Community engagement

During FY15, we continued to focus on helping to engage our people in meaningful community experiences that build capabilities, all the while looking for new ways to deepen strategic relationships across the public, private and not-for-profit sectors. We also embedded several community-based key performance indicators in our national business plan to help expedite our progress.

A key focus for us was connecting worldwide megatrends to existing issues faced by the not-for-profit sector. Another key focus was looking for new ways to inspire the use of digital tools, round-table discussions and communication platforms to help empower community leaders to engage in conversations about building longer term organizational sustainability.

We did make some course corrections, including moving towards standardized global reporting criteria to help push our strategy forward here in Canada and around the PwC network. We also chose to press pause on creating a Canadian-made Theory of Change for our charitable endeavours to reduce complexity and enhance consistency. Instead, PwC Canada was at the forefront of working with our global counterparts to create a global community initiative to enhance our global impacts.

Over the next year, we plan to continue building on key relationships with organizations like Imagine Canada, Philanthropic Foundations of Canada and the Community Foundations of Canada and participate in leading capacity-building practices to help create a stronger, more vibrant charitable sector. We’ll continue to develop key components of the global community initiative with the goal of creating collaborative programs and enhanced reporting and impact measurement.

The PwC Canada Foundation was created in 2004 to help enhance and expand the firm’s philanthropic activities. The mission of the foundation is to make a positive, lasting change on our communities through the sharing of our time, expertise and resources. To find out more about our foundation make sure to visit foundation.

Making a difference through volunteering

During FY15, 2,586 of our people participated in 373 firm-led team volunteer initiatives, contributing 19,395 total volunteer hours to the community. These results have increased year over year because of our work integrating several volunteer-based key performance indicators into our business plan, creating tactics and leading indicators owned by our business leaders to help drive results—mainly maintain a participation rate of almost 40% of our firm’s population.

We also integrated volunteering events with our clients into the mix. We looked for ways to deepen our shared values through community engagement, while simultaneously helping people across all organizations build relationships and learn leadership skills through making a difference.

Enhancing our skills-based volunteering experiences—a key interest for our employees— continues to be a priority for us. As part of this focus, 37% of our volunteer experiences in FY15 were skills based.

Some examples of how our people shared their skills included mentoring youth in financial literacy and coaching executive teams at not-for-profit organizations on strategic planning processes. The decrease in skilled volunteering as compared to last year is due to the reclassification of the definition of skilled volunteering to better align with our global community initiative and global network. In FY16, we’ll continue to evolve the definition of what constitutes as ‘skilled volunteering’ and report on our findings.

As part of our efforts to continue to embed CR in our national business plan, FY15 marked the second year of the full integration of a Communities category into our CEO awards program— our firm’s highest honour awarded to employees who and are making a difference to the success of our clients, our people and our communities. We received 30 nominations in FY15, a result that continues to be consistent year over year.

Our FY15 Communities category winner was Owen Chung, a consultant in our Calgary office. Owen brings his passion and professional skills to each of his community engagements, building an extensive network and delivering on-the-ground impact. Whether he’s planning a cook-off for United Way, sitting on the board of Calgary’s Propellus or advising the mayor of Calgary how to engage people in his campaign, Owen continuously grows his capabilities so he can give back to the community to the best of his ability. We’re proud of how Owen is making a difference.

By being engaged in the community while working at PwC, I had the opportunity to apply my business acumen in both corporate and non-corporate environments, helping different organizations achieve their ambitions. As a result, I not only had the chance to give back to society, but also developed a stronger, more versatile, consulting skill set as a PwC professional.

— Owen Chung, Sr. Associate

In addition to our Communities CEO Award, we also provided 128 volunteer grants of $300 each, for a total of $38,400. These grants were provided to support charities that our people volunteer their personal time at. The number of volunteer grants decreased by 11% in FY15 compared to FY14, when 144 grants were provided. While we continue to encourage our staff to apply for volunteer grants, we have seen fluctuations in applicant numbers. Therefore, as part of our stakeholder engagement efforts in FY16, we’ll continue to seek feedback regarding the volunteer grants program so that we can evaluate how to improve and extend its impact.

Strengthening not-for-profit board governance

Providing our people and community stakeholders with training and development opportunities related to not-for-profit board governance remained a top priority for us during FY15. We delivered training to 129 of our people through 20 sessions related to the duties and responsibilities of a not-for-profit board director and the role of a not-for-profit board treasurer. During FY16, to promote continuous improvement, we’ll be updating our materials to adapt to new leading governance practices.

In FY15, 504 of our employees from across Canada served on boards for not-for-profits or registered charitable organizations or were members of related board committees.

Together, they held a total of 718 directorships (including individuals who held multiple postings).

The number of our people sitting on these types of boards increased from FY14, when 451 individuals held directorships. Results are based on each individual’s unique experiences and commitment to the boards they’re on. This increase can also be attributed to our continued dedication to a board match program in collaboration with Altruvest Charitable Services that helps our staff to be matched to board positions more efficiently.

Making a difference when the unexpected happens

During FY15, we hosted the Canadian Forum on Cross-Sector Collaboration in Humanitarian Crises—a think tank session led by the Humanitarian Coalition and in collaboration with the Conference Board of Canada.

The forum brought together public, private and not-for-profit leadership teams to discuss topics ranging from disaster risk management, the cultivation of longer term cross-sector partnerships and new approaches to disaster preparedness planning.

The conversation was timely, happening just days after the devastating earthquake in Nepal, and provided an important platform to share information about immediate and longer term needs.

Sharing our expertise to be catalysts for change

During FY15 we focused on using our skills, voices and relationships to help fund, convene and participate in round-table conversations related to megatrends and system level change required to strengthen the capabilities of not-for-profits to help create a stronger, more vibrant community marketplace.We call this capacity building.

Focusing philanthropic initiatives on capacity building

In FY15, we worked with our international PwC network CR teams to develop the foundation of a global community initiative that continues to strengthen our capacity-building work— on a global scale. Included in this work was the launch of a pilot impact measurement framework. In FY16, we’ll continue to build on this work and develop a communication strategy for reporting results, with goals of increasing the network’s positive impact on society, driving alignment to the global CR strategy and accelerating progress.

To further strengthen capacity building in the not-for-profit sector, during FY15, we awarded a total of $275,000 in leadership grants to 63 registered charities across Canada to support leadership and professional development activities—an increase of $50,000 from the previous year. The Leadership Grant program is a PwC Canada Foundation initiative that is offered once each year by way of a request-for-proposal (RFP) process. In FY15, our foundation received a total of 289 applications. This was a decrease from 336 in FY14.

Our focus in FY15 was to coach potential grantees about the qualification process and structure of the grants before they applied to reduce the number of organizations whose activities do not align with the requirements. This was done in an effort to respect organizations’ resource capacities and time spent on ineligible grant applications.

Supporting the United Way

In FY15, our employees raised a total of $1,879,000 across Canada for the United Way, a result that continues to be consistent year over year. These funds were directed to the United Way Community, which supports strategies to help improve the social conditions in towns and cities across Canada by taking a systematic approach to addressing the root causes of social problems. During FY15, our Corporate Responsibility Leader also finished a term advising the United Way of Canada’s Shared Services Advisory Group to help the United Way movement identify collaborative organizational structures to enhance their combined effectiveness. During FY16, we’ll look for additional ways to work alongside the United Way of Canada in areas outlined within its strategic plan.

In total, we provided $2,674,000 in charitable donations and sponsorships to community organizations across Canada—a 10% increase compared to FY14.