Christmas came early for several area non-profit organizations thanks to the 2018 Valero Benefit for Children Celebration. Wednesday afternoon the company gave away $240,000 to 25 different local agencies.
Sara Donaho Jones community relations advisor for Valero Ardmore Refinery said that while the various recipients all provide different services, they all have one thing in common — they help local children.
Valero Corporate raises the money for this event every year at the Valero Texas Open. This year the tournament brought in over $11 million to go into the Valero Benefit for Children Fund. Jones described how the money in this fund is distributed.
“The Benefit for Children Fund is split among all the Valero locations,” Jones said. These locations then select local organizations to receive the money.
“Here in Ardmore, we gave the employees a two week window to make
nominations online,” Jones said. These nominations had only two conditions — that the nominee be a recognized 501(c)3, and that their work benefits children.
“Once everyone has made their nominations, a committee of Ardmore employees then goes through all the nominated agencies,” Jones said. “Our goal is to make sure that we give the money where it is most needed and can make the most impact.”
Jones then said that while the event has been going on for several years, Valero Ardmore Refinery has given away $1.3 million in the last five years alone and continues to grow every year.
“What’s interesting is that every year I see new agencies that are either just starting or have been gaining momentum,” Jones said. “That’s what’s so cool about living in Southern Oklahoma. When someone sees a need, we start filling that need and everyone helps each other out to make sure that our kids get a leg up.”