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CHICAGO -- BP and the BP Foundation will spend $6.25 million over three years in a new collaborative effort with the Chicago Urban League. Together, the organizations will work to enhance economic development and job creation for minorities in the Chicago area.
"Building better, stronger communities in the places we operate is important to BP and to the men and women who work for us," said BP America Chairman and President Bob Malone. "The Chicago Urban League is designing innovative, sustainable economic development programs that we believe will make a real difference in the Chicago area, and we are proud to be part of them."
"We are pleased to work with BP on this historic and progressive initiative," added Cheryle Jackson, President and CEO of Chicago Urban League. "Developing entrepreneurs and enhancing education and employment opportunities are key to driving economic growth in the African-American and minority communities. This collaboration will prove beneficial to Chicago, as it will help to create the kind of wealth that can lift up and transform whole neighborhoods and entire communities."
BP Foundation will make an investment of $3.7 million to support Chicago Urban League entrepreneurship programs. As part of that commitment, the foundation will make a $1 million initial investment in a new Chicago Urban League Entrepreneur Venture Fund and a $2.7 million investment for startup and operation of the new Entrepreneurship Center at Chicago Urban League, designed to help build capacity and strengthen and accelerate growth of minority entrepreneur businesses.
The Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University will help develop a skills and training curriculum for the Entrepreneurship Center.
BP America will make a three-year investment of $2.4 million in programs to enhance diversity and inclusion among BP employees, suppliers, convenience store franchisees and fuels distributors and marketers. This includes entrepreneur outreach and franchisee training; minority supplier conferences; research on entrepreneurship and wealth retention; and BP-customized employment and training programs in collaboration with the Urban League of Northwest Indiana and area community colleges.
BP and Chicago Urban League also have agreed to work together to deliver various youth education programs. BP has budgeted an additional $150,000 to expanding or creating new education efforts with Chicago Urban League in the next three years.
BP and Chicago Urban League began collaboration in 2006 to plan programs to enhance employment and entrepreneur opportunities with BP for African- Americans and other under-represented minorities. Consistent with Chicago Urban League and BP aspirations, the programs are intended to result in sustainable wealth creation in diverse communities.
Opportunities have been identified for enhanced minority participation in BP employment; professional services and other supplier/contractor relationships; and convenience retail and fuels marketing. The initial focus of the collaboration relates to BP businesses and functions operating in Chicagoland. However, the collaboration is expected to positively affect other BP businesses and US geographies. A desired outcome is to develop and test replicable programs.
How and why convenience store retailers give back to their communities is the subject of a special feature in the March 5th issue of Convenience Store News. The article tells how hundreds of c-store retailers give millions of dollars to charitable organizations, and notes how many are getting more bang for their buck by targeting their efforts on specific areas of charitable giving, from youth programs to establishing safe havens for abuse victims. Don't miss this important industry feature.