While we focus much of our corporate responsibility efforts on education, entrepreneurship and the environment, we also give back to communities in many other ways.
EY Connect Days
This year, we embraced a new initiative: EY Connect Days. On EY Connect Days, teams of volunteers leave the office and head out into the community to support local people and ventures, rolling up their sleeves to clean parks, tutor students and stock food pantries to help those in need.
We received enthusiastic responses from our people across the Americas for the inaugural EY Connect Days in 2010, and we’ve embraced the initiative as an annual program — a reflection of our commitment to meaningful community engagement.
Here are just a few of the ways our offices across Canada participated in this year’s EY Connect Days:
- The Vancouver team took part in a volunteer fair, featuring non-profit organizations from across the Lower Mainland — with each organization reflecting a different aspect of our corporate responsibility focus.
- In Edmonton, our people assembled 726 backpacks for United Way’s Tools for Schools program, which provides K–12 students in need with school supplies. Our team also delivered 300 backpacks to young students in the Slave Lake region who had been devastated by wildfires earlier in the year.
- Our London, Ontario, team rolled up their sleeves to paint, trim cedar and construct a maze, all in support of the non-profit Fanshawe Pioneer Village, where visitors learn the story of Canada’s rural communities.
- In Toronto, EY Connect Days consisted of four days of intensive community involvement by our people, ranging from collecting more than 200 books and over 250 pounds of non-perishable food items for local community organizations to taking part in a volunteer fair and participating in events in support of local entrepreneurs.
- Our Montreal team spent a day helping families affected by the widespread flooding in Richelieu Valley. They joined coworkers and other financial services professionals to help with the extensive cleanup of the area.
Living our values: Ernst & Young in our community
In addition to EY Connect Days, you’ll find our people across Canada directing their remarkable energy and skills to improve the quality of life in their communities. Here are just a few examples of a very busy year of bringing life and meaning to our values:
- Several of our offices across Canada are involved with community organizations such as Big Brothers and Big Sisters and Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada, providing mentoring and fundraising. As an example of our deep commitment, Gillian Heisz and Sarah Stachura of our London, Ontario, office have devoted substantial hours to the local Boys and Girls Club in a program similar to the Pathways to Education program.
- For Earth Day 2010, our Toronto office raised funds for Everdale, a community-based learning centre connecting food, community and farmers through hands-on learning programs for people of all ages and backgrounds.
- Several of our interns provided 36 training sessions for students across Central Ontario as part of our ongoing volunteer involvement with Junior Achievement. Our Montreal team is also involved with local Junior Achievement activities.
- In June 2011, 12 members of our Vancouver team participated in the Ride to Conquer Cancer. In the face of a cold, wet weekend, the team endured the two-day bicycle trek between Vancouver and Seattle and raised over $37,000 for the British Columbia Cancer Agency.
- Our Vancouver office is also active with the Minerva Foundation, and we sponsored their inaugural Women Leading the Way program, a hands-on leadership training initiative that encourages and inspires women to take the next step in their leadership journey. In addition to providing financial support, women from our office volunteer with this and other Minerva programs. This year, Transaction Partner Elise Rees was named Chair of the Minerva Patrons Circle.
- Between lively squash matches and officewide raffles, the Vancouver team also raised funds for the Children’s Wish Foundation. They also donated the greatest number of volunteer hours per capita in the Ernst & Young EYU Charity Challenge, in which 10 teams across Canada competed with one another to raise funds and volunteer time for this inspiring organization.
- Throughout 2010 and 2011, the Calgary office ran a Jeans Day initiative, asking local partners and staff to donate $5 weekly to a pool of funds in support of local community programs. In exchange for the donation, they could wear jeans in the office on Fridays. Together, they raised an impressive $23,210 for a wide range of programs and organizations, including the following:
- Relief appeals, from Red Cross appeals for the Chile and Haiti earthquakes to the Japan crisis and the Slave Lake wildfires
- Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Calgary’s mPower Youth Mentoring
- Children’s Wish
- Weekend to End Women’s Cancers
- Terry Fox Foundation
- Inn From the Cold
- Possibilities in Motion Foundation
- Calgary Humane Society
- Calgary Inter-Faith Food Bank
We’re a committed supporter of the United Way. Each year, our partners and staff contribute approximately $1 million to this extraordinary organization that benefits so many people in our communities.
Customer Services Co-ordinator
Ernst & Young, Calgary
From our Jeans Days and other fundraising activities, to encouraging our people to donate directly, we believe we can make positive contributions to improve conditions for the most vulnerable people in Canada, and inspire them to achieve their full potential. This year, we celebrated Calgary’s United Way Campaign, which raised an impressive $366,000 towards local United Way programs.
Meanwhile, among several United Way-related fundraising activities in our Toronto office, “The Going Concerns” participated in a lively, competitive Battle of the Bands that pitched our stellar performance against bands from our competitors in the Tax and Advisory groups, raising a cool $20,000 in one night. Our people across the city also joined forces in the 110-storey climb up the CN Tower in support United Way — an initiative that was co-ordinated by Toronto’s Jonathan Yeung and Vily Sarbinska.
More ways we’re helping the community
Other organizations that have benefited from the volunteer or fundraising efforts of our partners and staff include the following:
- Grand River Hospital Foundation
- Kitchener-Waterloo Community Foundation
- Kids Ability, Kitchener
- Winnipeg Art Gallery
- Montreal’s Junior Chamber of Commerce and its Regroupement Jeunesse de la Chambre de commerce