Our approach to community investment helps us build stronger relationships with our communities. It's not just about financial donations. It's about demonstrating our commitment to helping communities where we live and work be stronger and better off because we're there.
We recognize that every community and organization is different, which is why we focus our investment decisions on the needs of each community we work with. We collaborate with local groups to create programs, provide in-kind support, share ideas, and host and support events. We also look for ways for our employees and their families to get involved through volunteer opportunities.
As more people learn about our community investment program, the number of requests for funding increases. As a result, we continually assess where our resources can have the most impact. Our community investment program focuses on three areas:
We are an Imagine Canada Caring Company, which means we give a minimum of one percent of our pre-tax profits to charitable or non-profit organizations.
In 2013, we partnered with the Northland School Division in northern Alberta and the Grasslands School Division in southeastern Alberta to help them deliver meaningful educational programs that encourage long-term benefits for these communities.
We want to help Canadians understand the value of oil, the role it plays in the energy mix, and that we’ll need every source of energy available to meet the world’s growing demand. The very quality of our lives in Canada depends on energy sources that we take for granted every day. That’s why energy literacy is important to us.
A good example of how we support energy literacy is through our partnership with Inside Education, a charitable education society providing programs that enable Canadian teachers and students to understand the science, technology and issues related to our environment and natural resources. One of the programs we support is a summer professional development tour for teachers. It offers a
hands-on education about the oil sands and other topics relevant to Alberta’s energy industry.
Cenovus has partnered with the Calgary Police Service in a program called the Calgary Police Service Power Play Hockey Program, which provides opportunities for youth at risk and also those new to Canada to play hockey with police officers, building trust and creating positive connections.
“Many of the youth come from countries where police are not trusted, or their experiences with them are negative,” says Leanne Courchesne, Group Lead of Community Investment at Cenovus. “This gives them the chance to meet Canadian police officers and to strap on skates and shoot a puck around. It’s quite a positive experience for them.”
We make sure all of the kids are properly equipped with skates, helmets and any other gear that keeps them safe. We also make sure there are plenty of snacks and refreshments for the hungry players.
This is one example of a number of ways we partner with the Calgary Police Service. Our partnership also supports the Sheldon Kennedy Child Advocacy Centre and the Calgary Police Cadet Corps through multi-year commitments.
The devastating floods that swept through Alberta in June 2013 were a reality that hit close to home for many Cenovus employees and community partners. For us, it was a great demonstration of how our employees, and the communities where they live, came together during that time of need to roll up their sleeves and lend a hand wherever needed. We also donated a total of $1 million to more than 20 non-profit organizations to assist with disaster relief efforts.
“Our relationships with many of our community partners allowed us to make better investment decisions,” says Vicki Reid, Director of Community Affairs at Cenovus. “As a result we were able to provide critical support to those who needed it most.”
The Calgary Zoo is one of the organizations we reached out to during the height of the flood. Their communications systems were under water. Our donation of eight computers enabled them to send urgent messages to their staff and the public.
The Children’s Cottage, an organization that provides programs for families and young children at risk, also knew they could count on us for help. With the entire facility flooded, our employees were among the volunteers who came to their rescue in those initial days. The playground at the Cottage was also completely destroyed in the flood and we were able to provide financial assistance to help rebuild it.
We sponsor The Connections™ Program, which helps high school students learn about leadership and diversity through the development of projects related to multicultural and environmental issues. This 16-week in-depth program runs several times a year and is delivered in partnership with SEEDS Connections. During each session, up to 10 students and teachers across Alberta participate. In total about 30 schools are involved.
The selected participants take part in online discussions where they explore issues of importance to them in their communities. They are then invited to Camp Kiwanis, located outside of Calgary, for one week, all expenses paid, to continue their in-depth, student-led exploration into social and environmental themes that affect their lives.
By the end of the week they agree on one issue on which they focus their collective energy. Together, they develop a strategy to address this issue, which they take back to their schools to implement. Using the leadership skills they have acquired, the students become positive ambassadors and change makers in their own schools and communities.
Our Aboriginal Scholarship Program speaks to our commitment to strengthening communities where we work and to providing educational, employment and economic benefits to Aboriginal communities. Students in any post-secondary program, who are pursuing a degree, diploma or certified trade are eligible to apply.
Every year we offer up to 10 scholarships, valued at $3,500 each, for Aboriginal students in our operating communities. Each successful student is encouraged to reapply for up to four years of their post-secondary education.
We offer our employees a volunteer program that reflects their interests and skills, and addresses community needs. It provides up to $1,000 in grants to the charitable and non-profit organizations where our employees and their immediate family members volunteer. In 2013, Cenovus donated over $211,000 in support of 179 organizations.
In 2013, we coordinated 57 company-sponsored volunteer events. Our employees volunteered by doing activities including cooking dinners for those in need, reading to children, packing food hampers, and building playgrounds – all aimed at making a positive and enriching impact in our communities.
During the year, we also launched our Team Volunteering program. The program offers an alternative option to more traditional team building exercises by encouraging teams to connect while giving back to the community. In total, 20 teams participated in activities which included lending a hand at local senior centres and at literacy events with Calgary Reads.
Our employees not only give back to their communities through volunteer work, they give through donations to charities and non-profits of their choice. Cenovus encourages and supports this generosity by doubling the impact – matching our employees’ donations dollar for dollar to a maximum of $25,000 per person, per year. Together with our employees, we donated more than $4.3 million to charitable and non-profit organizations in 2013 through our employee giving programs.