The health and economic impacts of COVID-19 were felt in communities across our province and around the world. Although many Albertans united to support their friends and neighbours, the realities of the pandemic made it next to impossible to come together in-person to discuss how to help our communities. Necessary public health measures also changed the ways community groups, arts organizations, and sporting teams could operate and fundraise. Community agencies had to adapt to meet increasing demand from Albertans who were struggling with mental health and poverty. And the necessity of staying connected through technology created new demands to improve access and get technology into the hands of those who needed it most.
Albertans found ways to rise to that challenge, and ATB was there to help in any way we could. Our longstanding involvement with community agencies allowed us to adjust our efforts to meet COVID-19-related demands. The pandemic also accelerated our social-impact efforts within our Greater Good strategy, focusing on the three pillars of access to mental health, access to education, and access to information and communications, to uplift the well-being of Albertans. We have begun to make headway in each of these areas and officially introduced Greater Good into the community in the early months of 2021.
Supporting fundraising efforts across Alberta has been part of ATB’s community commitment from the start. Although the realities of this past year made it harder to fundraise in traditional ways, they also created more urgency for those fundraising dollars. We worked with our partners to adapt our processes and timing to ensure we could meet the needs of Albertans when they needed us most.
In the face of the myriad pressures and upheaval created by the pandemic, mental health issues have become increasingly prevalent for children and adolescents. Despite the pandemic and economic struggles, ATB raised $311,000 for children’s mental health during our annual Teddy for a Toonie campaign. Normally, the campaign runs for the entire month of May. This past year, it shifted to October to allow us to focus on some Albertans’ more immediate needs in the early days of the pandemic and was run almost exclusively online.
Funds raised were divided between the Alberta Children’s Hospital Foundation and the Stollery Children’s Hospital Foundation. The Stollery Children’s Hospital will use these funds to create integrated mental health services within its emergency department, and the Alberta Children’s Hospital will use the funds to grow its Acute at Home program, which provides a lifeline to struggling families.
As the economic challenges of the pandemic became apparent, we decided to move up our United Way campaign to support our community partners that were leading pandemic relief efforts in Alberta.
ATB is a long-time partner of United Way, which has the unique ability to get help to where it’s needed most. In the spring, ATB raised $180,000 to support not-for-profit organizations on the front lines of the pandemic through virtual fundraising activities, and, in the fall, we gave team members an opportunity to sign up for regular payroll deductions, raising another $320,000. In total, ATB raised $500,000 for United Way so they could continue helping Albertans who need them.
ATB Cares is our online donation program that amplifies the generosity of Albertans by matching a portion of donations to eligible charities. Despite their own struggles, Albertans stepped up and helped us direct a record-setting $7.2 million to charities across the province, up from $5.8 million last year. We are grateful for the kindness and generosity of the many Albertans who donated to help their friends, neighbours, and strangers.
This year we increased our matching percentage from 15% to 20% while increasing our monthly matching budget from $20,000 to $30,000, a change made possible by redeploying funds that in previous years would have been spent on covering administration fees for all charities. For December 2020, we increased our monthly matching budget even more to $100,000, with a focus on supporting food banks. This resulted in just over $245,000 donated to Alberta’s food banks.
ATB looked for opportunities to help communities improve their quality of life through technology and connectivity, now and beyond the pandemic.
Technology has been a significant barrier to learning for many students during the pandemic, with siblings living under the same roof sometimes having to share devices to attend classes. ATB stepped up to help and worked with United Way to donate $100,000 worth of technology to students in need: 412 Chromebooks were distributed to 23 schools across the province, with United Way’s digital literacy support in place to make the most of the new devices.
As an isolated town with hilly terrain, Water Valley has hit-and-miss Internet access. When COVID-19 necessitated working and learning from home, the situation became critical. The local library quickly became the hotspot for reliable Internet access but was only able to open two days a week. ATB donated to Water Valley’s fundraiser to keep the library open five days a week so residents could stay connected.
With visitors and outings no longer allowed due to COVID-19, seniors in Silvera housing communities in Calgary were disconnected from favourite pastimes, loved ones, friends, and even their health care providers. ATB heard about the situation and Silvera’s idea for a creative, technological solution. Our donation was combined with donations from other local businesses, and Silvera was able to purchase tablets for the residents.
Access to mental health is another area of need that ATB is addressing and inspired our involvement in the following activities.
ATB Up helped introduce Greater Good in a big way, encouraging Albertans to use the power of social media to engage and inspire others. From March 1 to 12, 2021, ATB invited Albertans to participate in a new and playful challenge each day and share via their social networks, tagging @ATBFinancial and #ATBUp. The challenges, which ranged from layering on clothes to taking pictures with pets, focused on improving mental health through play and were vetted with our partner, headversity, to ensure each one was based on science.
Every time #ATBUp was used on social media, it triggered a $1 donation from ATB to Alberta’s Mental Health Foundation. The campaign succeeded beyond our expectations, raising $125,000 (the goal was $50,000).
We also included extra elements of surprise and delight (and social good) through some of the challenges, which resulted in:
ATB partnered with country singer Gord Bamford to bring Albertans together to safely enjoy a live concert while raising funds and awareness for mental health in our province. From June to September, ATB organized 12 shows that raised $123,000 for eight mental health charities across the province. More than 6,500 people attended in more than 1,600 vehicles throughout Grande Prairie, Fort McMurray, Edmonton, Red Deer, Calgary, Medicine Hat, and Lethbridge.
As part of our commitment to supporting the mental health of Albertans, we continued to partner with the Calgary Distress Centre’s volunteer program, which provides 24-hour crisis support through a crisis line, email, chat, and text throughout southern Alberta. Our partnership will help support valuable resources and training.
ATB partnered with the CASA Foundation for their 2020 Cycle Challenge event, where people could sponsor participants to complete either 20.20 km, 202.0 km, or 2020 km in a safely distanced way between July and early October 2020. All donations supported mental health programs and services offered through the foundation for youth and their families. During a three-day social media campaign, ATB matched 100% of donations, resulting in more than $50,000 raised.
Whether through a traditional post-secondary institution or an organization delivering programs to support in building skills of the future, access to education is and will continue to be a necessity for economic recovery and growth in Alberta. We recognize the ingenuity, creativity, and innovation that educators and educational organizations cultivate, and here are just some of the ways we’ve supported learners and our education partners over the past year.
MindFuel is an education technology leader that aims to spark curiosity and fuel innovation by bringing STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) to life for Grades K–12 youth. ATB was the regional partner for MindFuel’s Crack the Code Challenge, held January 15 to March 26, 2021, which taught kids valuable coding skills and gave them an opportunity to create an app with their new-found knowledge. We are proud to say that, of the 27 top coders, 13 were from Alberta.
ATB partnered with NPower Canada to help support low-income Calgary youth. NPower works to reduce poverty by helping low-income, diverse young adults ages 17 to 30 launch IT careers, providing no-cost skills training, industry credentials, job placement, and five years of alumni career-laddering services, including mentorship and support with further education.
ATB supported Windmill Microlending, an organization that provides microloans to help immigrants and refugees to gain Canadian accreditation and restart their careers in Canada. These individuals often arrive in Alberta with valuable professional expertise but face barriers to professional accreditation. Microloans allow them to pursue exams, courses, and resources for accreditation so they can earn a livable income. On average, employment earnings increase 3.4 times for clients upon completion of their learning plans, and unemployment drops from 40% to 10%.
Our new partnership with Mount Royal University’s Iniskim Centre in Calgary will support Indigenous students and help contribute to their success while in school.
This year we expanded our relationship to include First People’s House, which provides holistic physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, and financial support in an environment of empowerment for the University’s First Nations, Métis, and Inuit students.
The ATB Loran Awards are handed out by the Loran Scholars Foundation for qualities that transcend transcripts: character, integrity, commitment to service, entrepreneurial spirit, breadth of interests, teamwork, and potential for leadership. We were also thrilled to partner with a number of other post-secondary institutions to support students through bursaries and scholarships, including the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology, Red Deer College, and NorQuest College.
ATB has a long tradition of sponsoring events and festivals that bring joy to the communities where we live and work, and we were proud to continue our support so arts and culture festivals and organizations could reimagine their offerings in light of pandemic health measures. Working with the Edmonton Fringe Festival, National Music Centre, Grande Prairie Street Performers Festival, Calgary Folk Festival, Edmonton Comedy Festival, and Calgary International Film Festival, we were able to help Albertans safely enjoy some of their favourite events through creative virtual outlets and home deliveries, as well as help provide or sustain employment opportunities for artists, organizers, and others in our vibrant cultural scene.
This past year required us to reimagine what sports and wellness events looked like, and ATB was proud to play a part in helping these activities carry on while supporting local businesses in creative ways. Over 120 people participated in the ATB Client Cycling Program, an average of over 95,000 viewers tuned in to two Team Koe curling events on Facebook Live, and we hosted a virtual hockey hot stove in December, featuring ATB Community Ambassador and NHL player Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, NHL player Jordan Eberle, and Canadian sports reporter Natasha Staniszewski.
Although we couldn’t come together in person to celebrate the spirit of the season this year, we found ways to connect and share the holiday magic. ATB partnered with the National Music Centre to hire two Alberta-based musicians to play a virtual National Music Centre Holiday Concert, and through the Castrol Raceway Christmas Drive-Thru Experience provided a unique way of connecting our clients during the holiday season and creating a safe, family-friendly event that involved some 360 vehicles and carloads of food for the Edmonton Food Bank.
|Metric||FY2020||FY2021||FY2022 target||Action plan|
|Donations||$3 million||$3 million||$3 million||Continue to align with ATB’s Greater Good strategy and ensure our donations have the greatest impact for Albertans. Consider how we can support economic recovery from COVID-19.|
|Sponsorships (1)||$7.6 million||$2.2 million||$6 million||Bring ATB’s brand closer to Albertans through sponsorships and experiences that unite communities, build relationships, and bring meaningful engagements that drive value back to ATB. As COVID-19 continues, ATB and our sponsor properties will work in lockstep with Alberta Health Services to determine a safe re-entry point to hosting in-person gatherings and events across Alberta.|
|ATB fundraising||$1.2 million||$811,000||Continue to raise as much as possible.||Align our fundraising efforts to ATB’s Greater Good strategy, and create an overarching fundraising strategy.|
|Junior ATB (2)||84 schools||61 schools||90 schools||Now that a virtual program has been developed, look to scale up delivery of virtual Junior ATB to more schools across Alberta.|
|Employee giving program (Helping Hands)(3)||$106,000 in grants; 35,000-plus volunteer hours||$42,000 in grants; 14,000 volunteer hours||Create a new employee-giving and volunteer strategy||Evaluate ATB’s volunteer program and how it can best support our Greater Good strategy. Consider an online platform for its administration.|
|ATB Cares(4)||$5.5 million in donations, $250,000 matched by ATB, $5.8 million total donated to charities||$6.8 million in donations, $402,000 matched by ATB, $7.2 million total donated to charities||$6 million donated to charities (including match from ATB)||Program changes were implemented this year for ATB to be more intentional with its investment in ATB Cares. Continue to review and implement changes that will further align with our Greater Good strategy.|