Helping hands and hearts
An essential part of our community investment is the remarkable commitment of our employees across the country who generously share their time, talents and expertise to volunteer and raise funds to benefit the communities we live in.
United Way Day of Caring volunteers
We encourage and support employee volunteerism through flexible working arrangements, team events and incentives, such as corporate matching of United Way contributions and casual day fundraising.
Last year, Empire Life employees donated more than 3,078 volunteer hours supporting groups, organizations and causes that are important to them and their communities.
Advisors help Empire Life make a difference in Hawaii
Thinking about our community is a big part of how we do business. Like many companies, we host a regular conference to provide education and recognition to our distribution partners. For the most recent event, in beautiful Honolulu, Hawaii, conference manager, Allison Barton, came up with the idea to provide attendees with the opportunity to help make a difference to the host community.
They decided on Next Step Shelter Kaka’ako, a United Way agency and transitional housing facility in Honolulu that provides a home for up to 300 people, one-third of whom are children.
We asked Empire Life employees across Canada to share their stories about how they make a difference in their community and display the “Spirit of Aloha.” Cynthia Ndayisaba, Governance and Compliance Analyst, had the winning entry and she was invited to accompany the conference team to Hawaii to coordinate the shelter project.
In the months leading up to the conference, employees helped raise $10,000 for the initiative. Using this money, Cynthia purchased necessities for the shelter, including toys, diapers, toiletries and books for the library. During the conference, more than 100 distribution partners and employees volunteered at the shelter to paint, inflate air mattresses, and set up a library and a toddler play area.
The feedback Allison, Cynthia and the team received about this initiative was outstanding. “The experience was very rewarding for all involved, and the people from the shelter really appreciated the work that went into the project,” said Allison. “They never imagined a life insurance company from Canada would care about them.”
Allison’s team plans to continue this tradition at the next advisor conference in South Beach, Florida in 2014.
Clockwise from top left: Donations waiting to be distributed; volunteer Lynda Guimond gives the thumbs up; Spirit of Aloha volunteer t-shirt; Janet Jackson; Kawika Au gives a traditional Hawaiian welcome; Cynthia Ndayisaba, Kimo Jenkins (Next Step shelter) and Les Herr ‘hangin’ loose’
Holiday fundraisers & events
During the holiday season in December, employees are particularly generous when it comes to helping out their fellow citizens.
One of our Toronto offices sponsors families of Juliette’s Place Homeward Family Shelter, which offers an emergency short-term shelter and support services for abused women and their children. Employees receive a list of families and their wish lists for the holidays. They do their best to make sure every item on the wish list is purchased, and volunteers deliver directly to the families.
Kingston employees hold casual Fridays in December, raising money for Partners in Mission Food Bank, St. Vincent de Paul Society, and Martha’s Table, and collect mittens and hats for the local Clothes for Kids campaign. Departmental activities this year included food drives and toy collections for the community’s annual Toy Drive, and over 30 employees packed Salvation Army Christmas hampers for families in need.
Our Investment Operations team sponsored a family of eight through the Salvation Army’s holiday hamper program. “During the holidays, you start to think about the people who don’t get to eat a turkey dinner and kids who don’t get anything,” said Amanda Smith, Service Representative. Part of the appeal of a hamper, she explained, was that the team could bring their personal touch. “It was just a good feeling to be able to do something like this and for such a large family.”
Corporate Accountability Report
Read our 2012 Corporate Accountability Report for stories and details on our community investment activities in 2012.