Okla. Gas Giant’s Austerity Drive Has Charities Worried

A major cost-cutting drive at Oklahoma City-based Chesapeake Energy Corporation is raising concerns among local nonprofit groups that have long relied on the company’s philanthropy, according to The Wall Street Journal.

The natural-gas firm has announced it will halve its giving, which amounted to more than $56-million in 2010 and ’11 combined, as part of a larger effort to slash expenditures. The company has been buffeted by declining prices for natural gas as it spent heavily to find and tap new sources of more lucrative oil.

Chesapeake and its co-founder, Aubrey McClendon—who was recently ousted by the firm’s directors over spending—have long given to Oklahoma City food banks, arts groups, and other charities. “It’s hard not be concerned” about the cutbacks, said Lori Dickinson of the Foundation for Oklahoma City Public Schools, which gets about 15 percent of its budget from the company.

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