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Marathon Petroleum makes community outreach and support a priority

Julie Evans for Marathon Petroleum
MPC donated $150,000 to the Detroit Public Schools Community District to fund a new, state-of-the-art STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and math) lab at Mark Twain School for Scholars.

Marathon Petroleum Corporation (MPC) is a national company, but in Detroit the focus is local. Nowhere is Marathon’s commitment more evident than in the initiatives and partnerships with local organizations that are part of the community outreach program the MPC Detroit Refinery has developed. 

“Giving back is important to MPC because one of our core values is to be a good neighbor to our surrounding community, and it’s also something our employees really care about,” says BreAnna Lockhart, director of community outreach at MPC’S Detroit Refinery. “We also understand that making positive change takes a village and that’s a village we want to be a part of.”

MPC’s Detroit refinery team supports a wide range of programs that directly address the needs in the community, based on resident and employee input. In 2021, MPC invested more than a half-million dollars in Detroit and local refinery employees dedicated upwards of 1,300 hours working directly in the community.  The focus of MPC’s philanthropy is Southwest Detroit, specifically the 48217 zip code, with a goal of maximizing the impact and benefits to the local community near the refinery.  

Starting with schools

This year, MPC donated $150,000 to the Detroit Public Schools Community District to fund a new, state-of-the-art STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and math) lab at Mark Twain School for Scholars, the DPSCD school near the refinery. The innovative STEAM lab will provide students with up-to-the-minute science tools aimed at encouraging them to pursue STEAM classes and careers. School officials hope the new lab also will attract students to Mark Twain.

“There is a need in this area for resources as it relates to financial assistance and basic needs, but we also see that we can start to have a positive impact on residents from a young age, which is why our investments in Mark Twain and our local early childhood education center are so important to us,” Lockhart says. “We really are trying to address these needs with a layered, full, wrap-around approach starting with education and basic support and spreading to economic development, workforce development and sustainability.”

MPC donated an additional $50,000 to the program to provide more than 100 additional households with healthy home kits.

Healthier homes

For the past two years, MPC has partnered with the Wayne State Healthy Homes Initiative to address the needs of families affected by indoor air-quality issues. In 2020, MPC donated $150,000 to launch the program, hire staff and purchase healthy home kits for 90 households. These kits include a HEPA air purifier, HEPA rated vacuum, High MERV furnace filters, green cleaning kit and other cleaning supplies.

In 2021, MPC donated an additional $50,000 to the program to provide more than 100 additional households with healthy home kits.

Lockhart says the company is committed to environmentally responsible operations and supporting the community in establishing and maintaining healthy practices. This program is a way to bring that commitment directly into local homes.

The refinery launched a series of events called "Fueling Detroit.''

Creating community

MPC has supported events at the Kemeny Center, the local recreation center, since it contributed $2 million to a complete renovation at the facility a few years ago.  This year, the refinery launched a series of events called "Fueling Detroit.'' The series kicked off with a summer, socially distanced outdoor movie, a farmers’ market that featured an array of locally produced products, and a health and harvest festival that offered health tests, vaccinations, and plenty of outdoor activity. At every event, residents were made aware of local resources and support organizations while having a great time together. Each event had plenty of food, entertainment and the refinery made sure to include its neighborhood partners – like the Mark Twain School offering curriculum and enrollment information – to continue to build a network of support and collaboration within the neighborhood.

In 2022, the refinery plans to expand the series and host an event every other month, starting with a financial empowerment event February 12 from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. at Kemeny. The lunch-and-learn event, which the refinery is co-hosting with Wayne Metro, will feature guest speakers to talk about general financial literacy, credit building, saving strategies, home buying and renter empowerment. Free tax preparation will also be provided to attendees.

More than 45 volunteers from the Detroit refinery joined community partners to plant 150 native trees in the Oakwood Heights area.

Improving the landscape

In November 2021, more than 45 volunteers from the Detroit refinery joined community partners to plant 150 native trees in the Oakwood Heights area. The tree canopy is the newest addition to a large green space, Marathon Gardens, that includes a wetland.  MPC works with the Wildlife Habitat Council to maintain and improve the area and has earned a Gold Certification for the Sustainability Garden on the property. Continued improvements to this area and expanding green space in other parts of the community are planned projects for next year.

Looking ahead

In 2022, Lockhart’s goal is to be even more strategic with refinery outreach programs.  The refinery team has brought together a small group of community organizations, including Wayne Metro and the Mark Twain school, to determine how they can develop a continuum of impact and effectively measure results. While 2022 planning is in the early stages, southwest Detroiters can expect to see increased engagement and collaboration that will result in programs that change lives.

“Our goal is to meet the needs of residents within 48217,” Lockhart says. “It’s important to us to build on the strengths of our neighborhood and the city, connect the dots, build partnerships and support healthy, sustainable change in our community”  

About Marathon Petroleum Corporation

Marathon Petroleum Corporation (MPC) is a leading, integrated, downstream energy company headquartered in Findlay, Ohio. The company operates the nation's largest refining system. MPC's marketing system includes branded locations across the United States, including Marathon brand retail outlets. MPC also owns the general partner and majority limited partner interest in MPLX LP, a midstream company that owns and operates gathering, processing, and fractionation assets, as well as crude oil and light product transportation and logistics infrastructure. More information is available at www.marathonpetroleum.com.

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