Last week, the Washington County Community Foundation held their annual Philanthropy awards and recognition banquet. And in a room full of local people dedicated to community service and charitable giving, Range Resources CEO and President Jeff Ventura humbly accepted the Foundation’s Charles C. Keller for Corporate Philanthropy. As he spoke to the assembled guests, Ventura talked about why southwestern Pennsylvania is special to him and to the employees of Range Resources.
“I was born and raised here in western Pennsylvania. I know how close-knit the communities are, and how much the people in this region and in this county support one another. Organizations like the Community Foundation are part of what make this area such a great place to live and work. Washington County is a very special place for Range and our employees, and we are so proud to be a part of this community. We pioneered the Marcellus Shale not far from here, and it is where Range has grown as a company for nearly 15 years.”
The Washington County Community Foundation (WCCF) has been committed to encouraging philanthropy that will improve the quality of life in Washington County for nearly a quarter of a century. According to the Foundation’s President and CEO, Betsie Trew, the assets the Foundation manages have increased from $5,000 in 1995, to more than $35 million today. “And that’s because of individuals and institutions like Range, who have said: I want to make my community better. Philanthropy is the opportunity for people and companies, large and small, to come together and make a difference in our community.”
The Charles C. Keller Award is of special significance to the Foundation – especially this year. A local attorney, Charles Keller, or “Chuck” as he was known to his friends, played a pivotal role in getting the Foundation started. It was an effort that made sense to Keller, and aligned with his own values focused on a lifetime of charitable giving. He was a dedicated leader and long-time Rotarian who exemplified the Rotary motto, “Service Above Self”, and he donated his time and efforts to several local organizations. Charles Keller died in May 2018, but his legacy lives on at WCCF.
“Charles Keller led the charge on corporate philanthropy,” says Trew. “He was passionate about community service, and that’s a big part of the award that bears his name—any corporation that receives it must encourage and provide opportunities for service during regular working hours. It’s clear that Range has a culture of community involvement and we were glad to be able to recognize those efforts last week.”
Range’s Mike Mackin serves on the Board of the Washington County Community Foundation. Like Ventura, he was honored as Range was recognized for outstanding community service. “This award means so much to us, because it’s a recognition of how much our employees care about their neighbors in need here in Washington County and how dedicated the Range team is—from the top down—to being a good neighbor. We are very proud to work in this community, and I think I speak for all of the employees of Range when I say how thankful we are to work for a company that is so supportive of employee volunteerism and engagement in Washington County.”
Over the past ten years, Range has donated approximately $10 million to a wide variety of nonprofit organizations in Washington County. In 2018, the company partnered with WCCF to create the Good Neighbors Fund on behalf of local first responders. “We started out with $75,000 this past year, with plans to build on that—as a means of thanking first responders, and providing them with additional support to keep themselves and our communities safe,” says Mackin.
As Ventura closed out his remarks at the banquet, he congratulated Range’s fellow honorees: Angelo’s Restaurant and the Northrop Family, saying, “It is a humbling experience to be here alongside so many people who have dedicated themselves to making positive impacts in our community. Your work is inspiring, and it is our privilege to be a part of it. Thank you to everyone who supports the Community Foundation and their efforts to make Washington County an even better place to live.”
This article is brought to you by Range Resources.