In 2014, Gary Gault, vice-president of Calgary’s NGX, was diagnosed with late-stage pancreatic cancer. Gault, who started working for NGX in the 1990s after the Alberta government deregulated the province’s natural gas market, was one of the company’s key players. A popular, friendly member of the company, Gault spent 18 years with NGX, helping to build and maintain its client base, thanks in part to his ability to form and maintain relationships.
“He was a great guy, gregarious,” says Jim Oosterbaan, president and CEO of NGX. He adds that Gault was able to provide excellent service and meet customers’ needs as well. “He played a huge role in the company.”
That’s one of the reasons why NGX, which provides electronic trading, clearing and data services to the North American natural gas and electricity markets, has undertaken a massive fundraising effort for the Alberta Cancer Foundation. Over the past two years, NGX has donated $360,000 to Calgary’s Tom Baker Cancer Centre, which is southern Alberta’s main facility for providing cancer prevention, research and treatment programs. “[Corporate giving] is just part of being a part of the community that you are living and working in,” says Oosterbaan, noting that NGX has been operating for 21 years. “It’s about the society you want to live in, and corporate donations are part of that. It’s important.” The company chose to donate to the Alberta Cancer Foundation after Gault’s diagnosis and death soon afterwards.
“It’s about the society you want to live in, and corporate donations are part of that. It’s important,” says Jim Oosterbaan.
According to Oosterbaan, Gault, a father of four, also contributed greatly to his hometown of Calgary, so his illness and subsequent passing came as a huge blow to many. “We are a close-knit group, so it was a huge loss,” he says. Gault received world-class treatment at the Tom Baker, and the outstanding work of the professionals at the medical facility motivated NGX to host a charity trade donation day in March of 2014 in memory of Gault.
As well, NGX donated a significant portion of the revenue received from business activity on March 14, 2014, and raised an astounding $275,000 thanks to their customers.
It was a positive experience for NGX’s approximately 70 staff members, with the results far exceeding their expectations. “We were elated at our customers’ response,” Oosterbaan says.
But the company’s generosity towards the Alberta Cancer Foundation didn’t end there. On October 15, 2015, the company repeated its fundraising efforts, splitting the money between three local organizations including the Alberta Cancer Foundation, which received $85,000 earmarked for the Tom Baker.
Oosterbaan says the company was very appreciative of its customers’ support, especially during the recent tough economic times. The company’s employees were proud to give to the deserving organizations, especially during the recent downturn in the economy, which affects the bottom line of both charities and businesses, including NGX.
Despite the challenging conditions, Oosterbaan believes being a good corporate citizen sends the right message of the importance of giving back. “All of these non-profits are doing good work. They make the city and the region a better place,” he says. “There is an intrinsic reward; you can’t help but feel good.
“There are so many opportunities for people to get involved,” he adds. “Do what you can and recognize that your employees are doing their own charity work as well. A company can support and enable that wherever they can.”