FortisBC volunteers help revitalize Ladysmith community centre

SURREY, BC, May 28, 2011 /CNW/ - FortisBC employees volunteered their time to help restore the North Oyster Community Hall in Ladysmith, a valued historical landmark in the community that was once an old school house. Volunteers helped by painting, building a kitchen and revitalizing the surrounding landscaping.

"FortisBC has always been a strong believer in the importance of contributing to the communities where we live and work. By helping to revitalize the North Oyster Community Hall, we can share these values and demonstrate the worth we see in creating a vibrant and healthy community," said Carol Greaves, community relations manager, FortisBC.

The North Oyster Community Hall was previously an old school building that opened in 1913, serving the community for many years. From World War II until 1949, the building served as a community hall before reverting to being a school. However, from 1992 to 1993, plans were made to demolish the building. With only 48 hours before the demolition was to start, the local community raised over $20,000 to save the building and move it to its present location.

"The North Oyster and Area Historical Society is very grateful for FortisBC's continuing commitment to communities such as our own. With the help of FortisBC, the North Oyster Community Hall will provide North Oyster/Diamond residents with a meeting place for community groups and space to celebrate special occasions with friends and family for many years to come," said Mary Marcotte, director, Area H - Cowichan Valley Regional District.

This event was one of three FortisBC Community Giving Day projects in B.C. In Tsawwassen (Delta), employees helped construct a new greenhouse, plant vegetables, and make food baskets for families in need. In Trail, employees revitalized an after school pre-teen drop-in centre. 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:

Carol Greaves
Community Relations Manager
Phone: 250-380-5789
Cell: 250-888-0588
Email: carol.greaves@fortisbc.com
Follow us at: www.twitter.com/FortisBC

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