On Febraury 11, 2020 BP officially handed over the keys to the BP Energy Center to The Alaska Community Foundation. At the event, Laurie Wolf gave a tribute to the building, and to BP for their generosity. Here are her comments:
On behalf of the nonprofit sector and the hundreds of organizations and civic groups who use this facility every year, thank you. And thank you for inviting me to say a few words about this place and this gift to Alaska nonprofits.
We are here today to celebrate this remarkable gift as it transfers hands and keeps its promised intent for Alaska’s nonprofits. We are grateful as nonprofits not only for the gift of this space, but for the many gifts of financial investment, employee time and engagement, and a corporate culture of truly living the meaning of philanthropy – love of humankind.
This space indeed is not just an asset, it is a gift of spirit and, true to its name, a gift of energy. Foraker and the BP Energy Center grew up together. We came from the similar idea that nonprofits are part of the fabric of our lives in Alaska. We often say no matter where you travel in Alaska, and no matter how you travel, you will come in contact with a nonprofit every day.
The beauty of the Energy Center is that on any given day these walls have so many diverse missions activated inside. From direct human services, to the arts, to industry associations, and so much more, every day the energy inside this center is palpable.
This place is also home to many Foraker firsts – the first session of our Certificate in Nonprofit Management program and our Catalyst for Nonprofit Excellence – another BP inspiration thanks to Alice Galvin and Steve Marshall.
This is Foraker’s home-away-from-home because so many use this facility every week supporting the groups that are lucky enough to land a coveted room. Yes, it is harder than you can imagine to get a room even months in advance. I am personally thrilled each time a group invites me to provide a facilitation or training here because I know the setting will be perfect. My own fun fact is that I spend so much time here that Sandra Cacy, the wonderful woman who operates this place day in and day out, sometimes lets me do the hand motions to the exits during the safety briefing.
We and so many Alaska nonprofits are grateful for this space. It is, indeed, an Alaskan gift in so many ways.
Importantly, this facility was the first real space of quality that said in no uncertain terms that nonprofits matter and that they deserve the same level of support as other segments of the community like businesses, industry, and government. From the technology, to the design, to the attention to detail, to the beautiful inspirational scenery that sees trees as art and makes us think about and experience the world anew, the Energy Center was the first space built specifically to welcome the sector with such grace.
And, as we learned, this space was designed to facilitate productive conversations, to inspire creativity, and to support collaborations – all things that strengthen the nonprofit sector. This space also supports the tough conversations that we all need to have to advance our missions and improve our communities. The environment ensures we are nurtured in the conversations and helps us feel supported. As a result, our decisions are better for our organizations, our missions, and our communities.
As we look ahead, we thank BP for creating this community space – this gathering space. I know I speak on behalf of Alaska’s nonprofits when I say we all look forward to using the BP Energy Center well into the future. And we are thankful that it is passing to the trusted hands of the Alaska Community Foundation who will steward this community asset for all of Alaska.