THE LBG CANADA NETWORK – WELCOME!
Please join us in welcoming Samsung and Aurora Cannabis Inc. to the LBG Canada network!
Imagine Canada is conducting research into Corporate Community Investment in Canada and needs your help to complete a brand new survey!
A continuation of Imagine’s recent research report Corporate Giving in a Changing Canada, the survey will explore new areas that will help shape the future of community investment including topics such as technology and innovation, how community investment relates to employee recruitment and retention, and best practices in measurement and reporting.
Click here to take the 15 minute survey by July 2, 2019.
THRIVING COMMUNITIES & LASTING RELATIONSHIPS – THE CO-OP COMMUNITY SPACES PROGRAM
This month, LBG Canada shines a spotlight on the Co-op Community Spaces Program.
A capital funding program developed to support non-profit, charitable organizations and projects that look to bring people together and help build community.
To read the spotlight and learn more, please click here.
This month, LBG Canada profiles Sherri Merkel, Community Investment & Impact, at NOVA Chemicals. A community investment programming powerhouse, Sherri is a wealth of knowledge with a smile that lights up any room. The interview below offers some insights into Sherri’s experience, approach to community investment and vision for impact.
Tell us about your career to date. Have you always worked in the community investment field? For NOVA?
I have a long-term passion for community that comes from my dad, who was heavily involved with volunteering when I was growing up.
I started here at NOVA on the communications team back in 2000, working strictly within the corporate communications function. I eventually began my journey into community investment by working with projects, as Stephanie would say, “off the side of my desk,” beginning with managing our Calgary United Way Campaign, which I continue to work with today in more of a Campaign Advisor role, and my community engagement evolved from there.
Within the last year, I’ve begun focusing the majority of my time on building our community investment Centre of Excellence across the company, in addition to managing the regional Calgary portfolio.
The community investment field continues to evolve. What is the most significant change you’ve seen?
It has truly been an evolution. And it’s been gratifying for me to watch, experience and understand that NOVA is not the only company that’s going through the same thing.
I think back to the 2000’s, when organizations were just focused on handing out money. It was more transactional, still reputationally focused, but very short term. Then people started thinking not only about the money they’re spending, but also trying to track more of the outcomes – the volunteerism, the people, the hours. And now I feel that we’re evolving to yet another place where we are really going deep into the true impact of activities – moving the needle on social issues, building capacity, changing behaviours, which is of course what we’ve been talking about with LBG Canada.
There’s also an emergence of a more global context. At NOVA we have been very focused on being a good neighbour, taking care of the communities where we live and work. Which I think is pretty common across the industry. But we, and many others, are beginning to look a lot more broadly.
Not only are we thinking about measuring impact of investments here at home, we are also looking at our position in the global space and thinking: “Ok, not only are we impacting our neighbours in the communities where we operate, we’re also impacting our neighbours around the world. So what can we do about it?”
When you look back at your community investment work thus far, what are the things that really stand out?
There a handful of things that have been memorable for me, a couple of them are in that global disaster space, and that’s really because of the way things happened here at home. The Calgary Flood in 2013, the Fort McMurray fires in 2016, and the way that our company readily stepped in to provide financial support, match employee donations, and got our people out volunteering.
But the piece that made me really proud as an employee was how easily and readily our recommendations to senior leadership were approved. It demonstrated the degree to which our senior leaders genuinely buy-into our community investment principles and program, and what that means to us as a company.
I also love what we did with Let’s Talk Science, an organization offering STEM enriched programming, free of charge, to youth educators across Canada.
This is a great partnership for us because they’re operating in all the regions NOVA is, and they’re focusing on the really young kids, not just those that are in post-secondary, preparing to enter the workforce.
It’s a long-term partnership where we are comfortable asking them “what do you need from us” instead of approaching them and telling them what we can provide. Allowing for stronger relationships and deeper impact.
As we continue through 2019, is there a challenge you are looking forward to taking on?
I’m looking forward to continuing on with our global-context projects, and merging our local and international ways of thinking into a single community investment strategy. Also, ensuring the continued marriage of that strategy with NOVA’s business objectives will remain a top priority.
How has being a part of LBG Canada helped NOVA achieve its community investment objectives?
Being a part of LBG Canada has helped with our consistency, rigour and depth of reporting across the organization. This new and improved reporting, with real data to back it up, has given NOVA a solid direction in which to keep moving.
And of course, being a part of a network of other community investment professionals, and the resources that provides, has been extremely valuable!
What piece of advice would you give someone just entering the field?
The piece of advice I would give to someone is to always stay curious; to listen, and always ask questions.
Listen to what your senior leadership team is saying in support of community and figure out how to move with them as business strategy evolves. Also, find your ambassadors. They might be in places you would never expect, and they will truly give you a new appreciation for the impact of passionate employee engagement.
Stay tuned for more Leadership Profiles as 2019 continues!
The SiMPACT team is growing, please help us welcome Jennifer Singer and Tarang Singhal!
Jennifer joins SiMPACT with 14 years of experience working in the international development sector – focused on the development and implementation of monitoring and evaluation systems, financial inclusion, agricultural development, supply chains, philanthropy and blended finance.
She has worked with a range of organizations including the Mastercard Foundation in Toronto and Development Finance International in Washington DC, engaging directly with government agencies, financial institutions and non-profits.
She has an MPA in Economic and Political Development from the Columbia’s School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA) and a BCom from McGill University.
Tarang is a public administration graduate from Columbia University with 5 years experience leading CSR programs at a natural resources conglomerate.
At SiMPACT, he is responsible for helping companies understand the value of their community investment programs. He specializes in using data to develop and improve program outcomes.
DATES FOR YOUR DIARY
Review of LBG Canada Benchmarking Community Investment Results – June 26th, 2019 – Register me!
Review of LBG Canada Benchmarking Employee Volunteering & Giving Results – June 27th, 2019 – Register me!
LBG CANADA IN THE COMMUNITY
LBG Canada companies are doing cool things in community, check out these recent examples!
Conexus Credit Union receives the Governor General’s Innovation Award
Conexus has been awarded the Governor General’s Award for Innovation for the Sweet Dreams project.
Created to find a solution to the separation of families due to welfare concerns- Conexus, the Mah Family and the government of Saskatchewan came together to fund the first Canadian social impact bond that provides a supported living environment where families are kept intact and mothers are given the tools needed to safely parent their children. To learn more about the project, please click here.
The Innovation Awards celebrate the power of knowledge and the desire to make a difference in our communities through inventing, changing and improving.
Meet the newest BCorp: Coast Capital Savings!
“Coast Capital Savings doesn’t just talk the talk when it comes to being a socially responsible company, but walks the walk.”
Coast Capital Savings has officially joined a growing movement of change-makers using business as a force for good. The BCorp status means that Coast members can feel good about banking with them and their employees can be proud to work for a caring, forward-thinking company, dedicated to looking after local communities. To learn more, please click here.
GRI Standards Under Review – They need you!
The Global Sustainability Standards Board (GSSB), the independent standard setting body of GRI, is launching a new survey to review the universal GRI standards.
The results of the survey will help GRI understand current reporting practices and challenges. It will include questions about the accordance criteria, reporting principles, management approach, general disclosures; as well as, the overall clarity and accessibility of the structure and presentation of the GRI standards.
The GSSB is looking for reporting organizations (that’s you!) as well as consultants and assurance providers to give their unique perspective in regards to how the GRI standards can be improved.
Please click here to learn more and to access the survey!
Are you a SDG Pioneer?
This year, the UN Global Compact is searching for SDG Pioneers, young professionals aged 35 and under that are committed to using community investment as a tool for advancing the SDGs.
Does this sound like you? Click here for more information and to submit your sustainability story!