a mission for goodMarathon Oil’s social investment strategy is aimed at enhancing quality of life in the communities where our employees live and work. We select nonprofit partners that offer research-based programs to build a competitive workforce, improve health and well-being, and protect the environment.
We use Charity Navigator and the nonprofit organization’s financial information to benchmark their administrative costs, fundraising efficiency and other aspects of management effectiveness. Whenever possible, we bring our community partners together to amplify our programs and extend their benefits to a broader range of people in our communities. In 2018, we continued to invest in creating a path for children to stay in school, preventing heart disease and stroke (two of the top five killers of Americans), and strengthening and beautifying communities where we operate.
Improving Educational Outcomes for Children
To build the workforce that Marathon Oil and our industry need, as well as to help meet U.N. Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 4 of quality education for all children, we seek out innovative programs to improve educational outcomes for children in kindergarten through eighth grade. Our investments in education focus on boosting literacy and math competency, and stimulating interest in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) careers. Programs we support are expected to measurably increase the number of students who finish high school and continue their education in two- or four-year colleges. Ultimately, we hope these children work for Marathon Oil in the future.
Combating Houston’s Literacy Crisis
Literacy has the power to improve lives by breaking the cycle of family poverty and enabling a person to reach his or her full potential. Yet, more than half of children and adolescents worldwide don’t meet minimum proficiency standards in reading and math.¹ In the Houston area, only 21% of third graders have mastered reading standards and 29% failed to meet minimum reading expectations.²
Marathon Oil has partnered with the Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation and its related programs for more than a decade to combat Houston’s literacy crisis. Funding and volunteers from Marathon Oil directly address strategies shown to enhance literacy, such as increasing the number of books in a home, reading to children and focusing on economically disadvantaged children who are most likely to read below standard. In 2018, more than 60 employees volunteered at foundation-supported programs such as My Home Library and the free summer literacy Camp Adventure! Employees teamed up with the Children’s Museum, the Houston Food Bank, Houston Symphony, Theater Under the Stars (TUTS) and the Houston Independent School District to help approximately 400 children strengthen their reading, STEM knowledge and literacy skills through music and theater integration. In all, our volunteers’ involvement in the Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation impacted a total of 25,500 children city-wide in 2018.
Approximately 50 employees taught Junior Achievement (JA) courses in financial literacy to Browning Elementary School students in 2018. For more than 18 years, our JA volunteers have helped the Browning students learn entrepreneurship skills and increase their work readiness, with JA participants demonstrating a significant understanding of economics and business concepts.
¹Source: U.N. Sustainable Development Goals
²Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation Imagine if.... Strategic Plan
Keeping Kids in School
Every 26 seconds, a student drops out of high school. Studies show that high school dropouts in Texas are unemployed at a rate four times higher than high school graduates, and earn $7,000 less per year than high school graduates, according to Communities in Schools (CIS). In addition, in the greater Houston area, 14% of young adults ages 16-24 are neither in school nor employed, which leads to significant lifetime economic loss. To help more Houston children stay in school, Marathon Oil contributes to CIS and its on-campus integrated support for children in pre-k through community college.
CIS surrounds at-risk students on 160 Houston-area campuses with a community of support that empowers them to stay in school and achieve in life. Our donations help fund supportive guidance and counseling, academic support, health and human services, college and career readiness, parent and family engagement, and enrichment activities. The CIS Mental Health Initiative helped address growing needs in our partner schools by giving almost 7,000 students the support and tools they need to stay in school and succeed. In 2018, CIS served over 117,000 students and referred almost 199,000 students to community agencies. Of CIS-case-managed students, 99% stayed in school and 96% in grades k-11 were promoted to the next grade.
Marathon Oil has made significant investments in STEM education, particularly in the South Texas counties where we have been operating since entering the Eagle Ford in 2011. We piloted the Reasoning Mind (now Imagine Learning) math education program in one elementary school in the Karnes City Independent School District (KCISD) in 2013. Based on math performance improvements among students learning with Imagine Learning curriculum, we have steadily expanded the program to three schools in KCISD, Kenedy ISD and Pawnee ISD. Approximately 2,200 students have participated in the program since its inception, and Imagine Learning reported an average 17.5% improvement in standardized test scores from year to year.
In the 2017-2018 academic year, 980 students participated in Imagine Learning programming. Based on state standardized test scores, all students continued to improve their overall math proficiency and teachers observed an increase in mathematical knowledge among their early learners with the addition of the Blueprint program for children in pre-k through first grade.
In addition, teachers who participate in the program receive ongoing support, training and professional development. Feedback from these teachers in the 2017-2018 academic year indicated that Imagine Learning programs were vital for helping their students learn foundational math skills and for overall growth in math, while engaging and helping kids enjoy learning math. Through Marathon Oil’s support in the 2018-2019 academic year, we’re making the program available to 1,200 students in the Karnes City, Kenedy and Pawnee ISDs.
To build on the success of the math program, we added Imagine Learning’s Language & Literacy program for Pawnee Elementary School students. The supplemental program provides reading and literacy skills for students in pre-k-6. Every grade experienced an increase in the Lexile measure of a student reader’s ability, with first grade realizing the biggest gain of 308, compared to an average increase of 50-100 at other Imagine Learning schools nationwide. District-wide, Pawnee saw a 4% increase in students moving up from below grade level in reading at the beginning of the school year to on grade level at mid-year.
To further empower students in the Eagle Ford region, we supported the 2018 San Antonio Divisional STEM Competition organized by the Texas Alliance for Minorities in Engineering and participated in the San Antonio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce’s CORE4 STEM Expo for education and career opportunities.
As a member of IPAA (Independent Petroleum Association of America), Marathon Oil is a founding sponsor of the IPAA/PESA Energy Education Center. Our involvement contributes to the center’s education outreach, supporting the five high school Petroleum Academies in Houston and Fort Worth, Texas, and the Middle School STEM Career Exploration Program focused in the Permian Basin. The middle school program launched in August 2018 is the first of its kind, with both digital and classroom discussion components. Available in 16 middle schools, the program quickly engaged almost 1,000 students – well over the goal of 600-800 students. IPAA/PESA is continuing outreach to add schools in the New Mexico and Texas Permian Basin region.
Marathon Oil received the PESA Explorer’s of Houston Award in 2018 for our support of field trips, incoming freshman summer camps, externships, co-op programs for high school students and scholarships. We continue to support the IPAA/PESA Energy Education Center to develop a well-educated workforce with STEM skills to keep innovating, advancing technology and solving problems.
Our Bakken asset supports STEM programs in five local high schools and is donating to construction of a new building on tribal lands for the Mandaree Head Start program that promotes school readiness for children under the age of 5 from low-income families.
In Oklahoma, our employees volunteered for the Oklahoma Works career expo for Oklahoma City Public Schools (OKCPS) and the Oklahoma Energy Resources Board (OERB) STEM night in Duncan. Marathon Oil is a long-standing supporter of the OERB, a state agency funded by oil and natural gas producers and royalty owners. Through a voluntary one-tenth of 1% assessment on the sale of oil and natural gas in the state, OERB funds STEM education curriculum and tools for Oklahoma students and professional development for teachers. In 2018, OERB provided $2 million in STEM grants for materials and equipment to every public school in Oklahoma and training to 1,730 teachers, reaching the milestone of 16,000 teachers trained to date. OERB also supports the environmental clean-up of abandoned and orphaned well sites, including dedicating $3.89 million to restore 600 well sites in 2018 and approximately $117 million to restore over 16,550 since 1993. As part of our commitment to the OERB’s mission, a Marathon Oil employee volunteered as a board member for the agency in 2018.
Hunger is one of the biggest obstacles to staying in school. Children who receive proper nutrition can pay attention in class, process learned information and retain knowledge more easily than undernourished children. To fight hunger, Marathon Oil supports the Houston Food Bank, Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma, San Antonio Food Bank and Great Plains Food Bank in Dickinson, North Dakota. In 2018, we sponsored Backpack Buddy programs in Houston, Oklahoma City and Dickinson to give children at-risk of hunger outside of school reliable, nutritious foods on the weekend. Employees stuffed backpacks at volunteer days in Houston and Oklahoma City.
Through our donations and volunteer activities, Marathon Oil provided approximately 140,000 nutritious meals to hungry children, adults and seniors in Houston, Oklahoma and North Dakota.
Dickinson Friendship Park
Marathon Oil engages with local organizations to address economic, environmental, safety and social issues. For example, our North Dakota Bakken asset supported construction of Dickinson’s Friendship Park, a safe and accessible playground for people of all ages and abilities scheduled to open in 2019, and provided funding for playgrounds in Killdeer.
A park rendering distributed by the Dickinson Area Community Foundation
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