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Chesapeake pledges $1M for Oklahoma tornado relief

GOP donor's $1 million tornado victim donation challenge 

By Kevin Bohn

CNN Senior Producer


(CNN) -- Major conservative donor and multi-millionaire Foster Friess is planning to donate $1 million to help the victims of the tornado in Moore, Oklahoma and is challenging others to match that amount.

In an email to supporters Tuesday Friess announced his donation. He said he and his wife haven't decided exactly where the funds will go but hopes to have some answers in the next 48 hours.

"We are researching now the best avenues to use in Moore to assure it is delivered with the least amount of overhead and most effectively and efficiently," he said.

Aides said he will fulfill his pledge even if another $1 million is not raised

He mentioned in the note some of his travel to previous disaster sites would help him decide where to direct the funds.

"I learned a lot from prior travels to sites of the 2004 tsunami in Sri Lanka, to the 2005 Katrina hurricane, and to the Haiti earthquake about how a lot of money that doesn't get where the donor would like it to get and huge salaries are taken out of by the folks delivering the donations. Our research should be done within a day or so," he wrote. Friess donated to support the relief efforts and did matching grant programs following the tsunami and Katrina.

He told his followers that he wanted to alert them "in case you are thinking of sending money, this might be an opportunity to have it doubled and be more effective in its delivery."

Friess is ranked as the 22nd largest individual donor to outside groups in last year's election cycle, according to an analysis by the non-partisan Center for Responsive Politics. Of his more than $2.5 million in donations, $2.1 million went to the Red, White and Blue Fund, the super PAC that supported Rick Santorum in the Republican primary.

A successful businessman and former investment manager, Friess' former company was named by Forbes as having one of the 1990's best mutual funds. An evangelical Christian, he credits his religious faith for helping spur his success. He wrote on his website that in October of 1978 "I did one of those 'born again' things and invited Jesus to become the 'Chairman of the Board; of my life.'"

Wal-Mart also pledged $1 million in aid for the area. 

 

 A. Lee Graham
Reporter

Chesapeake Energy Corp. plans to make a $1 million cash donation to the American Red Cross for rescue and recovery efforts following the mammoth tornado that struck Moore, Okla. on Monday.
The Oklahoma City-based natural gas producer also is mobilizing hundreds of employee volunteers to help tornado victims.
“Our hearts go out to the victims of these terrible storms, and Chesapeake and our employees are doing all we can to aid in the disaster recovery efforts in our hometown community,” said Archie W. Dunham, board chairman, commenting in a news release.
The company is providing its equipment, machinery and resources. Many of its employees already are mobilized under the company’s Operation Blue banner in assisting rescue efforts, Dunham said.
Operation Blue is an annual campaign allowing employees to serve community needs by volunteering four hours on company time. The program will be expanded to support the community during this week’s crisis.
Last year, 6,045 Chesapeake employees gave more than 38,000 volunteer hours to serve 477 nonprofit organizations across the country.
“We urge other local businesses and citizens to pitch in to help during our community’s hour of need,” Dunham said.
Chesapeake Energy Corp., whose interests include the Barnett Shale in North Texas, develops unconventional natural gas and oil fields nationwide. More information is available at www.chk.com.

 

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