The Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation (the Foundation) is proud to announce that Rob Risley, Senior Counsel at Freeport-McMoRan, has made donations to the Foundation’s scholarship program of $40,000 last year and $20,000 this year. The Freeport-McMoRan Foundation is generously matching these gifts through its Employee Matching Gifts program for total funding of $120,000.


Although most people know the Foundation for its Annual Institutes and its other high-quality conferences, the Foundation also has an Outreach Program, which provides almost $350,000 annually to further legal education in oil and gas, mining, energy, public lands, water, environmental, and related international law. This funding includes scholarships to law students interested in these areas of law, attendance at Foundation educational programs, networking grants to introduce students to practitioners and professionals, and grants to professors to fund research and scholarship.


The Foundation funds most of the Outreach Program from operations, but given current market conditions, it will need to rely on donations like those from Rob and the Freeport Foundation to maintain current funding levels.


Rob’s contribution will fund the new Frances Hartogh Diversity Outreach Scholarship Program. Under this Program, the Foundation will award scholarships each year to mineral law students who meet certain eligibility criteria, including the the potential to contribute to the mineral law community and potential to increase diversity in the practice of mineral law.


Rob said, “The Foundation has greatly enhanced my career and given me the opportunity to work closely with some amazing people. The Foundation doesn’t take policy positions, but it is the best and most effective place to educate lawyers and others who will make legal and policy decisions about mineral and other natural resources. The Foundation has an extremely important philanthropic function that is not well funded. I wanted to fund a new scholarship that recognizes the importance of both diversity and education in mineral law practice. Having worked with our Scholarships Committee for several years, I have the utmost confidence that the Committee will administer my gift with integrity and diligence.”


Rob made his gift in the form of appreciated stock, which he said “can be an incredible way to maximize a gift while getting great tax savings.” Rob also noted how thankful he was for the Freeport Foundation’s extremely generous matching program for employees. The Foundation will apply the Freeport matching gift to fund student scholarships.


About Frances Hartogh

We’ve named the newly funded scholarship program to recognize Frances Hartogh, the Foundation’s Associate Director and Director of Outreach. Frances graduated from the University of Denver Sturm College of Law in 1982, and began her legal practice with Colorado Interstate Gas, in Colorado Springs, Colorado. She then became the Senior Counsel at Gold Fields Mining in Lakewood, Colorado. She also served as an Assistant Attorney General with the Colorado Attorney General’s office before coming to work for the Foundation in 2009. Frances has been instrumental in the expansion of the Outreach Program and a leader in diversity outreach. Frances intends to retire in June, and to continue her 37 years of involvement with the Foundation into retirement.