Jeremy Fresz’s Suncor roots run deep and his connection to the community is hereditary.  “My grandpa was employee number 184 at Base Plant,” shares Jeremy, a senior asset management advisor at Suncor’s Base Plant in northern Alberta. “He started in January 1967 when Suncor first began commercially producing crude oil, but what I’m really proud of is how he and my grandma threw themselves into the community as soon as they moved to Fort McMurray.”

Jeremy’s grandparents spent a lot of time at the rink taking on various volunteer roles with their kids’ hockey teams. When they retired, they shifted their focus to support the senior community in Fort McMurray and played a significant role in building the Seniors Activity Centre for the Golden Years Society, which promotes wellness and fellowship through activities for seniors in the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo. 

Like his grandparents, Jeremy is engaged in his community, but this hasn’t always been the case. “When my kids were young, I shared with my grandma how hard it was to make time for volunteering,” recalls Jeremy. “She looked at me and said, ‘well, you know, we did all that when we had kids. It’s just what you do.’ It gave me the kick I needed to make time and start doing more.”

Jeremey's grandparents pose for the camera. They are wearing eye glasses and grey shirts.
Jeremy’s grandparents, Marie and Germain Routhier, at brunch. They both received an award from Alberta 55 Plus for their volunteer work in 2013.

Today, Jeremy is an active volunteer with his kids’ basketball teams, his church and at Suncor planning volunteer and fundraising activities throughout the year. By tracking his volunteer time in Suncor’s employee giving program,  SunCares, he earns volunteer reward dollars to donate to organizations important to him and his family, including the Golden Years Society. 

Jeremy isn’t alone in his passion for community—last year, Suncor employees tracked 105,125 volunteer hours in SunCares, a significant increase from the 80,000 volunteer hours tracked throughout 2021. 

Over the last three years, the pandemic changed the way employees volunteered and highlighted the different ways employees cared for their communities. To continue supporting employees, SunCares expanded its volunteer rewards eligibility to include acts of caring for neighbours, friends and colleagues. As pandemic restrictions began to lift last year, so did the concerns around meeting and volunteering in person. 

“People are excited to get together and do things,” says Jeremy. “We’ve had great turnout at events we’ve planned, and even on days when the weather is miserable there are lineups of folks at barbecues.”

These changes were seen across Suncor too. In 2022, employees participated in more than 80 fundraising and volunteer activities. The majority of these events were organized by regional Suncor employee volunteer networks and included activities like game-show style fundraisers, delivering food and gift packages to seniors over the winter holidays, and painting over graffiti at a local park. Other fundraising activities included the Ride to Conquer Cancer, where a Suncor team of Alberta cyclists raised over $161,000 for the Alberta Cancer Foundation, and Movember, where Suncor employees across the company raised over $34,000 for men’s health.

Collectively, Suncor, the Suncor Energy Foundation and employees donated over $6.36 million to charities and nonprofits across North America last year.

In 2021, Suncor welcomed Syncrude to the family when it assumed operatorship. Last year, Syncrude and its employees donated more than $1.7 million to the United Way in Fort McMurray, United Way of the Alberta Capital Region and the United Way of Calgary and Area, as well as $339,000 to community organizations through the Syncrude Good Neighbours Program.