by Jo Barnes –
Welcome to the business world, where it’s all about the bottom line. At least that’s the stereotype that comes to mind when some people think about corporations. But the reality can be very different, as Seaside Magazine’s local fundraising event called Taking It to the Street on June 9 beautifully showcased corporate philanthropy at its best.
“The bottom line has to take a back seat to people,” shared Peggy Yelland, CPA, Owner of Peggy Yelland & Associates.
“It’s very important to give back to the community,” says James Haley-Browning, Branch Manager, TD Canada Trust.
Taking it to the Street, at its heart, is an annual road hockey event hosted at the Mary Winspear Centre. The event raises money for Help Fill A Dream, an organization whose mission is to fulfill the dreams of children with life-threatening conditions and to provide financial support to their families.
“The focus on corporate responsibility is a very big thing. Company employees are out having fun today. They are here for a bigger cause; it’s bigger than the dollars,” shares Craig Smith, Executive Director of Help Fill A Dream Foundation.
This year’s Help Fill a Dream Recipient is Jacob Kerr, who in 2005 at age five was diagnosed with neuroblastoma. He underwent and recovered from chemotherapy, radiation and surgery only to learn in 2017 he had bone cancer. Most of his right pelvic bone was removed. Help Fill A Dream provided financial support for Jacob’s physiotherapy, massage therapy, medical and travel expenses, and this year are deleted to be able to grant his “dream trip” to Iceland.
For five years Taking it to the Street has provided a tremendous financial boost to Help Fill A Dream, this year raising $30,105. It’s a joyful day: happy hockey enthusiasts shoot the puck as friends and family look on with interest, tiny tots bounce on inflatables, Grizz the Grizzlies Mascot waves at passers-by, guests nibble on cotton candy or popcorn. The event involves a cross section of the community including students, firefighters, insurance salespeople and business people.
Most volunteers are employees of sponsoring companies including TD Canada Trust, RBC, TELUS and Scotiabank. “Volunteering is part of our corporate culture,” says Scott Wilson, Consultant, RBC. “Our volunteers were supervising the children’s bouncy castles.”
So why do these companies get involved in charitable events like these? The common thread is giving back to build a stronger community. Volunteering is woven into corporate principles and initiatives like TD Bank’s Volunteer Network, or TELUS’ Days of Giving and TELUS Community Ambassadors or RBC’s and Scotiabank’s employee volunteer programs.
Do employees benefit, and if so, how?
“I encourage employees to volunteer. If you care about community, you’ll care about your clients,” says Peggy.
Volunteering plays a vital role in the development and growth of employees and in the success of the company.
“If an employee is motivated, engaged and inspired, this actually translates to service the employees deliver to customers,” says Jill Howard, Manager, TELUS National Contact Centre. “You’ll see it in customer satisfaction.”
“It generates positive morale; it’s a boost to the whole company,” shares James.
“Employees get to know each other outside of work and this makes working together more congenial,” says Scott. “Volunteering helps everyone grow as a team.”
It’s less about getting and more about giving to others. It’s a call to action and an invitation to respond.
Why work tirelessly on a charity event like Taking It to the Street?
“Why not?” smiles Sue Hodgson, co-founder of the event.
There might have been a few rain showers at Taking it to the Street on June 9, but the sun was shining in people’s hearts. Everywhere you looked people knew why they were there.
“The journey is always full of hope; there’s hope in every situation,” shares Susan Kerr.
And often corporations through their dedicated volunteers can transform that hope into reality. Maybe it’s time to take another look at the stereotype and recognize the wave of corporate philanthropy enriching our community.
To view all the photos from the day, visit https://www.nuttycake.com/Vault/Events/TI2TS-June2018/.