The continued presence of ExxonMobil Canada within the province, through projects like Hebron, is more than welcomed, volunteers with the local chapter of the United Way have told the Hebron Public Review Commission.
United Way of Newfoundland and Labrador was started in March 2005, becoming one of 115 United Way chapters. This was the last province in Canada to see a United Way chapter develop.
Since its start, the local has taken in more than $4 million through fundraising efforts. Over $1 million has come from ExxonMobil Canada and its employees.
Under a continuing program, ExxonMobil Canada employees donating up to $100,000 to the United Way have their donations matched by the company. As well, in the first ever provincial United Way Day of Caring, held in June of this year, about 120 ExxonMobil Canada employees volunteered on United Way-led projects throughout the City of St. John’s.
Volunteerism runs through to the highest levels of the company, as ExxonMobil Canada president Meg O’Neill is the vice chair of the 2011 United Way fundraising campaign. She will chair the campaign in 2012.
The United Way said ExxonMobil Canada, the leader in the Hebron development partnership, has proven itself a good corporate citizen through its charitable contributions and through volunteer work.
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“Their investments in Newfoundland and Labrador are significant, and too numerous to list individually,” the group stated in their submitted statement to the Hebron Public Review Commission.
That said, with one on four of its fundraising dollars coming from the Hebron project lead, the organization did express some reservations in regards to how the project might impact economically vulnerable individuals in some communities within the province.
“With the positive impacts that will undoubtedly come from Hebron, so too will come increased needs in the community,” stated the United Way.
“We have worked closely with ExxonMobil and its employees in recent years as community donors and volunteers and we look forward to working with the Hebron project team as it brings jobs and opportunities to the province and to continue to work together to identify and meet the needs of the community.”
More public discussion on those community needs, the socioeconomic impacts of the Hebron megaproject, is expected to be had as provincial municipalities and other community groups make their presentations to the Hebron Public Review Commission.