2020 Generosity of SpiritTM Awards

“We recognize that our success depends on the health and prosperity of our clients and employees, and of the communities in which they live and work. I have been humbled by seeing how charitable acts of kindness can truly make a meaningful difference in the lives of those who live in our communities and are in need of a hand up. It’s a real honour  for us to be able to support local causes through donations and volunteer efforts, and I’m proud of how our team has stepped up to give of themselves to help others. This is very much about living our purpose of helping clients thrive and communities prosper.”

Jeff Boyd, Regional President, Alberta & Territories, RBC

Nominated by Bow Valley College

As long-term supporters of Bow Valley College, over the past 23 years, RBC has generously committed over $1.15 million towards a wide range of college initiatives that have removed barriers for students, especially more vulnerable ones, preparing them to be job-ready at graduation. Thanks to their generosity, RBC Foundation has facilitated student support and programming related to entrepreneurship, diversity, and inclusion as well as health care and business programs. Through transformational gifts such as the RBC Business Accelerator Centre, Indigenous community programming, the Corporate Readiness Training Program, and student scholarships, RBC has provided Bow Valley College the ability to provide a work-integrated learning experience that prepares our students for their future careers.

As a result of RBC’s support, Bow Valley College has been able to transform the student learning experience, focusing on valuable employment skill development, so that more students can reach their educational and life goals, in many cases becoming more for financially stable and resilient to crisis.

In particular, RBC’s support of the 150 Startups program, through RBC Future Launch, is part of RBC’s national and long-term commitment to help young Canadians prepare for the future of work.  The community based entrepreneurship initiative is designed to increase the number of first-time entrepreneurs from Alberta’s post-secondary institutions.  As students face reducing employment prospects due to the fallout from the pandemic, now more than ever, the power of this partnership and the reach of this program are extremely important. Donors such as the RBC Foundation are opening the door for students to excel and create an opportunity of a lifetime.

In 2019, RBC contributed $142.2 million globally through cash donations and community investments, including support to reduce the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, and tailored supports for the creative community.  They raised $23.9 million for 4300+ charities across Canada through the annual Employee Giving Campaign.  They provided relief to charitable partners through critical support measures, including introducing funding flexibility to keep help keep operations running, as well as honouring commitments to ensure funding remained uninterrupted.

Year after year, RBC’s corporate responsibility program has had a far-reaching impact nationally and locally in areas of youth development (RBC Future Launch,  and RBC Race for the Kids), support for the Arts through the Emerging Artists Project (capacity building in visual arts, music, theatre, performance, literature, and film), as well as a focus on diversity and inclusion, sport (RBC Training Ground), and climate and sustainability through the RBC Climate Blueprint.

RBC businesses have committed $11.5M towards COVID-19 community response efforts for food security, mental well-being, and strategic preparedness and response. As an example, for International Women’s Day in May, RBC’s theme in 2020 was “Be The Hero,” – encouraging and inspiring people to share authentic stories and have real conversations about acts of courage and respect that foster inclusion every day. They have showcased some of these inspiring stories from the 2020 RBC International Women’s Day Speaker Contest, featuring colleagues who courageously stepped up to speak out for inclusion. They launched Random Acts of Canadian to recognize Canadians who are doing good during COVID (www.randomactsofcanadian.com) and provided “surprise and delight” gifts of $500 towards donations to a charity of the participant’s choice.

Additionally, RBC led Canada United, a campaign to support local businesses impacted by Covid-19. As part of the campaign, RBC brought together more than 50 of Canada’s leading brands, Business Associations, and the national Chamber network to rally Canadians to shop local. The Canada United movement, with the support of the Federal Government’s $12 million contribution, also raised more than $14 million for the Canada United Small Business Relief Fund. , Small businesses can receive grants of up to $5,000 to cover expenses related to personal protective equipment, renovations to accommodate re-opening guidelines and developing or improving ecommerce capabilities.

In Calgary, through their hospital gratitude program in partnership with the Calgary Health Trust, RBC handed out 2000 meal kits to front line workers at the Rockyview, South Health Campus, Foothills Hospital, Peter Lougheed Hospital, and the Richmond Road Diagnostic Centre. In addition, they provided 500 night-stays at Marriott hotels in Calgary for front line health care workers (those needing to self-isolate or just needing a good night’s sleep amid their COVID shifts).

RBC relaxed its funding guidelines to allow for more flexibility to charities experiencing challenges amid COVID. They also provided a significant donation to the Cultural Vitality Fund (via the Calgary Arts Foundation) to support struggling emerging artists (who have reported an 81% decline in performance opportunities) and launched the First Up with RBCXMusic platform to assist musicians impacted by COVID-19.

About Future Launch

Future Launch is the foundational program that speaks to RBC’s commitment to empowering Canadian youth for the jobs of tomorrow. Programming is built on bringing people together – to share stories, ideas and to learn from one another. Some examples of Future Launch in action include:

  • $500 million was dedicated to help young people access meaningful employment through practical work experience, skills development, networking and access to mental well-being supports and services.
  • In 2020, RBC committed $50 million in focused funding to create meaningful and transformative pathways to prosperity for up to 25,000 BIPOC youth by 2025, with investments in areas such as skills development and mentoring.
  • In response to the COVID-19 pandemic that upended the world of work as we know it, RBC Future Launch pivoted quickly, working with its partners to reimagine the programs and offerings delivered through  partnerships, and adapted to this new normal with virtual programming and resources.
RBC and RBC Foundation: Corporate Philanthropist
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