PwC has been working with community stakeholders to find out how we can achieve greater social impacts through our business operations.


During FY2013, we moved into year three of our five-year strategic plan. We continued to implement plans and initiatives focused on using our skills, voice and relationships to work with others and to influence and create tangible change to help make communities better. We focused our efforts in four key areas:


Heather Burnett shares how her non-profit benefitted from PwC’s leadership grant initiative.

  • engage PwC employees in meaningful community experiences that help build capabilities
  • develop strategic relationships across sectors (public, private, government, not-for-profit)
  • demonstrate how we are a responsible business
  • share our community journey

We deepened our employees’ understanding of issues related to the not-for-profit sector through our Volunteer Continuum, the strategy that helps guide our work in the community. For example, we enhanced our not-for-profit board training program and launched a new board match initiative and also increased our proportion of skills-based volunteer experiences within our team volunteering program.

We were also able to illustrate new socio-economic impacts related to multi-stakeholder roundtables through the Innoweave project cited within this section of the document, and made headway into the integration of ‘communities’ thinking into our Canadian business strategy and vision statement: To make a difference to the success of our clients, people and communities. We are proud to have won an Excellence in Corporate Responsibility Award from Green Living EnterprisesTM for thought leadership with our roundtable approach. That said, we still have more to do. During FY2012 we set a goal to complete a Theory of Change process to help refine our output, outcome and impact measurements related to our community efforts. We put the project on hold until FY2014 to ensure our work is in alignment with other PwC firms from across our global network.

Making a difference through volunteering

During FY2013, 2,297 staff and partners participated in 313 firm-led team volunteer initiatives, contributing 17,200 total volunteer hours back to the community. These results were consistent year over year and represented an employee engagement rate of approximately 40% of the total firm’s population.

We used our Volunteer Continuum to help deepen and expand the ways our volunteer programs enhance employee leadership skills while simultaneously maximizing their level of commitment and effectiveness within the charitable sector. We formalized a definition for skills-based volunteering across our global PwC network: Skilled volunteering involves the use of an individual’s professional skills but in an informal way that does not involve the delivery of a service for which the firm is liable. This could include but is not limited to mentorship, coaching or financial literacy training. We increased the number of skills-based volunteer experiences from 46 in FY2012 to 89 in FY2013. Our goal for FY2014 is that 40% of total volunteer experiences be skills-based.

A key priority during FY2013 was to understand how we could strengthen our back-end reporting systems. New program innovations including customized team volunteer experiences and half-day experiences may have a material impact on how we report on our total volunteer hours during FY2014. We plan on reporting back on the processes we use to strengthen our internal controls.

In FY2013 we transformed our National Volunteer of the Year Awards by integrating it within our National CEO Awards as a new ‘Communities’ category. This was an important step forward to help integrate this form of recognition into our business strategy. We re-framed the award by taking on a broad view of what the word ‘communities’ could mean, including the ways people could make a difference through volunteering or using their skills, voice or relationships to help create a shared value between business and society. A total of 33 PwC employees were nominated for a Communities CEO Award during its first year.

In addition, our firm was able to provide 131 volunteer grants to employees who each received $300 awards for the not-for-profits where they volunteered in recognition of their outstanding commitment to the community. These results were down slightly (FY2012: 145), reinforcing feedback from our employees about the time commitment needed to complete the grant application. During FY2013 we worked to simplify the application process.

These results have increased significantly from FY2012 (238 individuals totaling 397directorships). Results are based on each individual’s unique commitments with the boards they serve; however, this increase can also be attributed to a new board match program initiated in early FY2013 in collaboration with Altruvest Charitable Services to help match PwC employees with community boards. During FY2013 the firm made a public commitment to help match 200 new employees with community boards over the next three years. We will report back on our progress next year and continue to build on our momentum.

Sharing our expertise to be catalysts for change

In FY2013, we strengthened key relationships with the HR Council for the Nonprofit Sector (HR Council), Imagine Canada and the Community Foundations of Canada (CFC) to help take action on key priorities identified at the 2012 National Summit for the Charitable and Nonprofit Sectors. Our work was focused in two key areas related to system level change: strengthening human resources support and enhancing the public’s understanding of the not-for-profit sector and its impacts.

Building on our work in FY2012, PwC hosted a series of round tables in FY2013 to bring together key corporate, private foundation and public sector funders to discuss how to successfully steward the HR Council’s intellectual capital in light of the changes to government funding. Through PwC’s leadership and support, this stakeholder engagement process wrapped up in October 2012. Following this work and in conjunction with other activities, the HR Council chose to close and to transfer its assets to CFC. In April 2013, CFC took on safeguarding the work and announced a visioning exercise to determine the work moving forward and the development of a shared leadership platform to support it. PwC will play a key role in this process throughout FY2014.

Our philanthropic initiatives focused on capacity building

PwC awarded a total of $200,000 in grants to 48 registered charities across Canada in support of leadership and professional development in FY2013. The Leadership Grants program is a PwC Canada Foundation initiative and is completed through a request for proposal once each year. We received a total of 204 applications—down from 387 in FY2012. This was a planned reduction based on feedback from stakeholders highlighting the need to increase our grant to application ratio. This ratio was 13% in FY2012 and has increased to 22% in FY2013. Results were achieved by spending more time with potential applicants prior to submission to better manage expectations and the determination of potential fit. This saved applicants time, money and provided important coaching on grant application development.

We also provided a total of $100,000 in grants to registered charities whose work focuses on strengthening organizational effectiveness and dialogues across sectors. We call this capacity building and it’s a core component of our work. An example of this kind of support includes Imagine Canada, the country’s national voice for the charitable and not-for-profit community. Our contributions in FY2013 included funding for the new Chief Economist for the charitable and not-for-profit sectors, and strengthening connectivity between our PwC Economics Practice through volunteer and advisory support. A goal for FY2014 includes looking for ways we can align our thought leadership and research to complement the Chief Economist’s work.

All combined, PwC contributed a total of $1,998,000 in charitable donations and sponsorships to community organizations across Canada.

In FY2013, our employees raised a total of $2,128,000 for United Ways across Canada, a slight decline from $2,200,000 in FY2012. These funds were directed to the United Way Community Funds, which support 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 FY2013, our Corporate Responsibility Director joined the United Way of Canada’s Shared Services Advisory Group to help the United Way movement look at collaborative organizational structures to enhance their combined effectiveness. Impacts of this work will be reported in FY2014.