For many, the first of December is a time to deck the halls, unearth ugly sweaters from storage, add festive tunes to music playlists, and turn all thoughts to giving. December 1, which follows Black Friday and Cyber Monday, is known as Giving Tuesday a global movement dedicated to giving.

But for Suncor and its employees, giving, especially in 2020, is a year-round event.

When the pandemic hit North America earlier this year, Suncor and the Suncor Energy Foundation (SEF) did not falter. Despite many non-profit organizations’ inability to operate the same way they did pre-pandemic – a sticking point for many donors – Suncor and SEF continued to fulfill their funding commitments.

“The social sector is being asked to meet a higher demand for their services with significantly less support from governments and donors,” says Lori Hewson, SEF’s director of community investment and social innovation. “Our support is crucial at this time.”

Two women volunteering through SunCares in Calgary
Through the SunCares program, Suncor employees logged more than 43,000 volunteer hours in 2020. *Imagery pre-dates requirements for physical distancing and mask guidance*

As of Oct. 31, Suncor, its employees, and SEF gave more than $26 million to community organizations in 2020, including $3 million through Suncor-owned Petro-Canada.

Employee giving has been part of Suncor’s culture for many years through SunCares – a program to support employees in giving back to their communities. Every employee and retiree who donates to charities and other community organizations can request that Suncor and SEF match their donation up to $2,000 per year.

“Now during the pandemic, more than ever, we need our efforts to stretch further and meet the needs of our local communities,” says Victoria Bartlett, a mechanical engineer with Suncor’s Newfoundland operations. “The SunCares program is a great way to do that. The matching program makes employees more inclined to donate through SunCares.”

SunCares also allows employees to receive credit for volunteer hours, which they can donate as dollars back into the community and receive credit for acts of kindness.

Employees play a huge role in community support, either financially by donations made and matched by Suncor and SEF, or in volunteer hours. During the first nine months of 2020, 31% of employees gave their money or time back to their community, and more than 43,000 volunteer hours were logged by employees.