press release

Chevron Press Release - Chevron To Make Historic Multimillion-Dollar Investment

SAN FRANCISCO, August 26, 1997 -- Chevron today announced a landmark economic development agreement comprised of a diverse, long-term investment package to be managed by an African-American non-profit.

Chevron could eventually invest more than $10 million in Oakland's economy through Freedom Fund Inc., whose mission is to create business, training and educational opportunities for economically disadvantaged African-American residents and to redevelop local neighborhoods.

Known as the Chevron Freedom Fund Economic Development Alliance, the investment demonstrates Chevrons faith in the earning power and business acumen of Oakland's African-American entrepreneurs, employers and employees. The agreement with Freedom Fund represents the first-ever commitment of its kind by Chevron to a non-profit.

"Too often, corporations simply write checks," said Chevron Chairman Ken Derr. "That's why this partnership is unique. It represents an investment, not a grant. We fully expect our investment to provide new and greater business opportunities for Oakland's African-Americans."

The essential intent of the agreement with Freedom Fund is to develop black enterprise in Oakland by creating a class of business owners with the power to employ and provide opportunities for others, Derr said.

Key components of the first phase of the alliance are:

  • Freedom Fund Inc. will begin operating and managing a newly remodeled Chevron service station at East 12th Street and 22nd Avenue in Oakland by year-end 1997.
  • Operating profits generated by the station will be used by Freedom Fund for neighborhood reinvestment projects.
  • Negotiations for the purchase of a second Oakland site to include a service station and a retail shopping area are under way.
  • Managers and employees of the Freedom Fund stations will benefit from Chevron University a professional training program based in San Ramon, tailored specifically for owner/operators and employees of Chevron service stations and convenience stores.
  • Chevron will acquire property and office space in Oakland for Freedom Fund to establish an Institute of Technology a training ground for Northern California minorities to gain advanced education, skills and placement in the field of high technology after establishment of a Board of Directors as well as completion and approval of a business plan.

Subject to the success of the initial venture, additional stations valued at $2 million to $2.5 million could potentially bring the value of the investment to more than $10 million.

Preliminary discussions leading to the creation of the investment partnership began in February when the chief executive officer of Freedom Fund Inc., Shannon Reeves, addressed Chevron employees during Black History Month. Prior to his speech, Reeves met with Derr to discuss Chevrons role in the economic and business future of Oakland. They emerged from their meeting united in the philosophy that Chevron and Oakland's African-American community had the potential to work together for their mutual benefit.

According to Reeves, the agreement represents a watershed in corporate thinking. "This alliance is a hand-up, not a hand out," Reeves said. "So often, a company will buy a table at your annual fund-raising dinner and virtually disappear until the following year.

"Our relationship with Chevron will be totally different. They've shown they believe what we can do for them and for ourselves," he added.

Derr agreed with Reeves that the alliance signals an entirely new investment approach by Chevron. "Like any business opportunity, this one is not without risk. But were willing to take that risk because we firmly believe that the Freedom Funds determination and motivation, combined with the talents and abilities of Oakland's African-American community, will earn Chevron a good return on its investment," Derr concluded.

Ken Derr will serve as honorary chairman of the Oakland NAACP's first corporate-sponsored fund-raising dinner on October 17 at the Oakland Marriott Hotel. Freedom Fund Inc. was founded by Reeves, who also serves as the president of the Oakland NAACP chapter.

Headquartered in San Francisco, California, Chevron Corporation is a Fortune 20 company and one of the worlds largest energy companies.

Updated: August 1997