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Strategic Giving

Spectra Energy is dedicated to being a “Partner of Choice” for the communities in which we work and live.

We believe that our contributions to the economic, environmental and social well-being of our stakeholders and communities will help us realize our vision.

Our total contribution to communities in 2014 was approximately $10 million.  Last year, our company, employees and retirees made a significant investment in the United Way, collectively contributing $1.9 million in the U.S. and $1.9 million in Canada. Spectra Energy also matched $554,000 in employee and retiree donations to eligible organizations. 

Total Community Investment

Dollars in Millions

Total Community Investment Bar ChartSpectra Energy is dedicated to supporting our communities with both financial contributions and the spirited volunteerism of our employees.

We are inspired by our employees’ strong spirit of philanthropy and their dedication to volunteerism. In 2014, we volunteered 34,000 hours, the value of which exceeded $1.1 million, including grants and volunteer hours.

We recognize that a strategic approach is critical to lasting business and community results. We focus our giving in three areas: education and workforce development, community vitality, and employee support and volunteerism. We work with our community partners to identify those opportunities that achieve the greatest societal and business benefits and align with our focused strategy.

We also are creating a standardized approach to community investments with our major projects. This approach will help us align our investments with our corporate strategies, address key stakeholder feedback and project-specific impact assessment findings, as well as benefit local communities and our company.

Through corporate/community partnerships, we help build capabilities, competencies and shared values that produce long-term, sustainable benefits.

We invest in education and workforce development, providing youth the broadest options for their future and helping build a highly skilled future workforce within our communities. We support programs at the pre-K to 12, secondary and university levels and beyond, including technical and professional accreditation programs.

Many of the initiatives we support focus on skills development and workforce readiness. These areas not only benefit the community, but also align with our goals to increase the future talent pool, build capacity in local and underserved communities, and leverage opportunities for women and minorities. Our focus on skills development will continue to sharpen and deepen as our involvement with these organizations matures.

Through the United Way, via a dollar-for-dollar match of our annual employee-run campaign we have been a million dollar-plus donor to the United Way in the Houston community for 23 years, and we are the largest single donor to the United Way in Chatham-Kent, Ontario where our Union Gas subsidiary is headquartered.  This was a milestone year for Union Gas, as its employees celebrated their first $1 million United Way campaign. The Western Canada United Way campaign was a huge success as well, as employees there increased their contribution by 31 percent.  We are incredibly proud of our tradition of supporting the United Way across our communities and look forward to being part of the solutions provided by the United Way and their partners for years to come.

While we contribute toward the health and success of our communities, we also invest in environmental programs, targeted arts and culture organizations, safety and community enhancement. For example, Spectra Energy demonstrates our commitment to safety by investing in first responder organizations, such as volunteer fire departments across our North American footprint and Safety Villages in Ontario, Canada. Safety Villages promote the health and safety of children in conjunction with emergency service providers teaching important lessons like natural gas and fire safety.

Our investments ensure the long-term health of the economy by helping make local communities vibrant and attractive places where our stakeholders, including our employees and their families, want to live and work.

The spirit of volunteerism is a vital part of our culture and identity. That spirit is fostered by our leaders, including our CEO, who encourage employee participation through their own volunteer efforts. In 2014, through Helping Hands in Action, our employees and retirees completed 440 community projects during a year-round volunteer effort with particular emphasis in spring and summer. A better appreciation of our communities ultimately leads to the enrichment and engagement of our employees, who gain valuable interpersonal and leadership experience while proudly serving as ambassadors of the company.

Not only do we provide the labor to complete these volunteer projects, we provide support through volunteer grants that totaled over $340,000 in 2014. We also match employee gifts to charitable organizations and provide merit scholarships to support university education for children of our employees.

Through our contributions to The Scholarship Fund for Inner-City Children, Spectra Energy is proud to provide 50 deserving young people with partial-tuition scholarships annually to help with private school tuition within Bergen, Essex, Hudson and Union counties in New Jersey. These counties represent communities that were affected by the construction of our New Jersey-New York (NJ-NY) Expansion Project pipeline that delivers natural gas to the NJ-NY region. This assistance offers children in need the opportunity for a quality, values-based education in a safe environment. Of the students who receive this scholarship, 99 percent enroll in a four-year college or university. Spectra Energy’s partnership with The Scholarship Fund for Inner-City Children is an important example of our commitment to win-win relationships with local communities.

Spectra Energy is proud to support public safety and emergency response activities in northwest British Columbia. We do this through Terrace Search and Rescue, a non-profit, volunteer-based organization that provides service 365 days a year in support of searches, rescues and recoveries of missing persons, as well as assistance and mutual aid during emergencies. Terrace Search and Rescue shares our commitment to public and community safety and education, as well as our dedication to volunteerism. Terrace Search and Rescue’s teams are administered and staffed by volunteers who train and practice search, rescue and survival skills. The organization also presents public information and education programs throughout the year to schools and youth groups, which builds emergency response and safety capacity in our communities.

Spectra Energy is proud of its long-standing partnership with Junior Achievement of Southeast Texas in Houston.  The relationship is multi-faceted, including financial support, Spectra Energy volunteers serving in the classroom and our CEO serving on the Board of Directors.  In 2014, Spectra Energy supported the inaugural Inspire event, a job readiness fair that introduces eighth graders to a wide variety of career opportunities.  In the 2013-2014 school year, Junior Achievement, in collaboration with Spectra Energy and other corporations across Houston, served approximately 300,000 students, introducing them to entrepreneurship and financial literacy skills.

After a successful partnership in 2013 with FIRST Robotics Canada, Union Gas increased our commitment to become a Gold Level Sponsor of the organization in 2014.  The increased sponsorship allowed Union Gas to support an additional five Ontario teams and two additional FIRST Robotics Competitions in Windsor and North Bay.  The event in North Bay was the inaugural FIRST Robotics Competition hosted in the community.  Union Gas was proud to sponsor a team from Nbisiing Secondary School, the first-ever all First Nations and Métis team in Ontario. Team eNimkki participated in the North Bay regional competition held at Nipissing University.  In addition to our financial support of FIRST Robotics, Union Gas employees mentored several of the teams and a Union Gas executive serves on the FIRST Canada Executive Advisory Board.  In the annual FIRST Robotics Competitions, high school students team up with technology companies and build the most impressive robots you’ve ever seen to compete in high-intensity “robo-sports”. Volunteer professional mentors are assigned to each team. In just six weeks, the teams of students raise funds, design a team “brand,” and build and program robots to perform specific tasks against competitors in regional events held in several provinces. FIRST Robotics Canada combines the excitement of sport with the rigors of science and technology.

Spectra Energy and the Northern Opportunities Partners have collaborated for over ten years. Spectra Energy, along with 14 other industry partners, came together in a collaborative effort to provide seamless career pathways for northeastern British Columbia students through the Northern Opportunities bursaries program.

The Northern Opportunities bursaries program - a collaborative effort between government, school districts, industry representatives, Aboriginal stakeholders and community groups, and spearheaded by Spectra Energy - has supported the training, recruitment and retention of skilled workers by meeting the educational needs of high school students through individualized programs. The program supports the concept that those “trained in the north” are more likely to “stay in the north.”

Students enter a Northern Opportunities trades/technology program at the beginning of grade 11 or 12, after which they spend one to two years enrolled in a trades/technology pathway program. Upon graduation, students possess a high school diploma, technical training, work experience and an enhanced skills portfolio to facilitate employment. 

These graduates, who may have otherwise dropped out of school, are contributing to our economy and enriching our communities. Since tracking began in 2006, graduation rates have increased from 68 to 86 percent and graduation rates of Aboriginal students climbed from 53 to 76 percent.

This program is a great example of our commitment to the economic success of our communities by providing educational and employment opportunities.

For more than 50 years, we have been pleased to offer a merit-based college scholarship program to the children of eligible employees and retirees. The program provides 10 scholarships of up to $5,000 each year that may be awarded for up to four consecutive years, for a maximum of $20,000. We also award two one-time $2,500 scholarships annually. The scholarship is for undergraduate study at accredited, two-year technical schools or community colleges and/or four-year colleges or universities in the U.S. and Canada.

Helping Hands in Action is Spectra Energy’s year-round volunteer effort which includes a focused annual effort in spring and summer. Our employees across North America selected, coordinated and participated in 440 volunteer projects in 2014. Examples of those projects include the following:

  • In conjunction with Crime Prevention and Safety Board Chatham-Kent and Chatham-Kent Police Service, employees volunteered at a bike rodeo, distributing bicycle helmets and assisting with an obstacle course designed to teach bicycle safety;
  • Spectra Energy volunteers worked to organize, clean and brighten the rooms of Brenda’s House, one of two family homeless shelters in Calgary; and
  • Habitat for Humanity in Everett, Pennsylvania benefitted from the volunteer expertise of Spectra Energy employees who hung drywall for a home in progress.

These volunteer projects also enhance the teamwork, leadership and decision-making of our employees.