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Social Impact Investment

Improving Quality of Life
Marathon Oil’s social investment strategy brings partners together to improve the quality of life in the communities where we live and work.

We take time to listen to our stakeholders and understand the unique needs of the communities where we operate. Their insights, as well as our internal business priorities, inform our social impact investment strategy, outlined in more detail below. We also use the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, a collection of 17 global goals intended to achieve a better and more sustainable future, to guide our strategy.

Our social investment strategy seeks to improve the quality of life in the communities where we live and work by building healthier, safer, stronger and more resilient communities. Our partnerships go beyond financial contributions. We also invest in local communities through advisory services, pro bono work, in-kind donations and encourage our employees to join us through our dollar-for-dollar matching programs, volunteer events and annual giving campaign. Whenever possible, we bring our community partners together to amplify our impact.

In 2020, we refined our strategic investment focus areas and enhanced our measurement system. During our annual funding assessment, we review the financial and operational performance of potential partners and evaluate their missions and values to confirm alignment with one or more of our investment areas. We also require that partners report clearly defined program goals, provide additional program details, and report data on project outcomes using our Social Investment Evaluation Rubric.

In response to COVID-19, we supported partner recommendations to re-direct funding, as needed, to meet the most critical needs of their constituents. See our Pandemic Response Highlight for more information on social investments related to COVID-19.

  • ᵃ Total Philanthropic Giving: $2 million in corporate giving and $.2 million in employee giving; Total Sustainable Investments: $12.3 million.

Supporting Communities
Our employee volunteers are vital to our partnerships

Invested in global social projects and programs in 2020

Healthy and Safe Communities

We are helping to create healthier and safer communities by addressing infrastructure stressors in the communities where we operate. We invest in five areas: hunger, healthcare, road safety, first responders and anti-trafficking.


We support food banks and school-based food programs that help us feed our neighbors. We have long-standing partnerships with the Houston Food Bank, Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma and Great Plains Food Bank in North Dakota.

In 2020, we began new partnerships in the Eagle Ford and Permian with the Food Bank of the Golden Crescent, San Antonio Food Bank and Roadrunner Food Bank. At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, we brought the Roadrunner Food Bank together with the Carlsbad Municipal School District to start a new childhood hunger initiative in Eddy County, New Mexico, the first of its kind in the county. By May, their monthly drive-thru food distributions were providing nearly 8,000 meals to students and families at seven elementary schools, two preschools, two middle schools and one high school. In total, our support to food banks provided more than 454,000 meals in 2020.

Innovative Partnerships
Our food bank partners constantly innovate to find the best way to get food to clients safely


In collaboration with community leaders in our operating areas, Marathon Oil works to advance public health initiatives that promote the common good and protect the public, our employees and their families. In the United States, we focus on heart disease and stroke, the leading and fifth causes of death, respectively. One example is our decades-long relationship with the American Heart Association (AHA) in Houston. In 2020, we continued our support of AHA’s Bear Bryant Awards. During the past 12 years, the awards have raised millions of dollars for critical research and helped train more than 1 million Houston-area adults and teenagers in CPR and other basic life-saving skills.

Malaria is one of the main public health threats in Equatorial Guinea, reducing life expectancy and causing productivity loss due to illness. For 17 years, MEGPL has supported the Bioko Island Malaria Elimination Program (BIMEP), a multi-system public health program that expanded in 2013 to include clinical research into a malaria-candidate vaccine. Our support of the BIMEP has resulted in a 55% reduction in the malaria parasite prevalence (from 45% in 2004 to 20% in 2020) in children ages 2-14 years. For more information see our Equatorial Guinea Highlight.

Road Safety

Marathon Oil is a founding member of the Energize for Safety Coalition, a nonprofit dedicated to making busy roadways less dangerous in the operating areas of our Oklahoma asset where traffic patterns have changed dramatically. In partnership with the Oklahoma Department of Transportation and the Oklahoma Department of Public Safety, the coalition established a safety corridor on Highway 33 between Watonga and Kingfisher. Since the corridor was established in 2018, the number of collisions has declined by 61%. In 2020, the effort won the Best Use of Technology & Innovation Award for the western region at the America’s Transportation Awards, hosted by American State Highway Transportation officials and sponsored by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Drop in collisions along Oklahoma safety corridor since it was established in 2018

First Responders

Our investments to first responders provide much-needed equipment, technology and training. In 2020, we provided $75,000 to first responders in Dunn and Mountrail counties in North Dakota. These investments helped buy new computers to allow for better locating capabilities for 911 calls from rural areas and isolated industrial sites. It also supported the purchase of cardiac monitors, defibrillators, CPR devices and updated extraction tools. Our support of the American Red Cross in the Texas Gulf Coast Region helped provide disaster relief assistance to 6,500 individuals in the region.

Affordable Energy Keeps the MALDI-TOF On

Near our operations in Equatorial Guinea, we’ve provided funding to help build a medical laboratory, which today houses a matrix assisted laser desorption ionization time-of-flight (MALDI-TOF) mass spectrometry machine. The machine can hold up to 500,000 bacteria samples, which can be matched electronically to global bio databases to help rapidly identify microorganisms responsible for common bacterial infections. To operate, the MALDI-TOF – one of just two in West Africa – requires a reliable and permanent power supply. With affordable, reliable energy provided by Turbogas, the electrical power plant built by Marathon Oil, this laboratory is able to rapidly and cost-effectively diagnose diseases such as malaria.


Human trafficking, also known as modern-day slavery, is defined by the United Nations as the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring or receipt of persons by improper means – such as force, abduction, fraud or coercion – for an improper purpose. Human trafficking is a rising epidemic affecting more than 25 million people worldwide, including those in our operating areas. Texas, where we are headquartered, has one of the highest rates of human trafficking in the United States.

“It’s time for companies to join forces to help stop human trafficking, and I’m proud that Marathon Oil is part of this important effort. We need to leverage our networks and our workplaces to raise the awareness on what has become a human rights crisis,” said Marathon Oil CEO Lee Tillman

In October of 2020, we partnered with Truckers Against Trafficking to host a virtual coalition build with the New Mexico Attorney General’s Office. This effort brought together more than 29 organizations from the southeast New Mexico community to identify how the energy and trucking industries can partner with local law enforcement to prevent human trafficking.

Houston is the energy capital of the world, and I applaud the energy industry’s efforts to raise awareness about human trafficking and work toward eradicating these crimes in our society. We are fortunate that Houston also has exceptional corporate citizens taking the lead as OGTAG members work together to take a stand on this critical issue.”
Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner

We also led the Oil and Gas Trafficking Awareness Group (OGTAG), a group of more than 45 Houston-based energy companies, in the first industry-wide anti-trafficking event in Houston, Energy Empowers Freedom Week. During this week-long event, which corresponded with National Human Trafficking Awareness Month, OGTAG member companies hosted events to increase awareness of human trafficking among their employee populations, reaching more than 1,000 oil and gas industry employees. Marathon Oil hosted two events at its Houston office to educate employees, and we also added anti-trafficking language in our Code of Business Conduct. See the Human Rights section for more information.

Partnering for Freedom
We engage with local and national non-profits in the fight against human trafficking

Resilient Communities

We work to create more resilient communities by investing in the protection and restoration of natural resources, including water, land and air, as well as increasing education and awareness of environmental protection. In 2020, our funding helped Trees for Houston plant nearly 15,000 trees and helped the Wildlife Center and Houston Zoo provide virtual wildlife and conservation education.

2020 marked the final year of our investment in the Pecos Watershed Conservation Initiative (PWCI). PWCI enhances a unique desert landscape in eastern New Mexico and West Texas where cattle ranching and oil and gas production coexist with species found nowhere else. PWCI is a coalition of The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, the U.S.D.A.’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, and other oil and gas corporations. The initiative focuses on restoring the Chihuahuan Desert grasslands to benefit migratory grassland birds and pronghorn, and improving aquatic habitats.

In 2020, PWCI made possible a total of $3.3 million in funding to support on-the-ground projects implementing critical habitat and species-conservation efforts. Since its inception, the initiative has improved the management of nearly 25,000 acres of grasslands, restored or enhanced 4,000 acres of grasslands and 20.1 acres of riparian habitat, and improved more than 90 miles of fencing for pronghorn passage.

There are a number of endemic species here, like Pecos pupfish that have evolved in these conditions. They don’t exist anywhere else in the world, and they are important to maintaining this ecosystem that makes this place unique.”
Joanna Hatt, native fish biologist, New Mexico Department of Game and Fish

Amplifying Impact
Our investment in the PWCI is leveraged to receive federal and private matching funds, creating a greater impact

Acres of grassland restored since inception of Pecos Watershed Conservation Initiative

Strong Communities

We build a foundation for strong communities by investing in inclusive and equitable quality education for all. Education has the power to improve lives by breaking the cycle of family poverty and enabling a person to reach their full potential. Our investments aim to improve student education through mentoring, counseling and literacy programs; expand the availability of qualified teachers through professional development and recognition; and increase the number of students receiving technical certification or degrees.

In the Houston area, only 21% of third graders have mastered reading standards and 29% fail to meet minimum reading expectations. We’ve partnered with the Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation since its inception in 2013 to combat the city’s literacy crisis. Our partnership focuses on strategies shown to enhance literacy, such as increasing the number of books in a home, mentoring children in reading, and prioritizing support for economically disadvantaged children who are most likely to read below standard. Through the My Home Library program, Marathon Oil has donated books to children in need for five consecutive years. As a result, every child in the program now has a home library of at least 30 books. We are also proud to serve on the nonprofit’s Advisory Council of corporate leaders.

While there were fewer opportunities for our employees to volunteer in person at Literacy Foundation events in 2020 due to COVID-19, our employees participated in virtual “read alouds.” In addition to the My Home Library program, we also distributed 3,000 books to economically disadvantaged students at the Foundation’s Camp Adventure summer learning program.

More than 375,000 students received enhanced learning opportunities as a result of our investments in Communities in Schools of Houston, the Houston Area Urban League and the NAACP. We also supported 1,745 students through partnerships with Junior Achievement and the Boys & Girls Clubs of Carlsbad, and helped provide technical energy education to more than 42,000 students through workshops, conferences and career days.

Safely Supporting Communities
We continue to find ways to support our partners, while following COVID-19 protocol

Students who received enhanced learning opportunities as a result of our investments
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