Hilcorp Alaska employees could donate more than $5 million to Alaska charities over the next year under a program that will be run by the Alaska Community Foundation, a group that connects donors with nonprofits.
The foundation announced the deal with the oil company on Monday, amid concerns that philanthropy in the state will drop when Hilcorp, a relatively small, private company, closes a $5.6 billion deal to buy BP Alaska’s assets. BP provided about $4 million in corporate donations to Alaska causes in 2018, according to a company spokeswoman.
The potential donations from Hilcorp employees this year will benefit from a one-time boost as the oil company expands its workforce in the state, said Elizabeth Miller, a vice president with the foundation. The level of giving could fall in future years, she said.
Giving at Hilcorp is employee-directed, so the actual amount Alaska charities receive from the company will be determined by the employees’ generosity, Miller said. Hilcorp employees can also give to charities outside Alaska if they wish, she said.
The donations will fall under the Hilcorp Giving Program, created in 2007. The nationwide program has been run by a foundation in Houston, Texas, where Hilcorp is based. Under the new partnership, the Alaska Community Foundation will run the Alaska portion of the program.
The Alaska Community Foundation works with donors to coordinate contributions to nonprofits. Separately from the Hilcorp partnership, it runs Pick.Click.Give., a program that distributes donations from Alaska Permanent Fund Dividends.
Hilcorp is in the process of acquiring BP’s North Slope assets, including BP’s share of the trans-Alaska pipeline and Prudhoe Bay. The deal still needs regulatory approval.
BP has established well-known philanthropic programs in the state, including the BP Teachers of Excellence awards and another program that has given millions of dollars in college scholarships to Alaska students. The future of those programs is uncertain, said Megan Baldino, a spokeswoman with BP.
The expectation for how much Hilcorp and employees will give over the next year is based on estimates provided by the company, using past rates of employee giving, Miller said.
Hilcorp-related donations this year will benefit from an initial $2,500 infusion into a charitable fund that Hilcorp gives new employees, Miller said. The employees can then donate the money to “a qualified charity or charities” of their choice, according to the oil company.
Hilcorp this year plans to add about 1,000 employees to its Alaska workforce of about 500 as it completes the deal with BP. The new employees would receive about $2.5 million under the program.
After its initial investment, Hilcorp matches employee donations up to $2,000 annually.
Dave Wilkins, a senior vice president with the company, said in a statement that more than 90% of Hilcorp Alaska employees are from Alaska.
“Whether it is an after school program for at-risk youth, their church, or a homeless shelter, we empower our employees to become lifelong philanthropists and determine how best they can help their communities," he said.
The company’s current workforce in Alaska has been part of the Hilcorp giving program for years.
Since the program began in 2007, Hilcorp employees nationally have given over $15 million to nonprofit organizations, the foundation’s statement said.
The Greater Houston Community Foundation has managed the program nationally.
In April, the Alaska Community Foundation will receive the charitable funds that the Houston foundation has administered for Hilcorp’s current Alaska employees. Miller said she did not yet know the size of those funds.
Once the program is in place, Hilcorp employees in Alaska will be able to donate to groups through web-based portals, she said.