Acting on our Ideals
Our Community Investment program is an important means through which we build and strengthen our relationship with key stakeholders and help the less fortunate in our society.
In 2008 we rolled out a three-year Community Investment Strategic Plan to address these matters. The Plan was designed to build strong relationships with not-for-profit organizations that will result in a positive change to the local quality of life. To this end, we focus on education and lifelong learning opportunities in the areas of civic investment, education, environment, and health and human services.
We invest in various ways — through direct financial support, by sharing resources and through the donation of gifts-in-kind. In doing so, we hope to enhance the self-sufficiency of communities for the long term. Such investment is a clear demonstration of our commitment to the principles of corporate responsibility and, more specifically, to the communities where we live and work.
The year began on a high note with TransCanada’s sponsorship of the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games. Our company was the Official Supplier in the Natural Gas Pipeline Operator category. This meant that our financial contribution supported the 2010 Winter Games, the Vancouver 2010 Paralympic Winter Games and Canadian Olympic teams. Not only was our participation a matter of national pride, but it was also a means of fostering business relationships and generating a sense of pride among our employees. In March, we were equally pleased to become the first sponsor of Oregon’s “Get a Vet to the Games”, a program dedicated to helping disabled U. S. veterans take inspiration from the athletes of the Vancouver 2010 Paralympic Winter Games. Our contribution of one-quarter of the needed funds made it possible for 30 veterans to travel to Vancouver.
As the Olympic examples shows, TransCanada often partners with other organizations to maximize the impact of our own contribution. We joined forces with Ducks Unlimited, Nature Canada, and Nature Conservancy Canada in their efforts to conserve and protect important habitats. Of particular note was our joint investment with Ducks Unlimited to conserve and protect and restore critical wetlands habitat at both ends of a key migratory flyway that extends from Louisiana’s Gulf Coastal Marshes to the Missouri Coteau in southern Saskatchewan. That flyway corresponds very closely to TransCanada’s energy infrastructure across the continent. We also embraced the opportunity to become a national sponsor of Nature Canada’s Canadian Important Bird Area Caretakers Network for the next five years. The Network does everything from survey bird populations to promote public awareness of the value of our wildlife. Contributions like these reflect our commitment to environmental stewardship.
In 2010, TransCanada was there to assist whenever natural disasters occurred. When an earthquake devastated Haiti in January, TransCanada called on its employees and retirees to contribute through our Matching Gift Program. Within just ten days, more than $34,000 in humanitarian relief had been raised; that amount soon nearly doubled. The Chilean earthquake that occurred in March, and Hurricane Karl in the Mexican State of Veracruz in October, drew a similar outpouring of concern and support from our employees.
Closer to home, our Community Investment program assisted the storm and flood victims in the U. S. states of Tennessee, Mississippi and Kentucky, on the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe reservation in South Dakota and on the Blood Reserve in southern Alberta. We provided everything from cash donations to emergency shelters and potable water supplies.
While TransCanada offers immediate support to people in such pressing circumstances, other stakeholders in need require a different form of commitment. For example, the Mexican communities of Jalisco and Colima, near our Guadalajara Pipeline Project, have benefitted from our investment of $50,000 that will be used to support agricultural development, municipal road improvement, garbage collection, community sports and cultural activities and student scholarship programs. Similarly, Arizona high school graduates who live near our Coolidge Generating Station are now the potential beneficiaries of the new $175,000 TransCanada Promise for the Future college scholarship endowment.
TransCanada received the Embracing United Way gold medal in recognition of five decades of involvement with that worthy cause. The award, from United Way of Calgary and Area, is given annually to a company whose record clearly shows that the spirit of United Way has become embedded in its corporate culture. We were equally proud when this year’s campaign at TransCanada garnered the support of 41 per cent of employees and raised an additional $2.4 million that supports 115 United Way campaigns across North America. And while we were extremely proud of our employees, we were not at all surprised — fully 70 per cent of them routinely volunteer in their communities, bringing their talents, resources and commitment to causes that truly make a difference to our world.