Reaching $1M: Williston Basin API to celebrate fundraising milestone

Submitted Photo

WILLISTON – The Williston Basin API will celebrate a significant achievement this year.

On Saturday, Sept. 7, the group will host a public celebration at Black Magic Harley Davidson to recognize API has donated $1 million in scholarships and grants during the past eight years, according to a news release.

Williston Basin API President Ken Callahan said the celebration will feature a free meal, games and activities for kids and live entertainment. The API is close to its $1 million goal this spring and expects to hit it later this summer.

“We crested over three-quarter of a million dollars in the spring of 2017 so that’s when we started tracking it,” said Callahan. “We are at about $960,000 and we believe we will top one million dollars yet this year.”

The Williston API raises most of its funds through the chili cook-off in the winter and golf tournament in the summer. The group really started growing its fundraising efforts at the start of the Bakken shale oil boom.

“When the boom came we ramped things up to show the community what we really are,” said Callahan. “We went from raising $40,000 to $50,000 per year to trying to raise more money because there were a lot more needs.”

The API has been in the Williston area since 1980 but comprehensive fundraising records were not kept until the past eight years. The API provides educational scholarships for local high school graduates, youth sporting organizations, cultural programs and much more. Board members say it’s important for the group to leave a legacy in their community.

“I think it has really helped the face of the oil and gas industry connecting to the community, being a part of the community and supporting the community in various areas,” said Dewey Bailey, API board member.

The Williston API also plays a key role in educating people about the oil and gas industry.

“We bridge the gap between the public and the oil field,” said Brom Lutz, API board member.

New and experienced oil and gas workers have found friendship and support from the Williston API.

“I have been in the oil field all of my life and I really like the core values; educating, engaging and participating,” said Crysie Hendershott, API secretary. “I believe the education part of it is a big thing so that the general public knows what is really going on and not just what you hear or read in the media.”

Meanwhile, Kerri Espeland, API treasurer, sought the support of the API as a newcomer to the oil and gas industry.

“When I moved my family here six years ago, I wanted to find an entity that offered networking and education so that I could better understand the community where I live and raise my children,” she said.

For more details visit the API website at https://www.willistonapi.com/.