Saskatchewan Mining Week: Philanthropy at work
- Andrea Ledding | May 26, 2019
K+S, BHP Billiton, Nutrien, and Mosaic outlined some of their favourite corporate philanthropy projects for us.
“From the beginning of the project we’ve been supportive of First Nation and Métis events especially in Treaty 4 territory,” noted Terry Bird, Manager of Indigenous Affairs at K+S. “The youth is a big part of our development, along with sport, culture, community and economic development and cultural events.”
Some favourite K+S events include pow-wows and large tournaments bringing communities together, along with First Nations University and University of Regina scholarships, particularly in the sciences and math potentially leading to mining career opportunities. K+S has put over $1.5 million into community investment in the seven years they’ve been operating.
“I think the big one for us is Stars Air Ambulance, we’re an annual contributor and have been since 2012,” said Kenneth Smith, Manager Corporate Affairs, Potash of BHP Billiton. “We also make a number of investments with some of our First Nations partners — ranging in everything from local programming to housing, we recently completed a housing project and low-pressure water project with the Day Star First Nation.”
Other BHP favourites include the Saskatoon Enchanted Forest Light Tour sponsorship and overall, three major areas — health and wellness and quality of life in communities, education and training, and social inclusion — working to identify and remove any gaps prohibiting groups such as Indigenous people from participating in the economy. Over the last seven years, more than $20 million has been contributed to the province on various initiatives and Smith said he’s looking forward to working with nonprofits and community organizations to improve the quality of life for everyone in Saskatchewan.
Lisa Mooney, Senior Advisor on Strategic Initiatives at Nutrien, notes that Nutrien gave over $1 million in 2018 alone to programs, services, education, training, research and advocacy measures to close the gaps Aboriginal people face, especially in education and employment. Nutrien are title sponsors of many events, including Wicihitowin Conference for the past four years, which has been committed to for another four years.
“When we’re looking for community investment, we look for partners who share values and have the same vision of improving quality of life for Aboriginal individuals, families and communities,” said Mooney, as well as focusing on reconciliation not only with their corporation but with their supply chain and the community at large. “The backpack event and back-to-school carnival at White Buffalo is another example.” Mooney adds that she’s always been taught reconciliation has to be in the heart, head, and hands, an approach Nutrien believes in.
At Mosaic, Public Affairs Manager Tyler Hopson said his company is committed to giving back to the communities surrounding their operations to the tune of approximately $5 million annually.
“In 2018 we made a commitment to give 15% of our community investment dollars to Indigenous communities and organizations,” said Hopson, adding this is an annual commitment they’re proud of. Mosaic core focus areas are food and hunger insecurity issues, water conservation and stewardship, and local community partnerships that strengthen and enrich. “In 2018, we supported over 35 Indigenous and Métis projects in Saskatchewan.”
Some Mosaic highlights include the Ochapowace Industrial Arts Lab at Kakisiwew School on-reserve, to open in Fall 2019, and the Keeseekoose Charter Bus purchase to transport residents to and from the community from student trips, to adults attending workshops, to carpenters for supply purchasing, to social assistance clients for holiday shopping.