Here’s a Petroleum Company That’s Giving Back in Southern California

Oil and gas companies in California have long been lightening rods for criticism, drawing tons of bad press for their environmental records. On the other hand, some of these companies do engage in local philanthropy. Today’s glimmer of hope comes from Southern California, where the ARCO brand of gas stations has partnered with Goodwill Southern California (GSC) on a shared mission of “transforming lives through the power of work.”

What does that really mean, and what does this partnership look like?

Well first, there’s a shared demographic between these two entities. GSC works in Los Angeles, San Bernardino, and Riverside Counties and has 81 retail stores and 47 attended donation centers here. Meanwhile, ARCO has over 400 fueling stations in these three counties. (ARCO stations are only located in California, Arizona, Nevada, Washington, and Oregon.)

ARCO recently announced a multi-year commitment to the nonprofit, which includes cash contributions and fundraising events at its fueling stations. This is a multi-faceted commitment because ARCO’s funding is also going toward a new marketing campaign to boost awareness about GSC’s services in the local communities. In exchange, GSC will display some co-branded messages (i.e. ARCO advertising) at its retail stores and on the truck fleet.

Of note, the ARCO brand is owned by Tesoro, which is a national leader in refining and marketing petroleum products. More specifically, since 2013, Treasure Franchise Company LLC (a subsidiary of Tesoro), became a sub-franchisor for ampm franchises in Arizona, Nevada, and quite a few counties in California. Through its subsidiaries, Tesoro operates seven refineries in the western U.S. for a total capacity of over 895,000 barrels per day. In addition to ARCO, Tesoro controls some big brands in the fuel business, including Shell, Exxon, and Mobil.

All of these facts make it clear that Tesoro is a powerful company to watch in terms of corporate giving and locally focused commitments. Robert Bezner, senior director of brand management at Tesoro, explained in a press release, “It’s good business to give back to the communities that we serve.”

Through its partnership with GSC, ARCO/Tesoro will play a role in assisting individuals with disabilities and vocational challenges find work and in helping businesses provide job training and placement services. Not a lot is known about ARCO corporate giving strategy, but we do know a thing or two about Tesoro’s philanthropic approach. It’s corporate responsibility work has largely been centered on STEM education, public safety, and environmental conservation & sustainability. More limited support has been going to community-based organizations working in the fields of health and human services.

In addition to Los Angeles, the company supports other communities that it has an employee presence in, including the following locations: Anacortes, Washington; Kenai, Alaska; Martinez, California; Mandan, North Dakota; Salt Lake City, Utah and San Antonio, Texas. Grantseekers in Los Angeles and these other locations can learn more about the application process here.