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Summer 2009 – SHINE, Texas Children’s Hospital
By Kathy Isdale
In just its fifth year of life, the Derricks & Diamonds softball tournament this spring raised more than $152,000 in gifts and pledges for Texas Children’s Hospital, bringing the total of its support to more than $500,000 in five years. Along the way, the tournament has become both a terrific weekend for player, their families and friends and a uniquely valuable learning experience for employees of its two founding corporate donors—National Oilwell Varco (NOV) and Schlumberger.
“Derricks & Diamonds represents the true spirit of corporate philanthropy and its power to impact a community,” says Mark. A. Wallace, president and chief executive officer of Texas Children’s Hospital.
Derricks & Diamonds originated with the 2004 class of NOV’s Next Generation Program, a twice-yearly rotational training program for select groups of about 50 promising new hires dubbed “Next Gens.”
Jerry Gauche, senior vice president for sales and marketing at NOV, relates, “We wanted Next Gens to have a project that would draw them together as a group, something they could own and be responsible for—and be proud of. Someone suggested a softball tournament.”
In a matter of weeks, the Next Gens to have a project that would draw them together as a group, something they could own and be responsible for—and be proud of. Someone suggested a softball tournament.”
In a matter of weeks, the Next Gens had the structure in place for a charity tournament benefiting Texas Children’s. They had created a fundraising strategy and started contacting companies in or associated with the oil and gas industry to underwrite and put up teams for the first Derricks & Diamonds.
Schlumberger stepped right up for that first outing in the spring of 2005—and won it. “That success inspired a group of Schlumberger employees to hold a similar event in the fall,” says Rod Nelson, senior vice president of Schlumberger. “The following year, our two companies joined forces to co-host the tournament on the weekend before the Offshore Technology Conference.”
The host companies shoulder operating costs of the tournament, and charitable funds are raised through underwriters who then send teams. Proceeds benefit Texas Children’s Cancer Center and charity care.
“From humble beginnings as a 16-team tournament played in a public park that raised $15,000 for Texas Children’s,” Nelson says, “we’ve grown into a 40-team round robin with 122 games over two days. More than 2,000 people attended this year.”
According to Gauche, “The tournament has been a great success from the standpoint of both the company and participants. It gives young employees actual management experience very early in their careers. It also begins very early to build the spirit of community service that has been part of NOV’s tradition.”
“Softball is at the center of the event but it’s never about who has the best softball team in the oil and gas industry,” says Sean McCoy, who spearheaded Schlumberger’s participation. “It’s about kids and family.”
Wallace adds, “National Oilwell Varco and Schlumberger make a real difference in our capacity to serve children with cancer and to extend charity care to families who need that support.