tom macisaac page header

Community Investment Program

Father Merc High School home to Teacher of Excellence

Tom MacIsaac wears his passion for teaching on his sleeve which is one of the many reasons he is adored and respected by students and colleagues alike. His willingness to bring his best, every day, motivates his students to excel and inspires his colleagues to become better educators.

Engineering and Robotics teacher at the Father Patrick Mercredi Science and Technology Centre, Tom is one of just 10 teachers in Canada to be recognized with the Prime Minister’s Award for Teaching Excellence Certificate this year. He says the teaching philosophy he uses is simple – kindness.  “If I can’t make a student feel comfortable and welcome, it doesn’t matter what I teach,” he says. “I firmly believe in creating a welcome, kind environment.”

Tom delivers his curriculum in a variety of innovative ways to accommodate the diverse learning needs of his students. He believes that collaboration leads to creativity. By working hands-on projects in small teams, his grades seven to 12 students acquire problem-solving skills and discover solutions to real-life engineering challenges.

Daron Van Lingen, recipient of the Prime Minister’s Award for Teaching Excellence Certificate of Achievement last year, brought the award nomination forward to Father Mercredi High School’s   Principal. “It’s an honour for me to work alongside Tom in the Science and Technology Centre,” she says. “He’s really motivating and always does things above and beyond. It’s always good to be working with someone like that because it pushes your teaching methods.”

With two educators in Fort McMurray receiving these prestigious awards, it may seem like they are easy awards to attain, but it’s quite the opposite. It involves a thorough review process and is one of the highest awards a teacher can receive in Canada.

In 2013, Syncrude contributed $1 million to help establish the Science and Technology Centre, focused on engineering technologies and industrial trades. Hands-on learning opportunities give students a competitive advantage when applying for post-secondary training and apprenticeships.

 “Without this Science and Technology Centre, we wouldn’t be offering Robotics courses,” says Tom. “The investment by Syncrude is phenomenal. It allows us, and me, to teach the courses we’re teaching.”

The Prime Ministers Awards for Teaching Excellence honour outstanding and innovative elementary and secondary school teachers who instil in their students a love of learning and who utilize information and communications technologies to better equip their students with the knowledge needed to excel in a 21st century society and economy.

Congratulations to Tom on this achievement!

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.