Janet pool page header

Community Investment Program

Syncrude volunteer makes waves in and out of the pool

When Janet Alook enrolled her two young boys in swimming lessons to be safe around water, she had no idea the positive impact it would have on all their lives.

“I grew up around water and know the joys and dangers it brings,” says Janet, a Process Operator in Extraction. “I wanted my boys to be safe and gain this valuable life skill.”

Josh and Jeffrey thrived in the pool, and it was her children’s passion that led Janet to become a volunteer with the Fort McMurray Manta Swim Club.

Looking back on one of her first volunteer experiences, Janet recalls sharing a sense of solidarity when club members, parents and the community offered heart-felt support to their local organization. “The Mantas have been in Fort McMurray since 1971, but around 20 years ago the organization was facing some challenges. We all pitched in to fundraise - we wrapped presents in the Peter Pond Mall, delivered Sears catalogues, ran bingos and did whatever we could to help.”

As the club raised money to continue offering competitive and pre-competitive programs, Josh and Jeffrey showed that a ripple effect was taking place.

“As the boys went on to compete, it was all about achieving their personal best. They talked non-stop about how to improve to get a better time,” adds Janet, a member of the Big Stone First Nation. “As they grew in swimming, they grew in their studies. It really carried over. The skills they learned like time management improved their academics. I’m a firm believer that academics and athletics go hand in hand.”

To help Janet in her efforts, Syncrude offers a program that financially supports organizations for which our employees volunteer – the Good Neighbours Program.

“The program helps us very much. Through the volunteer and busing grants, we’re able to help fund out-of-town trips especially. I’ve been at Syncrude for 27 years and am proud that it recognizes my community contributions.”

More than 20 years after getting involved with the Swim Club, Janet’s boys are both grown and off to post-secondary school. They both still swim, with one competitively, and Janet can still be found at the pool helping the next generation of aquatic athletes.

“I’ve been volunteering for 23 years and it’s priceless to see them reach their goals. I’ve formed some life-long friendships here and do what I can to give back.”

Learn more about Syncrude’s Good Neighbour’s Program here

Syncrude is proud to support organizations

Syncrude is proud to support organizations and endeavours in the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo and Edmonton that improve education, environment, health and safety, science and technology, Aboriginal and community development, arts and culture and recreation.

We donate $6 million annually to community organizations and initiatives.

How we provide assistance

We may provide assistance in the form of funds, materials/equipment or employees' time and expertise for projects that fall within these categories:

  • Education and lifelong learning projects which can’t be funded by local school boards and/or institutions of higher learning.
  • Organizations or events dealing with the environment and health and safety.
  • Community development projects that enhance community facilities and activities. Projects must be self-supporting in the future and reflect the needs and interests of a wide number of people (within the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo only).
  • Arts and culture projects or organizations such as theatre, concerts, film and exhibitions that further the arts, entertain or inform (within the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo only).
  • Recreational projects that promote health and fitness and organizations promoting amateur sports (within the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo only).
  • Science and technology projects or organizations that encourage partnerships and promote oil sands technology.

Over the last five years, we’ve donated over $23 million to the communities in which our employees work and play.


Selection Criteria

Syncrude considers a number of criteria when selecting community investment projects, including:

  • Privately-initiated projects or programs (rather than government-funded)
  • Potential benefit to the community and community support
  • The applicant’s contributions to the project
  • The applicant’s initiative, planning, assessment of community need and collaborations with other organizations
  • Support from multi-stakeholder groups
  • Relationship to the oil sands industry, ability to encourage broad public support for Syncrude and opportunity for our employees to use their talents and expertise
  • Sound and measurable objectives, a well-planned approach and a high probability of producing meaningful, positive results
  • Financial need based on assessment of past revenue sources and use of funds
  • One-time contributions are favoured over recurring needs but long term, multi-year projects are considered based on significant corporate exposure and enduring benefits
  • Other criteria may also be considered

The largest single donation we ever made was $5 million to Keyano College in 2008.

Ineligible Organizations and Projects

The following organizations and projects are not eligible for community investment funding from Syncrude:

  • Individuals in pursuit of activities wherein that individual is the sole beneficiary;
  • Organized Labour, Political Parties, Election Campaigns and Religious or cultural organizations in nature;
  • Organizations solely designed to provide a service to other Syncrude employees, i.e. Club 63 North Social Club;
  • Expenses and fees related to travel, meetings, conferences, forums, registration, remuneration, honourariums, fellowships and living;
  • For-profit organizations regardless of its mandate, function or service;
  • All "sanctioned" fundraising campaigns conducted on Syncrude's property during scheduled working hours wherein employees are asked to participate in the campaign while receiving their regular salaries will not be eligible for this program; i.e. Syncrude Employee United Way Campaign;
  • Syncrude employees that are on secondment.

Syncrude’s Community Investment Online Application Form

Click here for Syncrude’s Community Investment Online Application Form

NOTE: Only applications submitted online will be considered. We are unable to respond to any paper, fax or e-mail funding requests. No representative of any group will be permitted to solicit individual employees at Syncrude's plant site or offices.