Paying it forward

Most everyone begins a new year with a resolution. Personal resolutions widely differ, but for many, doing something that involves a positive impact on others – the act of “paying it forward” – is an important mission many remember and put to action throughout the year.

On a corporate and organizational level, there seems to be a consistent flow of operators, suppliers and industry groups combining their expertise, creativity and giving hearts to be of help and service to others. Community outreach is a significant one, as are mental health initiatives, food drives, and various other programs. 

For those who do not already have such an initiative in motion, I implore us as an industry to boost our presence while helping our teammates, fellow miners and mining people and our surrounding communities – both near and far from mine sites. It doesn’t need to involve funds, just a philanthropic idea and intent. You will certainly get more back than you give – guaranteed.

Case in point: recently, Kentucky-headquartered coal miner Ramaco Resources announced its support for regional coal communities with its new charitable organization, the Ramaco Foundation.

The group, which will invest in the regions where its employees work in West Virginia, Virginia and Wyoming through grant-making and partnerships with nonprofits in the respective areas, will be headed by Evan Jenkins, president of the Ramaco Foundation and a member of its board of directors; Randall Atkins, chairman and CEO of Ramaco and chairman of the foundation’s board; Patrick Graney III, founder and president of PCG in West Virginia; and Debra Wendtland, a prominent Sheridan, Wyo.-based attorney.

As part of its launch, the foundation has awarded grants worth $100,000 to organizations fighting childhood hunger in Wyoming, and supporting education and workforce development in West Virginia.

“The regions where our staff and their families live are the backbone of this country, and deserve far, far more investment and attention than they receive,” said Atkins.

The foundation’s activities will be focused on southern West Virginia, southwestern Virginia, and Sheridan County, Wyo. Its first major donations are $50,000 grants to the Food Group Wyoming and Jobs for West Virginia’s Graduates. Both organizations received $25,000 in 2022 and another $25,000 will be coming in 2023 for operating funds, program development and other identified needs.

“The Ramaco Foundation is dedicated to building meaningful philanthropic relationships in these regions, and strengthening the local social and economic fabric,” said Jenkins. 

So, as 2023 getting fully in gear, put your resolutions to work. It doesn’t matter who the recipient of the help may be, but it does matter that we as an industry put our best foot forward and remind others that there is much more to mining than what they’ve been told. As I like to say: onward and upward!

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