E-Mail Forum
  Mike and the Mayor Make Nice Over Perceived Charity Snub
January 31, 2010

Below is an email from Chevron Refinery Manager Mike Coyle followed by Mayor McLaughlin’s response:
Mayor McLaughlin
The employees and staff of Chevron’s operations in Richmond are working hard to join with other Richmond businesses in being a strong community partner.  We’ve listened to our neighbors, our local communities, and the City on ways we can improve our relationship with all our stakeholders.  And while we still have much to do, I believe we are headed in the right direction, based in part on the positive feedback we’ve begun to receive.
During your State of the City address, you highlighted the good work by a number of deserving community groups, city agencies and non-profit organizations throughout the City.  I too applaud their efforts to bring beneficial programs and services to Richmond residents.  Chevron was proud to partner with a large number of those very same organizations in 2009 and provided nearly $1,000,000 in total support for their worthy programs.  I was disappointed to learn that there was no mention in your remarks of the role the business community played in partnering with these important groups.

Below is a list of those organizations you cited which Chevron has provided funding to in 2009:

  • Office of Neighborhood Safety’s reentry services for paroles (through the Community Benefits Agreement)
  • Richmond BUILD (through the Community Benefits Agreement)
  • Solar Richmond
  • GRID Alternatives
  • Richmond YOUTHWorks Summer Employment Program (Chevron’s contribution enabled 106 youth to work over the summer – more than any other individual donor)
  • Rosie’s Girls
  • Juneteenth, Cinco de Mayo and Homefront Festivals (Chevron was the lead sponsor of all of these events)
  • Green Expo (through the Richmond Chamber of Commerce)
  • Youth Stopping Violence Summit – (lead sponsor)

My management team and all of Chevron’s Richmond Refinery employees fully understand the importance of building strong partnerships with our neighbors and community groups as we – together – work towards achieving the goals of the City of Richmond.  This effort is joined by many other businesses and business organizations who make Richmond their home and who also want to share in Richmond’s successes.  I believe that many of the accomplishments these organizations achieved would not have been possible without the help of Chevron and the rest of the business community.
Mike Coyle

Dear Mr. Coyle:

Thank you for your email, and for your attention to my recent "State of the City" address.  I appreciate your concern that Chevron's financial support to various community organizations and events was not cited in my address.  Unfortunately, the time constraints of the presentation do not enable me to mention every contributor and participant in Richmond's rich community tapestry.

I agree that business-community partnerships can play an important role in a city's good works. Every month my office is proud to acknowledge local businesses that contribute to the city's economic, social, and environmental health.

I also hope you had the opportunity to hear about Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's recent visit to Richmond to join me in congratulating SunPower Systems for its growth and expansion in the clean and sustainable solar energy industry.   http://www.mercurynews.com/breaking-news/ci_14279651?nclick_check=1

Of course, we can always do more to recognize the local businesses that contribute in healthy ways to the life of our city.

Thanks again for sharing your perspectives.

Gayle McLaughlin