Copyright © 2019 Albuquerque Journal
Business is booming in the Permian Basin, and the New Mexico Oil and Gas Association has created a way to share some of that success with communities outside the southeastern corner of the state.
On Tuesday, NMOGA announced a partnership with the Albuquerque Community Foundation to launch the $1 million Brighter Future Fund.
The money will be awarded to nonprofit and educational organizations, with a goal of enhancing science, technology, engineering and math education; increasing economic opportunity; and alleviating child hunger.
Ryan Flynn, NMOGA executive director, told the Journal the fund will be a way for the energy industry to connect directly with communities in New Mexico that don’t produce oil or natural gas.
The grants will be focused on Albuquerque and Bernalillo County.
“Oil and gas contribute a lot to the general fund of the state budget,” Flynn said. “But for New Mexicans going through their day, that may not seem directly accessible. The Brighter Future Fund is a way to interact and offer direct support to people, regardless of if they live in a oil and gas producing area.”
NMOGA has committed $1 million to the fund through 2024. The Albuquerque Community Foundation will distribute $200,000 each year, and the first awards will be announced in December.
“We have every intention and expectation that this fund will grow,” Flynn said. “We’re just getting started with our work. This idea came from the communities and the Hispano Chamber of Commerce, who really opened our eyes to the opportunities we have to do more. We need to step up, because New Mexico’s success depends on all of us.”
Brian Egolf, speaker of the state House of Representatives, said the program signified the “turning of a new page for New Mexico.”
“It’s great to see industry investing in our kids’ future, investing in STEM, investing to make sure communities have what they need, and lifting up kids and their families all over New Mexico,” he said.
The announcement comes a week after Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham proposed a plan to provide free college tuition to all New Mexicans – a plan made possible by the state’s unprecedented oil and gas revenue.
Albuquerque Community Foundation President and CEO Randy Royster said NMOGA is committed to giving back to underserved populations in the state.
“Our organizations share the same dream, and that is a more prosperous New Mexico for all New Mexicans,” Royster said.