The CVC Foundation works tirelessly to raise funds in support of the invaluable projects and programs of CVC. Raising these funds is a daunting task. As has been proven through numerous research studies by StatsCan and Imagine Canada, raising funds for environmental projects is incredibly hard work.
Research indicates that while 98% of Canadians consider our natural environment to be critical to both our existence and well-being, only 3% of all charitable donations support environmental charitable organizations and only 1.3% of all donations made via CanadaHelps in 2014 were directed to environmental charities.
Imagine Canada's report on business contributions indicated that overall, the four types of charitable organizations that receive the most contributions from the private sector are health organizations, social service organizations, hospitals, and sports and recreation organizations. Contributions to charities concerned with the environment and animal habitat have a firm hold on last place.
The CVC Foundation has generally found that corporate contributions are shifting from traditional chequebook philanthropy to more strategic and results-driven efforts that align with corporate social responsibility objectives. The four most common types of private sector community investments that CVC Foundation receives are corporate grants, sponsorships, in-kind donations of goods, and support from employee volunteering programs.
Since corporate philanthropy comes in many forms, the experience of the CVC Foundation in engaging private sector partners and catalyzing private sector investment has proven successful using a continuum of engagement.
First, we have our corporate sponsors. These are the companies that underwrite our signature special events, such as R&M Construction, Sunshine Design & Construction, Scotiabank and Dufferin Aggregates. These companies play a critical role in ensuring the success of our events through a marketing agreement that provides them with a defined return on their investment.
Second, we have our corporate donors. These are the corporations that invest in and underwrite CVC programs through grants and cash donations. Our major supporters at this level include such companies as the RBC Foundation, TD Friends of the Environment, and Brookfield Homes. Their history of giving to the CVC Foundation demonstrates their long-term commitment to helping achieve shared objectives.
Third, we have our Credit River guardians program, which recognizes corporations and businesses that have made a multi-year commitment to helping achieve CVC goals. It’s about more than money; it’s about companies getting involved, committing to finding ways to improve, and inspiring others to think about what our natural environment will look like for future generations. Enersource Corporation is the founding Credit River guardian. In addition to generous multi-year financial contributions to CVC programs, it is also recognized for donating trees to restore the Mississauga tree canopy after the ice storm, for investing in the CVC Foundation endowment fund to ensure healthy, protected green spaces for present and future generations, and for enabling and investing hundreds of employee volunteer hours to help CVC plant trees, build wildlife habitat, conduct fishing surveys, and remove invasive species from our conservation areas.
UPS is another Credit River guardian that demonstrates its commitment through generous six-figure financial contributions and through significant employee volunteer commitments. Since 2011, 405 UPS employees have helped CVC restore natural spaces and have personally planted more than 4,500 trees.
Our success in cultivating private sector partnerships can be attributed to our understanding that contributions to charities are used as a way to build a company’s brand and reputation among consumers. Companies know that they benefit and prosper from healthy communities and that supporting charities is a direct investment in building strong communities. And finally, many businesses recognize that their success depends on how accepted and valued they are by the communities in which they operate. Support for local charities can help them build social capital, social licence, and support among citizens and governments.
Although the community investment practices of Canadian businesses are quite diverse, our experience indicates that they generally tend to be more reactive than proactive. Companies tend to respond to requests from community organizations rather than to proactively seek organizations that are aligned with their strategic interests. Further, despite the large scope of and significant resources managed by corporate community investment programs, the staffing levels for these programs are modest and most operate with one or fewer full-time staff persons.
Moving forward, the CVC Foundation aims to expand private sector investment and commitment to environmental solutions across CVC's focal areas and signature programs. Our desire is to deepen relationships with the corporations that already support us and to cultivate new and mutually beneficial relationships.
I will now turn it back to Mike to provide further insight and recommendations.