We have all heard about the great and generous programs like Canadian Tire’s Jump Start, Tim Horton’s Camp Day and Timbits Hockey, or McDonald’s Ronald McDonald House, but for the next two days of this “Kindness Countdown” I would like to highlight the generous endeavours and contributions of our own corporate community. Today I will focus on a couple of the big ones, and tomorrow, I will share some profiles of smaller business entrepreneurs and their selfless ways of giving.
When Francis H. Clergue harnessed the energy of the St. Mary’s River rapids to power a new steel making mill, Algoma Steel, in 1901, he set this course for this town for the next 100 years. We had become a ‘Steel Town’.
Algoma Steel has always been the largest employer in town, and even in the pandemic, Algoma Steel is as strong as ever, posting good profits, and keeping 3,000 workers employed.
Being a good corporate citizen has not escaped the vision of management at Algoma Steel, and time and time again, our leading employer shows us that it cares for this town, and it cares for its people. Listed below are just a few of the ways Algoma has recently lent a helping hand.
Algoma has been committed to supporting healthy and active living in our community and has always sponsored programs in skating, skiing and healthy living. Algoma Steel announced that it was supporting the Soo Pee Wee Hockey League and the Sault Female Hockey Association with a multi-year investment program totalling $100,000 to help offset costs for families and kids.
Algoma Steel is vital to our United Way Campaign and raised a total of $127 000 to help with the multitude of programs offered by them in our town. They have been very generous to St. Vincent Place with a donation of $10 000 to help them with their Lunches For Learning program.
In education, Algoma gifted $100,000 to Sault College for their Mechatronics program to support the education and development of students pursuing careers in steel and other primary industries.
And how can we not forget that it is Algoma that makes skating during the holidays possible, as they team up with the City of Sault Ste. Marie to provide families with all those free holiday skate days.
Algoma partnered with Village Media and GFL to host a Community BBQ whereby they surprised a neighbourhood with lunch and a truckload of useful gifts.
During these pandemic times, Algoma stepped up to sponsor several COVID Vaccination Clinics and showed their appreciation for health care workers on the front line by providing lunch for them.
And once again this holiday season, the massive Christmas Star will shine over our city, as Algoma Steel is partnering with Steel Speed (another good Sault company) to make sure this tradition continues to shine high and bright during the festive season.
Toy drives for Christmas Cheer, helping the Soo Finnish Ski Club with steel construction materials needed for their trails, providing meals where needed, I am just scratching the surface here. Our major employer has proven that they are willing to engage in very large giving contributions, and they are willing to help out the smaller charitable endeavours too. Algoma Steel gives because they recognize that the vitality and well being of their ‘Steel Town’ is just good for everyone.
Green For Life Environmental is another corporate citizen that has shown that they care about their community.
Sault kid and CEO, Pat Dovigi, has grown GFL, in just 11 years, into a major North American Waste Management company. His business success story is a good news story on its own merit, but it is his company’s commitment to their communities that they work in that make them worthy of a Community Kindness profile.
And what we have to remember here is that what GFL is giving here in Sault Ste. Marie, would be the kinds of things they are similarly doing in all of the towns and communities across North America that they provide waste management services in.
One of the first things you might notice in our town, is that our Sports and Entertainment Centre is named the GFL Memorial Gardens. That is a $75,000 ten year naming rights commitment by GFL. Considering that CEO, Pat Dovigi, was an exceptional goalie in the game of hockey, it makes sense that he gives back to a game he loves.
There is so much more to the generosity shown by this company to its town. Recently GFL made a $20,000 donation to our Sault Area Hospital Foundation, they have given generously to St. Vincent Place to help with their support programs, and they have made a major donation to the Arch Christmas Tree Illuminate the Season campaign.
Over at the Soup Kitchen, GFL has sponsored Feed the Homeless Christmas dinners, and they have teamed up with SooToday/Village Media to make major donations to the Random Acts of Kindness program run each Christmas season.
Writing cheques for community causes is GFL’s way of being. $1000 to the Royal Canadian Army Cadets, $10,000 to the Northside Auto Group Charity Golf Tournament in support of the Canadian Cancer Society, $6000 for a neighbourhood barbeque and gift giving event, $10,000 to sponsor our Under 11 Jr. Greyhounds. The list of financial giving is very long.
This is the way in which GFL and Algoma Steel can give and can help. They both feel compelled to provide the financial resources needed for so many of our town’s incredible charitable activities.
And so it is that as we get closer to that big day in December, we are thankful for, and grateful to some of the larger corporate citizens in our midst. Algoma Steel, and Green For Life Environmental fit the bill quite nicely, They don’t talk the talk, but rather, they walk the walk, when it comes to stepping up and helping their community.
May the management and staff of both Algoma Steel, and GFL have a wonderful and joyous Christmas season.
Thank you for your generosity.
Frank O’Connor and his wife Gail are the owners and operators of Voyageur Lodge and Cookhouse in Batchawana Bay. He’s writing a profile a day leading up to Dec. 24, featuring people who have given back to their community in a positive way through their good deeds and work.