Leading the way in economic development within our communities is an important part of the OG&E growth strategy. Working with community and business leaders to attract new and diverse industries to the cities and towns across our service area, OG&E’s economic development leadership directly impacted the creation or retention of close to 8,000 jobs in 2018 alone. Our efforts continue to bear fruit as further expansions continue to occur in 2019, in the form of new manufacturing facilities in the SE part of our service territory. Oklahoma City has also been selected for a new aircraft production center and a new maintenance facility. Electricity costs and reliability continue to be important criteria for site selection.
Serving the public is a foundational value that underpins all of our efforts throughout the communities we serve. As the single largest payer of ad valorem payments in Oklahoma, OG&E annually pays approximately $80 million, which benefits schools and communities. In 2018, our OGE Energy Foundation donated more than $1.5 million to worthy causes, and our employee contributions consistently place our annual United Way campaign among the top campaigns in our area, raising more than $1.2 million in 2018. Our employees annually spend nearly 20,000 hours volunteering their time and energy to many nonprofit and civic organizations.