Corporately and around the world, Vermilion focuses our strategic approach on long-term investments that make a measurable and significant difference for our communities. Wherever possible, our partnerships go beyond funding to include staff time and other support for the organizations. This is reflected in the partnership matrix that we have developed that provides a consistent framework to assess potential projects. The matrix also includes alignment with one or more of our key pillars, sound organizational governance, long-term impact, benefits to stakeholders, potential for multi-sector collaboration, volunteering opportunities, capacity building potential, and measurability.
Here are some of our key flagship partnerships:
Nothing is more important to Vermilion than the safety of our staff, our contractors and our communities. The Global Emergency Responder Program supports this commitment by investing in emergency response organizations that serve the communities where we work and live. Our donations will help fund equipment and other high-priority needs for these non-profit and charitable organizations, which are dedicated to keeping our communities and our people safe. These include the following organizations – we are grateful for their service each and every day.
As an energy company, we have a responsibility to the wider community to support the health of our environments – it's why we selected Environmental Stewardship as one of four funding areas within Ways of Caring, our community investment program. It's also why we chose that pillar to establish Vermilion's second global community investment program. Through this program, our donations will help protect the ecosystems and biodiversity that are important to the communities around our operational areas.
Over the last three years, more than 90 individual families have participate in the program. In 2019, 29 families, over 109 family members, received the help they needed through the program offered at the Vermilion Energy Family Centre. Of family members surveyed after treatment, 94% said that they experienced a decrease in the need and use of additional mental health services and engagement as a family with Children's Services, a major goal of the program. Most families shared that they now have a better understanding of child development and well-being and felt that the family relationships had improved. and many families shared that they had a better knowledge of community services and how to access them to better support their family.
In June 2015, Wood's Homes opened the doors of the Vermilion Energy Family Centre and their Whole Family Treatment Program, following a $1 million investment in 2013. This intensive, short-term program serves families from across Canada who are struggling with complex issues including mental illness, crisis management, parenting strategies and child development. It offers a home-away-from-home where the entire family can receive mental health treatment at the same time and under the same roof.
Here, Wood’s Homes focuses on the five primary areas of family interaction: developing child well-being, increasing family safety, enhancing home environment, strengthening parenting capabilities and improving family interactions. Each family member is professionally assessed and receives individualized treatment during their stay of either five days or over a weekend. Wood’s Homes also provides support post-treatment to help maintain goals and to help families incorporate newfound strategies into their everyday life.
We are proud of the groundbreaking role that the Vermilion Energy Family Centre is helping to play in delivering family-centred treatment.
In 2019 we made an additional 3-year commitment to support the LEAD Program, an employment training program that provides vulnerable youth with the opportunity to gain valuable skills that will assist them in both their work and home life. Vermilion is pleased to be continuing our support subsequent to the completion of our initial flagship funding. In 2020, we were proud to share the reasons behind our support of Wood's Homes, via their annual donor report (pages 6 and 7 here).
Camp fYrefly moved online in 2020, delivering workshops and activities that balanced different types of programs, from art to health to education, and prioritizing community building and relationships to ensure campers could be supported. Aura's housing support program during COVID-19 also required many adjustments, focused on providing safe environments and a sense of belonging for the young people it serves.
At Vermilion, Respect is one of our core values. We actively support the right of all those who work with us to have a workplace that is free of discrimination and harassment, including on the basis of sexual orientation. Extending this spirt of respect to our community investment partnerships is important to us, and we were pleased to make a three-year funding commitment to support the Aura Program and Camp fYrefly in the important work they do in our communities.
Aura is a Trellis (Boys & Girls Club) program that provides support and housing to youth aged 14 to 24 who identify as LGBT+ and are currently experiencing homelessness or are at risk of homelessness. Camp fYrefly is a summer camp and leadership retreat designed to help LGBT+ youth grappling with finding their true identity build confidence and resilience.
Vermilion began its partnership with the YW of Calgary in 2007 when we provided a $2.5 million donation, along with $1.5 million raised by Vermilion's founders, board of directors and staff, to create the Vermilion Energy/YWCA Calgary Skills Training Centre. In 2013, recognizing the changing economic and employment climate in Calgary and a critical need to serve greater numbers of women, the Skills Training Centre transitioned to become the Employment Resource Centre. While our formal partnership has now concluded, we are proud of the significant impact this partnership has had on our community, and the foundation we helped establish for employment resourcing.
We are proud of the role we played in establishing the YW of Calgary Employment Resource Centre (ERC), which serves a diversity of women from different cultural backgrounds, a variety of career streams and a full assortment of education and training needs. Its intentions are:
Poverty affects 1 in 10 Calgarians directly, and all of us indirectly. Across demographic groups – such as indigenous peoples, visible minorities, people with disabilities, single parents and recent immigrants – women experience higher rates of poverty than men. Annually, the YW supports on average more than 6,700 women, children and men through shelter, housing, counselling, basic need items, parenting supports, childcare, language and employment skills development programs and services.
Vermilion began a partnership with the Calgary Zoo for the 2014/2015 school year, providing a donation to support the Vermilion Energy Empty Backpack Program. Through this program we are helping to ensure that learning opportunities which are so vital to a well-rounded education and critical to our future are available to all Calgary's school children, regardless of financial or family circumstance.
The Vermilion Energy Empty Backpack Program aligns with two of our community investment priority areas: homelessness & poverty and environmental stewardship. Through hands-on activities and up close and personal encounters with animals, the Calgary Zoo is connecting audiences of all ages with nature and inspiring actions for wildlife conservation.
Starting in the 2019-/2020 school year, Vermilion increased our financial commitment, delivering more programs and increasing the number of classes that can be welcomed to the zoo and its conservation-oriented education program. We continued this support through 2020-2021 as the Calgary Zoo adapted to the pandemic by offering virtual programming for schools such as Penguin Virtual Safaris and other enrichment and special program videos.
STARS Air Ambulance (Global Emergency Responder Program Partner)
Every day, STARS takes care of some of the sickest and most critically-injured patients in Western Canada. This translates to thousands of people every year who rely on STARS to get them to hospitals safely, where they can access the advanced care they need. STARS is already an operational partner for CBU, as their dispatch centre manages our Emergency Call Centre.
Supporting both the Hopkins Nature Destination in Alberta and the Hole in the Wall property in Saskatchewan, Vermilion will help protect and restore vital natural habitat and provide opportunities for Canadians to get outdoors and explore these amazing ecosystems.
Since 2012, Vermilion has committed financial and volunteer support to our V-Powered Kids partnership with the Town of Drayton Valley's Early Childhood Development Centre (ECDC). The program supports the critical before-school hours with a staff member, breakfast that the kids help prepare, and transport to school, along with additional recreational programming for families after school and in evenings. In 2013, our funding also began supporting an Early Childhood Coach to assist everyone in a child's environment, from families to childcare staff.
Quality early childhood development programming has been cited as a key component of effective poverty reduction strategies. The Drayton Valley ECDC serves a number of low-income and at-risk families, and our support has enabled families to take part in programming that they would likely not be able to afford otherwise.
In addition, our partnership has developed over the years to include building a natural fence around the playground, hosting pancake breakfasts for the community, and funding recreational activities such as Zumba. The town of Drayton Valley recognized this combination of support from staff and the company when they presented the annual Corporate Service Award to Vermilion in 2013, recognizing community members that have dedicated themselves to making a difference to this central Alberta town.
"When you support children, the difference you can make is just exponential," says Bernice Taylor, the Centre’s Program Manager. "This is a child who walks through the school doors and is able to learn, a child who feels like they belong, a child who's not in the child justice system. It's empowerment – I think we empower the children here to be very confident, to say 'I can be anything.' "
We believe that for a city to be great, it has to be great for everyone. At the same time, no single organization can tackle systemic issues such as poverty, school completion and isolation in the community alone. United Way brings together all areas of community – business, government, academia, school boards and others – to address social issues at the root cause and to develop long-term strategies to solve them.
That’s why Vermilion has been contributing to United Way since 1996 and organizing an annual United Way workplace campaign since 1998. United Way recognized our efforts with a 2020 Community Impact Workplace Excellence Award and a 2013 Spirits of Gold award in the category of Leading the Way (under 500 employees). Spirits of Gold is United Way's recognition gala, celebrating the spirit and generosity of the people, agencies and workplaces that displayed outstanding leadership and dedication during United Way's annual Campaign. United Way also recognized our 2015 workplace campaign’s backpack mountain as one of its “Top 5 Campaign Moments” – our staff filled some 200 backpacks for Inn from the Cold, a local charity that focuses on supporting families that are homeless.
Since 1996, Vermilion has contributed nearly $4.4 million to support local non-profit organizations and social programs through the United Way.
Our 2020 campaign was held almost 100% virtually, recognizing that the majority of our staff were working remotely – yet still raised over $160K, with more than 70% staff participation through pledging, events and contests. We are proud of this achievement, particularly its impact on the community. This donation will provide more than 65 Calgarians access to basic needs, including food and shelter, ensure more than 45 children and youth are empowered and successfully transition to adulthood, or connect more than 130 Calgarians to necessary resources to support their wellbeing.
Vermilion set up the Charles W. Berard Undergraduate Scholarship in Natural Resources and Environmental Law in 2009 to pay tribute to the life, work and memory of Charlie Berard, a dear friend to many at Vermilion, and our corporate secretary from 1997-2009. Each year, a scholarship of approximately $5,000 is awarded to a continuing undergraduate student entering third year in the Faculty of Law at the University of Calgary with a demonstrated interest in Natural Resources & Environmental Law. A key part of the criteria is a candidate who best demonstrates leadership and support to the community, and alignment to Vermilion's core values of Excellence, Trust, Respect and Responsibility.
Since 2009, Vermilion has supported St. Bartholomew's House in Perth, an organization that helps people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness achieve positive life outcomes. It offers a variety of crisis and transitional programs to help people build the connections, skills and confidence to live productive, independent lives in the community and break the cycle of homelessness. Through St. Bart’s, Vermilion's funding invests in essential facilities and services that will help transform the lives of some of the city's most vulnerable people. Our contributions support the Lime Street social housing facility and a social inclusion officer for older women at the Kensington Street Accommodation Service, who coordinates activities and outings that positively contribute to the health and wellbeing of the residents.
Vermilion staff have also organized Days of Caring at St. Bart's since 2012, including a gardening day, social events such as a mini-Olympics, care home renovations, garden landscaping and two camp events for those living in Community Supported Residential Units.
In 2021, we celebrated 12 years of partnership. We are proud to have helped St. Bart's provide a wraparound service for vulnerable populations in Western Australia.
The Royal Flying Doctor Service of Australia is one of the world's largest aeromedical organizations. With a "waiting room" of 7.69 million square kilometres, this organization made contact with over 283,000 patients last year and flew over 26 million km. RFDS operates throughout Australia, so it's a great match for both our Perth-based staff and our platform staff who come from locations throughout the country. RFDS also backs up our industry medical response organization, and as a remote area provider, supports our staff both at work and at play.
Primarily a volunteer operated organization, the Karaakin Black Cockatoo Conservation Centre’s aim is to conserve threatened and endangered black cockatoos. Vermilion’s support will aid in annual cockatoo counts, repairing cages and supporting revegetation projects.
Vermilion has supported the Croatian Mine Action Centre, an organization that carries out demining operations in areas where mine danger presents a direct safety problem for the population, and Hungary Ambulance, supporting a fire station near our operations.
Following devastating fires in Dalmatia, the Scouts Association has undertaken the largest volunteer reforestation action in Croatia, planting over 20,000 seedlings to date. Vermilion is proud to be able to support the return of life back to these wildfire areas.
Following the Ceric and Berak gas discoveries in Croatia in 2019, staff in CEE noticed that two nearby community playground areas could use a helping hand. We offered the communities support to restore them, and are very happy with brightly coloured, imaginative results for local children!
Our partnership with Civil Protection associations has allowed the purchase of four Automated External Defibrillators in Essone and has supported the purchase of an ambulance in Seine-et-Marne. These associations are an important part of our communities, as they provide volunteer first aid teams for a wide range of community gatherings such as music festivals and sporting events, along with critical emergency operations after natural disasters.
By supporting the reintegration of unemployed individuals back into the labour market, organizations involved in this network provide valuable labour resources for projects that focus on protecting the environment and restoring local heritage. This flagship partnership will provide support to organizations in many areas where we operate.
This non-profit organization’s aim is to fight against poverty and exclusion. It provides emergency aid to those who are homeless, including food and clothing, housing and referral to additional support. Vermilion has supported the Parentis location by helping to finance a shower facility for the homeless and storage facilities for donated clothing that the agency sells to help raise funds.
As an active member of the Schools' Business Partnership, Vermilion and other local businesses aim to positively impact educational inclusion in Ireland. Each year Vermilion hosts local second-level students at the Bellanaboy Gas terminal in Mayo, The program provides students with exposure to a "day in the life" of different disciplines working at Vermilion and discussions on a range of career options.
In 2017 we established a flagship partnership between JINC and Vermilion. As a non-profit organization, JINC believes that every child deserves a fair chance in the labour market; it helps young people aged 8 to 16 years through vocational orientation in the workplace and learning (social) skills. Vermilion’s funding was used to open the first JINC branch in Leeuwarden, making Vermilion a founding partner there. We are also contributing through the efforts and knowledge of our staff.
Vermilion began supporting the Dutch Heart Foundation in 2020, in its bid to provide help within six minutes of someone’s cardiac arrest. Our support has provided for five Automated External Defibrillation (AED) packages for communities including Sonnega, Wolvega, Burgum, Eernewoude and Koostertille
More than half of the Netherlands consists of agricultural land. Many bird species use these grasslands to breed, feed or rest. The Netherlands hosts a significant portion of the world population of a diverse group of ‘meadow birds’. The populations of these birds are now listed as protected species to prevent extinction. Our donation to the Birdwatch of Wolvega/ Blesdijke will support the perseverance of these birds in our local communities via 15 ‘drainage pumps,’ that farmers in the area can borrow to drain specific parts of their land to attract the birds to a safe breeding spot. The placement of the pumps occurred around the breeding season in April 2021, with the Birdwatch monitoring bird activities closely.
Each year, our team in the Denver office volunteers at the Food Bank of the Rockies, which helps families in Colorado and Wyoming thrive by procuring and distributing food and essentials to the hungry through various programs and partner agencies.
The Weston County Fire Protection District, a local community volunteer fire department, is close to our operations in Wyoming, and relies heavily on donors to ensure their firefighters have the necessary training, trucks and protective equipment to safely respond to fires. In addition to three fire stations, the District places wildland engines at strategic rural locations to provide quicker responses to wildfires.