Telus donated $7.3 million in support of more than 40 Toronto charities earlier this month at its inaugural Celebration of Giving event.
The company has been participating in charitable work since the inception of Celebration of Giving in 2000, which carries the motto “We give where we live” in the nine regional locations where the event takes place.
One of the recipients this year was the non-profit organization Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC), which deals with protecting ecologically important lands across the country.
“For staff who work for non-profits of all kinds, and especially in ours, you really feel that giving back is honest. It comes from the employees and it’s driven by Canadians, and that makes you feel great,” said Lynn Gran, VP of Strategic Philanthropy at the NCC.
One of NCC’s targeted areas where the money will be spent is the Happy Valley Forest just north of Toronto. The area is one of the last remaining intact upland deciduous forests on the Moraine Oak Ridges—the protection of which is crucial in maintaining the habitats for many important species living there.
Because the money received could be used to preserve and maintain the land, “there’s a big circle of benefit there,” said Gran.
Telus is a major telecommunications company in Canada with $9.6 billion in annual revenue. Its employees donate to charities on a yearly basis and the company matches their dollars one for one at the end of the year.
With this strategy, Telus received the title of World’s Most Philanthropic Corporation earlier this year, awarded by the Association of Fundraising Professionals. Telus is the first Canadian company to receive the award.
Local registered charities like the Pakistani Relief Fund and Covenant House receive the donations through the Telus community boards in the nine regions of Vancouver, Victoria, Edmonton, Calgary, Ottawa, Toronto, Montreal, Rimouski, and Atlantic Canada.
In 2009, TELUS employees and retirees donated $7.1 million to more than 2,900 charities across the country.
Rita Burak, chair of the Telus Toronto Community Board, said the company will acknowledge any project a charitable organization is working on and decide on where to provide funds. Telus is keen on reaching out to organizations and letting them know that their efforts for helping out in their respective communities will not go unnoticed.
“If you’ve got a project that is going to help kids who live in an at-risk neighbourhood and it’s going to help them face the future … if [the employees] can raise more funds amongst themselves for a favourite charity, you know the company is going to be right there in matching their dollars,” said Burak.
Telus will continue to work with local communities through hosting events that acknowledge the work done by charitable organizations and encourage new charities to join the Celebration of Giving.
“Our reputation for giving where we live is certainly growing,” said Burak.