FARMINGTON — ConocoPhillips on Thursday announced $689,440 in donations to nonprofit groups, educational organizations and local government agencies in the San Juan Basin.

The total included a $300,000 check for San Juan College's planned School of Energy building. Construction is expected to begin this fall. The building will bring together in one location the school's programs, which are now scattered at various sites around the Farmington area.

Donations also went to organizations such as the Bloomfield Fire Department, Special Olympics of New Mexico and the Boys and Girls Club of Farmington. The grants were announced at ConocoPhillips' annual philanthropic luncheon at Courtyard By Marriott.

"As the state's leading oil and gas producer, ConocoPhillips is pleased to support many outstanding organizations in this area," Michelle Ahlm, philanthropic coordinator for the company's San Juan Business Unit, said in a prepared statement. "The commitment of these organizations and the work they do to help the community benefits all of us. ConocoPhillips is proud that we are able to give something back to the communities where we operate."

Bloomfield Fire Department received a grant to buy two devices that measure fire victims for carbon monoxide toxicity. Farmington already has the devices, and they've proved useful, said Brian Mohler, assistant chief in Bloomfield.

"It saved some lives locally," he said.


The Special Olympics will use its grant to put on the annual Four Corners Invitational event. "It enables us to provide a quality competition for over 1,600 athletes, coaches and partners from across the state," said Debra Lisenbee, the organization's San Juan County director.

The Boys and Girls Club of Farmington will use its grant of about $12,000 to provide equipment for after-school programs including tutoring and mentoring, said President Benedikte Whitman. The youth organization serves 300-400 kids a day, she said.

Chris Garcia, CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters of San Juan County, said ConocoPhillips' employees give their time as well as corporate donations to mentor youths ages 6 to 18. The program asks volunteers to spend one hour a week with a disadvantaged student.

"We see kids' grades go up, and they get along better with their peers," she said.

Among many other grants, money went to Alternative Horizons for services to victims of domestic violence, Childhaven for its children's emergency shelter and support services, the San Juan Symphony for youth education and Navajo Ministries for kitchen equipment.


Chuck Slothower may be reached at; 505-564-4638. Follow him on Twitter @DTChuck