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Melissa Blake

Mayor, Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo

The property taxes paid by Syncrude and other industry members enable us to do tremendous things in terms of the infrastructure.

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“At the municipality, we hope to achieve sustainability by making sure today's decisions don't compromise future choices. This has been a challenge as Wood Buffalo has grown tremendously in the past decade and there's no sign of this slowing down. Syncrude has been a community mainstay long before this period and continues to help us with decisions on everything from the municipal development plan to city centre redevelopment to bus lanes that move commuters more quickly and efficiently. Syncrude is at the table and is making a difference in how we execute those plans.

The property taxes paid by Syncrude and other industry members enable us to do tremendous things in terms of the infrastructure that's required. The other area where Syncrude has helped is through investing directly in the community. Facilities such as the Syncrude Sport and Wellness Centre and the Syncrude Timberlea Athletic Park improve the quality of life in the community.”

Community Involvement

Performance Overview

  • Distributed $6 million in total donations in key areas in 2012
  • Among the recipients of key investments were MacEwan University's Bachelor of Science in Engineering Transfer program, Wood Buffalo Food Bank, Fort McMurray Public Schools, Girls Inc. of Northern Alberta and the Wood Buffalo Dolly Parton Imagination Library
  • Corporate campaign in 2012 recognized employee volunteers and engaged employees in voting a total of $50,000 in donations for their charities of choice

Corporate Giving Policy

In order to enrich the lives of our employees and improve the well-being of the communities where our people live and we do business, Syncrude provides funds to support community activities meeting specific criteria. Our corporate giving is designed to help us continue to earn our social license to operate and enhance our corporate reputation as well as our ability to attract and retain qualified employees.

Complete details on our policy and program guidelines are available at www.syncrude.com/community.

Focus Areas for Giving

Syncrude's giving in the Wood Buffalo region focuses on participating in community initiatives that help improve quality of life and enhance employee retention. In Edmonton, our giving focuses on initiatives which serve that community and also benefit people living in northern Alberta communities, for example, health care services. Investments are made in both markets that help build training and education capacity to support long-term recruitment needs.

Corporate Donations

 
2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013
Target
Corporate giving1 ($ millions)
           
3.2 4.3 5.0 5.0 6.0 6.0
  1. Includes donations made under the Community Investment Program, Aboriginal Community Investment Program, sponsorships and gifts-in-kind.

Major Donation Contributions

More than 170 organizations benefited from our community investment program in 2012. These included:

  • $1 million over four years to help establish a new Science and Technology Centre at Fort McMurray's Father Patrick Mercredi High School. The project is valued at $4 million and aims to help local students develop technology skills needed by local employers. Two new labs focused on engineering technologies and industrial trades will provide hands-on learning opportunities that will give students a competitive advantage when applying for post-secondary training and apprenticeships.
  • $250,000 to MacEwan University to support the Bachelor of Science in Engineering Transfer Program. This program enables the first year of a Bachelor of Science in Engineering degree to be taken at MacEwan. Upon successfully completing the first year, students are guaranteed entrance to the second year program at the University of Alberta.
  • $300,000 to the Wood Buffalo Dolly Parton Imagination Library. The Imagination Library fosters a love of reading among preschool children by providing them with a free book every month from birth to the age of five. Started in 1996 by country music star Dolly Parton, the program operates in more than 900 communities across Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom. In Wood Buffalo, 5,000 preschool children are eligible, making it the largest Imagination Library initiative in Canada.
  • $65,000 to the Wood Buffalo Food Bank. Each year, Syncrude sponsors the annual food bank drive. Since 2005, Syncrude has contributed a total $425,000.
  • Other organizations and initiatives we continue to support include: the Northern Lights Health Foundation, the Stollery Children’s Hospital Foundation, Keyano College, Ronald McDonald House Northern Alberta, Compassion House Foundation, MacDonald Island Park, Vista Ridge All Seasons Park and KidSport. More information is available in our 2010-11 Sustainability Report.

Employees Respond to United Way Campaign

Syncrude employees once again responded generously to Fort McMurray's annual United Way campaign in 2012, helping the city retain its status as Canada's most giving United Way community on a per capita basis for seven consecutive years. Syncrude's record-breaking workplace campaign raised $2.2 million.

Corporate and Employee Contributions to the United Way

Campaign Salutes Community Volunteers and Engages Employees in Corporate Giving

A 2012 campaign to recognize and promote employee volunteerism also succeeded in its secondary goal of engaging employees in learning about the work of community not-for-profit agencies through a $50,000 choose-your-charity give-away contest. Nearly 1,600 employees participated in the on-line campaign, selecting the Fort McMurray SPCA as the $25,000 winner, and five other agencies as recipients of $5,000 each; they are the Centre of Hope, the Fort McMurray Chinese-Canadian Cultural Society, Sanatan Mandir Cultural Society, Santas Anonymous and the Wood Buffalo Educare Society.

Good Neighbours Program Benefits Local Charities

Syncrude's Good Neighbours program recognizes and incents employees to engage in community volunteerism by awarding $500 grants to the organizations for which they volunteer. In 2012, a total of $116,000 was awarded to 70 not-for-profit organizations. Many of the same organizations also shared in a total of $80,000 in Good Neighbours busing grants ($2,000 each), which help offset the cost of travel to out-of-town events, such as sports tournaments. Click here for more information on this program.