Throughout my career in Oklahoma's oil and gas industry, I've had the good fortune to develop friendships with some of our state's most visible figures, including my former business partner and good friend, Aubrey McClendon.
A recent series in The Oklahoman focused on real estate and development projects that are currently up in the air or unfinished as the leadership at Chesapeake Energy Corp. changes. What wasn't mentioned was the immense positive impact that Aubrey's vision has had on Oklahoma City. Ignored was the work that's been accomplished to date. In fact, I'd say much of the good that has happened to Oklahoma City in the past 10 years has been due to Aubrey's influence.
Consider the community support that Aubrey engineered during his time at Chesapeake. In 2012, Chesapeake donated $32 million to charitable organizations and projects throughout its operating areas nationwide, supporting community development, health, education and social services. In Oklahoma alone, that number totaled $24 million. Companywide United Way contributions were $6.3 million in 2012, with $5.5 million raised for the United Way's Central Oklahoma chapter alone, by far the largest single contribution to the $22.2 million campaign.
Recently, Chesapeake provided a $1 million match to Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma, the largest matching gift challenge in the organization's history. That's not counting his personal contributions.
Not only is he an incredible supporter of our nonprofits, his efforts, both as CEO of Chesapeake and as a community leader, have stimulated the city's economy and brought Okahoma City and the state to a level of national attention. As a part owner of the Oklahoma City Thunder, Aubrey has given us an incredibly talented team of players to support. Ticket sales and other revenue generated from the Thunder have been a tremendous boon to Oklahoma City's economy.
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