Red Lake Nation News - Babaamaajimowinan (Telling of news in different places)

Chickasaw Foundation receives donation from Enel North America


November 30, 2022

Johnna R. Walker, chief executive officer of the Chickasaw Foundation, receives a donation of $20,000 from Trish Evans, senior sustainability and community relations at Enel North America. Through donations like this, the Chickasaw Foundation has changed the lives of and provided hope to Chickasaw citizens and employees for more than 50 years.

The Chickasaw Foundation recently received a $20,000 donation from Enel North America (Enel) to provide two Chickasaw students with $10,000 scholarships. Beginning in the fall of 2022, selected students will receive $5,000 each for two semesters, pending continuation of meeting scholarship requirements.

"Enel has been present in Oklahoma for over a decade, and in that time, we have seen the critical role the Chickasaw Nation plays in the social, cultural and economic well-being of its communities and Oklahoma at large," Jason Stutzman, site manager for Enel's Origin and Rockhaven wind farms, said. "The Chickasaw Foundation is the perfect partner for us to support our neighbors in south- central Oklahoma."

Eligibility requirements for the Enel North America Scholarship include being a Chickasaw undergraduate junior or senior student enrolled full-time at an accredited college or university and majoring in sustainable energy, or a science, technology, math or engineering field.

Chickasaw students currently enrolled in the Wind Tech I Training program at High Plains Technology Center in Woodward, Oklahoma, are also eligible.

"Oklahoma has benefited tremendously from the increase in clean energy careers, and we want to be sure those opportunities are extended to every Chickasaw student who wants to pursue them," Mr. Stutzman said.

According to information provided by Enel, for more than 20 years the company has been a renewable energy leader and innovator in the United States and Canada. Enel's goal is to help companies and communities create value in sustainability. It has created jobs in Oklahoma's sustainable energy market for more than a decade and continues to invest heavily in wind turbines.

"Enel operates several wind farms on land leased from private landowners in the Chickasaw Nation," Mr. Stutzman said. "At all of our operating projects, we look for ways to invest in the long-term sustainability of our host communities. Enel involves local stakeholders in a plan to create shared value for the mutual benefit of the company and the community at large."

The Chickasaw Foundation was established in 1971 as a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that promotes the general welfare and culture of the Chickasaw people. The Foundation is devoted to Chickasaw people and supports education, health, culture, and community activities and programs.

"The largest program within the Chickasaw Foundation is education, and it plays such an important role in our organization and tribe," said Johnna R. Walker, chief executive officer of the Chickasaw Foundation. "Enel North America learned about the Chickasaw Foundation through relationships we have built with others, and we were so excited for the opportunity to partner with them to provide scholarships."

Last year, scholarships totaling $113,150 were available to Chickasaw students pursuing higher education. The Chickasaw Foundation has seen growth with the establishment of additional scholarships for prospective students, including those like the Enel North America Scholarship.

"Enel will support the Chickasaw Foundation during the 2022-23 and 2023-24 calendar years," Mr. Stutzman said. "This project will invest in workforce development through a scholarship for Indigenous students who study wind energy technical training or a program of their choice to include engineering, electrical, construction, environment or any career path leading to work in the renewable energy field."

The Chickasaw Foundation collaborates with many national and state charitable organizations including the American Red Cross, Make-A-Wish Foundation and the Salvation Army, to name a few.

"Enel previously implemented a similar Indigenous partnership with the Piikani First Nation in Alberta, Canada, supporting wind energy education for students near our wind farms in the province," Mr. Stutzman said. "The success of that model encouraged us to pursue a similar approach in Oklahoma."

Individual donors, organizations and the Chickasaw Nation's Employee Charitable Contribution Plan continue to make meaningful donations to the Chickasaw Foundation.

"Donations are our lifeline," Ms. Walker said. "We are good stewards of the resources we've been entrusted with, whether it's a monetary contribution or an investment of time. For more than 50 years, those resources have allowed us to change lives and provide hope."

In addition to educational opportunities, the Chickasaw Foundation also delivers cultural education within the Chickasaw boundaries, and natural disaster relief to citizens and employees of the Chickasaw Nation.

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