After pledging $1 million in October to fund requests by local teachers for classroom projects as part of the annual Fuel Your School program, Chevron this week announced yet another $1 million donation toward local education.
The contribution to Oakland-based nonprofit BASIC Fund will pay for scholarships enabling 100 Bay Area children from low-income families – including those from Richmond and surrounding communities — to attend well-regarded private schools.
The contribution was made in honor of Chevron Chairman and CEO John Watson, who is retiring Feb. 1 after 37 years with the company and who has made investments in education a priority since becoming CEO in 2010.
This is “the single largest corporate donation in our organization’s history,” said Rachel Elginsmith, the BASIC Fund’s executive director.
In addition to providing scholarships, the donation will launch “a new business and financial literacy program to support students’ long term-success,” Elginsmith said.
Watson has a special connection to education. His mother and wife were both teachers. They reinforced how education “sets the foundation for higher learning and a successful career,” Watson said.
“Unfortunately, not every family has access to this foundation,” he said.
Since 2013, Chevron’s support for education worldwide has totaled over $340 million. The company has focused investments on enhancing education opportunities in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) — subjects that prepare students for careers of the future, including within the energy industry.
That has included partnerships with the Oakland A’s and San Francisco 49ers to teach science to kids through a fun medium like sports. It brings STEM Zones to local stadiums and parks, along with science-based youth baseball clinics led by big-name athletes. “Science of the Game” workbooks are passed out to local elementary school students who can earn a trip to the stadium by reading them. In October, Verde Elementary in North Richmond received a surprise $25,000 check to purchase FOSS kits, which include materials to expand the school’s ability to offer STEM education programs.
Chevron funds also launched the Richmond Promise College Scholarship program that provides local students both scholarships and financial aid guidance and general college counseling.