Western Communities Foundation impacts where we live and work
Laurette LaPlante, Managing Director of Western Communities Foundation, discusses the $5-million milestone of giving that the Western Communities Foundation has achieved.
I’m Western Financial Group’s Managing Director of the Western Communities Foundation and I am based in the High River head office. I have just celebrated my 10 years with Western and have been Managing Director for the last six. With over 40 years of volunteering experience with conservation organizations, I gravitated to the Foundation and its mission.
Q: How do you feel about hitting the $5-million milestone?
A: It is overwhelming to have support from our employees, donors and sponsors that allows us to have such an impact in the communities where we live and do business. To be able to help those in need is the best accomplishment of all.
Being able to celebrate the $5-million dollar milestone is astonishing because of the people and donors of this organization and the value and loyalty, which are all part of our company’s incredible guiding principles.
I am honored and humbled by the opportunity to facilitate the process of getting the dollars into the hands of those most in need identified by our people, and to lead the Foundation through these challenging years.
Q: What does that tell you about Western’s commitment to its communities?
A: Western, which includes all employees, is truly an altruistic organization and the people who work there and the companies they work with all align to this belief, which aligns to our guiding principles.
Q: Could you explain the donation process and how it works?
A: Every year our employees within the communities we do business with raise funds for a cause within their community that is important to them.
Those funds are then topped by contributions from Western and its sponsors. These funds are given back through the programs that support different initiatives across the company.
Q: How do the donations specifically help communities? Are their designated areas where the donations are used?
A: Donations raised by employees are donated specifically to charities or municipal projects chosen by the employees. These funds are topped up by the contributions of Western and our Sponsors. As long as the charity is registered with the CRA they qualify, The Foundation or Western does not decide on behalf of the employees. It is truly a grassroots giving model.
Q: Does the Foundation have partners in the communities?
A: It is not so much the Foundation, but our business and employees that develop the partnerships within the communities. The Foundation is merely the facilitator.
Q: How does the Foundation support young people and how does it support Indigenous peoples?
A: One of our programs is the Western Inspirational Award. We average 125 awards each year in which 10 are specifically for Indigenous students. These awards are not academic but character awards to recognize students who have made a difference in their school or community or have persevered through challenging situations. We also provide a $5,000 infrastructure grant for Indigenous communities, again, chosen by our employees.
Western Financial Group founded the non-profit Western Communities Foundation in 2001 as a registered charity. Our mission is to have a positive impact on the people and pride within the communities where employees of Western Financial Group and its divisions live and work.