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:
Research has established a clear link between mental health and risk factors for living in poverty or becoming homeless. In 2013, we committed $1 million to help create the Vermilion Energy Family Centre at the Bowness campus of Wood’s Homes, because investing in the well-being of children and their families creates critical opportunities to support positive development into adulthood.
In June 2015, Wood's Homes opened the doors of the Vermilion Energy Family Centre and their Whole Family Treatment Program. 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 the program's first two years, Wood’s Homes has provided 34 family stays and helped a total of 139 individuals, including children, youth and their parents/caregivers at the Vermilion Energy Family Centre. The program incorporates significant outcome measurements, including the Systematic Clinical Outcome and Routine Evaluation, Brief Family Distress Scale and family satisfaction outcomes. These are indicating significant positive changes in individual perceptions of their family’s problems, strengths, ability to manage crisis, effectiveness of communication and level of distress. Wood’s Homes uses these results to evolve the program for optimal effectiveness. Vermilion is pleased to be continuing our support subsequent to the completion of our initial flagship funding.
Vermilion’s Netherlands Business Unit launched its Municipality Linkage Program (MLP) in September 2016, to help us visibly support the communities where we are active. We identified 12 municipalities that are priorities for the company, based on our operational activities. Within those locations, we then reached out to key stakeholders such as residents, community organizations and municipalities to help identify strategic community investment options that we could consider funding. Today, we’re pleased that community organizations proactively seek us out. In every application, we look for a community need and a local solution that helps to address it.
Projects supported by the MLP touch all pillars of Vermilion's community investment priorities, with the majority of funds spent in the area of homelessness and poverty. While the program only launched in the latter half of 2016, it has already seen tremendous potential in terms of community and employee engagement.
The MLP is already proving a success, with 39 organizations supported through the 2016 program. Our related Day of Caring in September 2016 saw 47 staff supporting five of those organizations, including three volunteer-run food banks, and two areas in the Frisian nature reserve of Fryske Gea.
Our 2017 program has supported 80 organizations in 14 municipalities, providing €350,000 in support. For our Day of Caring, 48 staff chose from five of our MLP projects, helping out with a sports day for vulnerable children, supporting elderly community members with physical disabilities, barn painting, food preparation in support of Resto VanHarte, taking care of an orchard, and assisting in a non-profit bakery.
In addition to the MLP, we established a flagship partnership between JINC and Vermilion in 2017. 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.
At the Leeuwarden launch of JINC in 2017, more than 150 students received job interview training from professionals, including five colleagues from Vermilion. The goal of our coaching is to ultimately provide them with better opportunities in the labour market. In addition, we provided several opportunities for one-day internships for JINC youth at Vermilion, including one in which youth replaced our business unit managing director and operations manager for a day.
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.
The Vermilion Energy / YW Employment Resource Centre (ERC) continues to be a vibrant and busy employment centre, serving 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.
In 2016, 86% of YW clients across all programs and services were economically disadvantaged. This is calculated based on monthly income of $2,500 or less per client, as well as other measures.
Specifically for the Vermilion Energy/YW Employment Resource Centre, in 2016, 98% of clients were economically disadvantaged.
In the four years since its launch in June 2013, the ERC has served 1,402 clients in a variety of ways, including 386 employability workshops, 45 skills-for-life workshops, and 533 one-on-one career coaching sessions. These programs are assessed using a Program Logic Model benchmark of 75% for client satisfaction; the result has come in above 95% in all areas, including identifying skills and abilities, building confidence, awareness of employment actions needed, and development of employability skills.
In addition, the ERC began intake in May 2017 for the YW’s new Women’s Employment Program, focusing on:
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.
Canada – STARS Air Ambulance
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.
Since 1824, KNRM, the Royal Dutch rescue organization, has provided boats and lifeguards to ensure the health and safety of those on lake and coastal waters. Each year, the 1,300 highly committed and professionally trained volunteers save more than 3,000 people. We support the Harlingen location, closest to our operations.
The Royal Flying Doctor Service of Australia is one of the largest aeromedical organizations in the world. 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.
France – SNSM – Les Sauveteurs en Mer
For over a century, Les Sauveteurs en Mer has been committed to safeguarding human life at sea and on the coast. With 32 Training & Intervention Centres and 218 stations through the country, they conduct 5,200 interventions and rescue 7,700 people each year. We'll be supporting their Lège Cap Ferret location, closest to our operations in Cap Ferret.
United States – Weston County Fire Protection District
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.
Germany – Local Fire Brigade
In Germany, similarly we have identified a local fire brigade in East Frisia – a front line rescue organization that would support our operations.
Croatia – Croatian Mine Action Centre
CEE has selected 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. It is estimated that there are over 40,000 mines covering more than 420,000 sq. km in Croatia. This has an important operational alignment for Vermilion; before we conduct seismic work in one of our exploration blocks, we will need to ensure that demining is conducted.
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 who will 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.' "
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 an d 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 a camp event for those living in Community Supported Residential Units.
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 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 more than $3.57 million to support local non-profit organizations and social programs through the United Way.
Our 2016 and 2017 campaigns both raised over $220K, with more than 90% staff participation through pledging, events and contests. We are proud of this achievement, particularly given the uncertain economic times that Calgarians continue to face as a result of the challenges we are facing in our industry.
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 up approximately $3,500 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.