Just three weeks after his first day at Suncor, Vittal Ramu was flipping pancakes as a volunteer during Suncor’s Family Day breakfast at the Calgary Stampede this past July. 

Having moved to Canada from the U.S., and from India before that, Vittal says that volunteering is one way he learns about a community and a company’s culture.

“Volunteering gives me an opportunity to learn about local needs, find out what is important to my employer and how I fit into it all,” shares Vittal, a Digital Product Specialist at Suncor. “It’s also an opportunity for my employer to learn about me and my values beyond my day job.”

Caring for community is a way of life for Vittal. Since he was young, his parents instilled the importance of cultivating good karma and the domino effect it has on future generations. 

“I’m grateful to my parents for everything I have now,” reflects Vittal. “Now it's my turn to make the world a better place for my daughter.” 

The Calgary Stampede Family Day breakfast is an annual, mouth-watering event that feeds 25,000 people and provides free admission to the Stampede grounds. Pancake breakfasts have been hosted during Stampede to bring the community together for close 100 years.

“Volunteer opportunities, like the Calgary Stampede breakfast, are a key aspect of Suncor’s brand sponsorship strategy,” says Jennifer Lomas who leads Suncor’s brand and sponsorship. “The community presence part of our strategy aims to nurture a sense of belonging among employees and our neighbours in the areas Suncor operates.” 

Each of Suncor’s main operating areas also have local community investment plans developed with community partners to address their unique and specific needs. These partnerships can help build bridges between Suncor and community as they often come with volunteer opportunities for employees.

“I appreciate when Suncor provides volunteer opportunities at local organizations because it opens my eyes to the needs and issues being experienced in our community,” says Bob Braun, a shift supervisor at Suncor’s Sarnia Refinery, who recently assembled backpacks as a volunteer at the Inn of the Good Shepherd. “I think it’s important for companies to support community initiatives to thank the community.”

A man and a youth holding a backpack.
Bob and his son zipping up a backpack full of school supplies.

The Sarnia refinery has been supporting the Inn of the Good Shepherd’s Back to School Backpacks drive since 2015. The drive provides low-income families with backpacks filled with grade-appropriate school supplies. It is one of the most popular volunteer activities amongst Suncor employees in the area.

There are a lot of dedicated volunteers at Suncor. In fact, employees at Suncor have volunteered just shy of 30,000 hours during the first half of 2022. 

To recognize and celebrate employees’ role in our collective community presence, Suncor and the Suncor Energy Foundation (SEF) support employees in community through SunCares by rewarding volunteer time with donation currency and donation matching. As of June 30, with volunteer and donation matching from Suncor and SEF, employees donated close to $3 million.