources.

Chesapeake is not only a big employer, but also a big donor to community groups.

Nonprofits are now having to be more creative on where they ask for donations and they are having to look at other industries besides energy.

“This doesn't take them by surprise, this is what they do every day and they are ready for it,” said Jennifer Meckling with the Oklahoma Center for Nonprofits.

Meckling said Chesapeake will honor its current commitments to charities, but future years are in jeopardy.

Meckling said that is why her organization trains charities to not depend on only one donor.

“Much like you would have your own investments diversified, we'd like you to have your funding diversified so that when something like does happen that you don't feel a huge shortfall,” Meckling told News 9.

Chesapeake has supported numerous United Way agencies, like the Salvation Army.

A $5 million donation helped the Salvation Army with its new "Chesapeake Energy Center of Hope" for families in need.

Chesapeake has also been a community sponsor for the Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum, like the 20th anniversary events this year.

The company was also a key orchestrator in the development of the boathouse district along the Oklahoma River.

However, Chesapeake said two years ago it would start cutting back on all donations.

In 2013, it gave $32 million in charitable contributions and in 2014, it gave $10 million.

While that is a decrease, the company is still giving.

“Even in a downturn like this, donations don't stop altogether,” Meckling said.  “That's never going to stop, certainly not for Chesapeake since we know that's part of their culture."

Nonprofits are now looking at other industries for donations, like bio-tech and aerospace, which are booming.