FortisBC volunteers help to ensure a plentiful harvest in Tsawwassen for local families in need

SURREY, BC, May 28, 2011 /CNW/ - Even more fresh produce will soon sprout at the Earthwise Society's garden and farm in Tsawwassen (Delta), thanks to a little help from FortisBC employees. In addition to increasing the growing area of the farm by 25 per cent, volunteers worked on a section of farmland, prepared and installed irrigation, laid plastic to weed-proof garden areas and planted fields of squash and corn. Volunteers also helped construct a new greenhouse.

"We are proud to be able to contribute to an organization that is making such a direct impact in the local community. FortisBC has always believed in the importance of contributing to the economic and social well-being of the communities where we live and work, so our employees were very eager to contribute to the Earthwise Society," said Amy Hennessy, community relations manager, FortisBC.

The non-profit Earthwise Society's garden and farm is a two-acre organic farm with year-round production in a hoop house, a nursery, and a farm store. The mixed vegetable farm produces the most diverse produce in Tsawwassen, and is cultivating the next generation of B.C. farmers, while raising public awareness about the value of local food production.

The Society also runs a "Harvest Box" program, which provides needy families in Tsawwassen with boxes of fresh produce, an education program on food sustainability, as well as the opportunity to come to the farm and participate in the growing and harvesting produce.

"The Earthwise Society would like to thank the team from FortisBC. Volunteers are crucial to the success of Earthwise, and the impact of so many helping hands was huge for us. Because of FortisBC, we were able to increase our production area by 25 per cent, extend our year round growing capacity, and help grow our Harvest Box program for local families in need," said Patricia Fleming, executive director, Earthwise Society.

This event was one of three FortisBC Community Giving Day projects in B.C. In Trail, employees revitalized an after school pre-teen drop-in centre and in Ladysmith, employees helped restore a historical community hall. All three projects received a $30,000 corporate donation from FortisBC. These projects reflect FortisBC's role in delivering a sustainable future for British Columbians, both in developing and implementing integrated energy solutions, and in giving back to the communities in which it operates.

This is the fourth annual Community Giving Day event, which forms part of FortisBC's overall corporate giving programs. The Community Giving Days offer employees the opportunity to take an active role in making their communities better places to live and work. Photos of the Community Giving Day events will be available.

FortisBC is an integrated energy solutions provider focused on providing safe and reliable energy, including natural gas, electricity, propane and alternative energy solutions, at the lowest reasonable cost. FortisBC employs more than 2,000 British Columbians and serves approximately 1.1 million customers in more than 135 B.C. communities. FortisBC is indirectly wholly owned by Fortis Inc., the largest investor-owned distribution utility in Canada. FortisBC owns and operates four regulated hydroelectric generating plants, approximately 7,000 kilometres of transmission and distribution power lines and approximately 46,000 kilometres of natural gas transmission and distribution pipelines. FortisBC Inc., FortisBC Energy Inc., FortisBC Energy (Vancouver Island) Inc., and FortisBC Energy (Whistler) Inc. do business as FortisBC. Fortis Inc. shares are listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange and trade under the symbol FTS. Additional information can be accessed at www.fortisinc.com or www.sedar.com.

MEDIA BACKGROUNDER

Overview
FortisBC employees have long been ambassadors in their communities, and examples of the corporate social responsibility we value as a company.

To support our employees and the communities in which we live and work, FortisBC offers employees the opportunity to take an active role in making their communities happier, healthier and better places to live.

Community giving reflects FortisBC's role in delivering a sustainable future for British Columbians, both by developing and implementing integrated energy solutions, and by giving back to the communities in which we operate.

FortisBC provides a variety of ways employees can help their community throughout the year, including a company-wide employee volunteer day in the spring, and a corporate giving campaign in the fall.

Programs
Specifically, employees can "give where they live" through:

  • The Community Program
  • Community Projects
  • Employee Giving Partnerships
  • Warm Hearts

      The Community Program
Employees can apply for corporate funding of $300 every year to any local, not-for-profit organization they are already involved with, such as a child's sporting team, or the local SPCA.
 
  Community Projects
Each year FortisBC's Community Relations team organizes Community Giving Day - where employees volunteer their time to three not-for-profit community projects around the province. Each project receives a corporate contribution of $30,000 to the local not-for-profit organization, and hands-on participation from employee volunteers towards the project.
 
  Employee Giving Partnerships
FortisBC offers financial support to charitable causes that are important to our employees. FortisBC will top up employees' charitable donations ranging from $100 to $1,000 by 50 per cent, topping out at $500 matching dollars per employee annually. Employees can also sign up for payroll deductions donated to their local United Way or Warm Hearts, the employee-run charitable foundation at FortisBC, and FortisBC will top up their donations by 50 per cent throughout the year.
 
  Warm Hearts
Warm Hearts is the employee-run charitable foundation at FortisBC, established to support the health and well-being of the communities where our employees live and work. Every year employees are surveyed for the types of charities they believe Warm Hearts should support. Based on this feedback, the Warm Hearts committee reviews applications of the charities that employees have brought forward, or those which best reflect the types of causes employees want to help.

Participation
In the past four years, FortisBC employees have donated over $500,000 to local organizations through our Employee Giving Partnerships - last year alone, they donated to almost 200 deserving organizations. With the added corporate donations from FortisBC, organizations have received more than $1,000,000 since 2007.

This is in addition to the 65 local organizations who have received financial support through the employee-run Warm Hearts charitable foundation, who have collectively received more than $200,000 since 2007. Since its beginning in 1994, Warm Hearts has donated more than $600,000 to the community.

Each year, FortisBC also supports more than 200 grassroots initiatives that actively benefit the communities in which we operate, through community investment and employee volunteerism programs. We also provide financial support to different organizations where our employees volunteer their time as coaches, instructors and in other leadership roles.

By giving locally, and combining our efforts, we believe we can make lives better in the communities where we live and work. FortisBC is proud of its employees, who work every day to achieve this goal.

 

 

SOURCE FortisBC Inc.

For further information:

Media Contact:
Amy Hennessy
Community Relations Manager
Phone: 604-576-7363
Cell: 604-802-5644
Email: amy.hennessy@fortisbc.com
Follow us at: www.twitter.com/FortisBC

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