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Community Support Removes Barriers for Young People

January 25, 2016
Published In: Community Investment

In 2014, our total community investment was $1,124,400 CDN. We also supported 13,650 employee volunteer hours in support of initiatives that enhance the communities where we live.

Education for Employability

As an Edmonton-based company, we align with the City of Edmonton's priorities set out in End Poverty Edmonton. To do our part, we focus on initiatives that help young minds get ready for stable, successful employment — permanently lifting them out of poverty.

​We form partnerships with charitable organizations in the communities we serve to target education in three areas: 

  • Ready: Kindergarten – Grade 3 (learning readiness and literacy)
  • Set: Grades 8 – 10 (high school transition)
  • Go: Young adult, 17 – 24 years old (high school completion and pursuit of post-secondary)

We also provide significant support in funds and staff towards environmental protection and other community initiatives where we can have the biggest impact.

Employees: The Heart of EPCOR

There's power in numbers. We know that making our communities better is the result of many dedicated hands working together for change. Through our Helping Hands program, we facilitate regular group volunteer opportunities for employees, from small team events to large-scale efforts with up to 50 people. 

Here's a sampling of the impact they've made since we introduced the group volunteering program: 

  • Restoring trails in Alberta's Kananaskis Country
  • Pulling weeds and planting trees along the shores of the North Saskatchewan River 
  • Serving turkey dinner to the homeless on New Year's Day
  • Packing backpacks for United Way's Tools for School program 
  • Phoenix employees volunteering during the holiday season at St. Mary's Food Bank to sort donations and assemble food boxes

Many employees also take the initiative to volunteer on their own time, and so we want to harness their energy to make an even bigger impact. Employees who volunteer at least 30 hours in a year qualify to direct a $300 Helping Hands Grant to an eligible charity of their choice. U.S. employees also participate in a similar program. 

Some 183 employees in Canada and the U.S. took up the call, recording more than 13,650 hours in 2014. 

​United Way

EPCOR has a long history with United Way. Since 1993, we have raised over $5 million through the organization since our first fundraising campaign in 1993. Our latest education-themed campaign highlighted how United Way supports programs that provide young people with the tools for success. Employees in 2015 raised over $393,000 CDN in Canada and $33,000 USD in the U.S., as well as books, school supplies and winter clothes.

U.S. Initiatives

EPCOR has provided support to more than 100 events and programs in the communities we serve in Arizona and New Mexico, from supporting food banks to important community-focused events. We've also supported education in meaningful ways, like offsetting the cost of summer school for high-school students who need a little help and partnering with local fire departments and community pools to educate families on safety.

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Going Beyond Just Giving Money

Our community investment support model includes wrap-around partnerships (like ABC Head Start) that incorporate employee volunteering and career exposure in addition to providing funding. This allows us to make a bigger impact by going beyond just cutting cheques and leveraging our people, facilities, other resources unique to EPCOR to enhance our contribution.