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Give Back, Recruit the Best

Why corporate giving is good for business

Clever corporate leaders have always known that investing in community activities is good for a company’s brand. But in 2019, it’s more important than ever for businesses to take a robust and thoughtful approach to giving, so they can attract top talent, keep workplace morale high, and help their local communities prosper.

“We see it as core to who we are, frankly,” says Bernard Lord, CEO of Medavie, in reference to the Medavie Health Foundation’s support of causes impacting child and youth mental health, type 2 diabetes, and post-traumatic stress. “Employees today want an alignment of their values with the company that they work for—they want to work somewhere that has a greater sense of purpose. Medavie has always been about helping people access the resources they need for health care. That caring philosophy is still part of our key values, and we want employees who share those values.”

Sarah Rushton, the Director of Community at Mountain Equipment Co-op (MEC), says MEC’s non-profit partnerships and community engagements—ranging from simple events like local bike-fixing workshops to larger programs that help more communities experience the outdoors—are absolutely a major component in attracting and retaining the right employees for their famously civic-minded company.

What’s more, community engagement has proven to boost the company’s bottom line. “We want to be the go-to retailer for people who aspire to lead active outdoor lifestyles,” Rushton says. “If our community programs inspire new people to get active outside, we in turn grow our membership base.”

“MEC staffers care more than any place I’ve ever been about how we’re serving our community,” says Rushton, adding that this passion for inspiring people to live active outdoor lifestyles exists at every level of the company, from store associates to top executives.

While Medavie and MEC work on charitable initiatives that clearly relate to their corporate mission, others take a broader approach to corporate giving.

“Our philosophy is to prioritize community investments in regions where we do business, though we also contribute to certain national initiatives.” says Paul C. Genest, Senior Vice-President of Power Corporation of Canada. With headquarters in Montreal—and a presence in Winnipeg and Toronto—Power Corporation donates widely in arts and culture, health, environmental sustainability, education and community development. For over 50 years, Power has made donations both big and small, supporting everything from major hospitals, universities and symphony orchestras to up-and-comers like small modern dance troupes. “These smaller organizations warm the heart,” Genest says. “A modest donation can go a long way when people are on a shoestring budget. That’s why it’s not just the big-ticket items for us, but also keeping an eye out for the fledgling organizations that can use our help.” “Thriving businesses depend on thriving communities,” says Genest, “and we think philanthropy has a crucial role to play in that. For our communities to have an exciting arts scene, great hospitals and world-class educational institutions enhances our quality of life and contributes to attracting talent, and our sense of common purpose.”

To join Medavie, MEC and Power Corporation in demonstrating leadership as a Caring Company, visit: imaginecanada.ca

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