There was a time when corporate philanthropy consisted of large companies choosing a good cause and simply cutting a cheque, but times are changing as leaders of corporations are becoming more engaged in the causes they choose to support. An example of this phenomenon occurred at the 23rd annual Cross Cancer Institute Golf Classic that was held in August 2011 to raise funds for the Alberta Cancer Foundation. When Lylle Kephart, the regional director for Alberta North with Acklands-Grainger, was drawn to receive the grand prize of $10,000, he walked up to the podium and without batting an eye promptly donated the prize right back to the Alberta Cancer Foundation. When the president of Acklands-Grainger, a founding sponsor of the Golf Classic, found out what his team member had done, the company matched Kephart’s $10,000 gift with one of their own.
HE’S GAME: Lylle Kephart tipped his draw prize winnings to the Alberta Cancer Foundation.
“Like so many other people around the world, my life has been touched by cancer,” says Kephart. “I’ve been involved in the golf tournament for the past three years and I’ve seen the passion and commitment of the volunteers. They take a lot of pride in all of their fundraising efforts and it has definitely had an impact on me.”
Acklands-Grainger has been sponsoring the Cross Cancer Institute Golf Classic since its inception and has developed a company culture that includes corporate social responsibility as a core component of its corporate strategy. By contributing to the communities in which it does business and encouraging the personal giving and volunteer activities of its employees, the company is making a real difference for many non-profit organizations across Canada – including the Alberta Cancer Foundation. For next year, Kephart has stepped forward to be part of the committee that is planning the golf tournament; his business experience will be a real asset for volunteers who hope to link core business practices with their fundraising efforts to generate even greater profits for the Foundation.
“The outstanding generosity of both Lylle and Acklands-Grainger is a testament to what corporate involvement can look like in our community,” says Bobbi Wolbeck, manager of special events and community liaison for the Alberta Cancer Foundation. “This year’s tourney netted $930,000, which will help purchase a new PET/CT scanner at the Cross Cancer Institute.”
Once purchased, the Cross Cancer Institute will have the first new PET/CT scanner of this type in Canada and one of only a handful in North America. The new equipment will allow staff to detect cancers at an even earlier stage than with the equipment that’s currently available. And it will allow staff to personalize treatment plans for cancer patients across the province. Since 2002, more than 10,000 patients have received scans at the Cross Cancer Institute’s PET Imaging Centre, so there’s no doubt this equipment will benefit thousands of Albertans.
“The Cross Cancer Institute is one of the premiere cancer centres in North America and Acklands-Grainger and I are pleased to be able to support – in a small way – the great work that’s going on there,” says Kephart.
“Winning the grand prize at the golf tournament was a great surprise,” Kephart adds. “I guess I do get lucky once in a while.”