As we wrap up another year at Safe Software, one principle that has remained in our core values is investing in the community around us. With the added complexities of the ongoing pandemic, we decided to take action by supporting various initiatives outside of the company while operating remotely. Safe Software is a company that gives back to the community around us. At Safe Software, we are cultivating the habit of giving – giving with intention.
There have been many charitable causes that Safe has supported through the year, some of which you can read about in last year’s Safe in the Community post. In 2021, we chose to focus much of our giving efforts with a more holistic and inclusive lens, focusing on:
- Our local Surrey, BC community,
- Access to technology and education, and
- Supporting those who are underserved in our community.
Equality and Accessibility within our Local Community
Safe facilitated several internal fundraisers to collect donations from our staff for local organizations to address the needs within our local community. Many of these organizations we support play an important role in Surrey to increase accessibility to food, resources, and support networks. We believe that everyone should have equal access to food, resources and support networks. Equality matters.
Safe Software supports communities in Surrey and wants to create a positive social impact on them. The following are community initiatives by Safe Software:
Safe’s IT team regularly hosts Safe IT Auctions throughout the year. These auctions raise funds for various charities by auctioning off older computers and IT equipment to staff members to repurpose for personal use. This also upcycles hardware to minimize environmental impacts. The collected bids are pooled and donated to a carefully selected cause.
This year’s auctions were largely focused on:
- The Surrey Food Bank, an organization that supplies nutritious meals to families.
- The Fraser Region Aboriginal Friendship Centre Association (FRAFCA), an organization for Indigenous people seeking a place of support, healing, and advocacy.
- The Abbotsford Disaster Relief Fund, an initiative that supports local agencies that are on the front-lines of the tragic damages caused from mass flooding in Fraser Valley.
Surrey Christmas Bureau Adopt-A-Family Program
Another annual tradition that Safe participates in is the Surrey Christmas Bureau Adopt-A-Family program. Safe collects staff donations and transforms them into purchases of warm clothing, school supplies, groceries, and bus passes for families in Surrey, British Columbia. For the 15th consecutive year, Safe has worked closely with teachers of the MB Sanford Elementary School. These teachers volunteer their time to purchase these items for students and their families over the holidays. This year, with the support of our staff, we were able to raise over $10,000 to provide for ten families.
Mary Jane Shannon Breakfast & Lunch Program
Additionally, Safe understands the importance of accessibility to nutrition and resources to help fuel their energy to learn and grow. Safe wants to see the children within the Surrey community thrive. The Mary Jane Shannon Breakfast & Lunch Program is a Surrey School District-led initiative that Safe has supported even in pre-pandemic times. This program supports youth attending the Mary Jane Shannon Elementary School with a healthy breakfast and/or lunch throughout the academic year.
Despite shifting to a remote learning platform in early 2020, volunteers of the Breakfast & Lunch Program found ways to creatively distribute meals to their students. Food found its way to these kids via drive-by pick up on school grounds.To date, Safe Software has donated $9,900 CAD over the course of 3 years from 2019 November through November 2021.
Healthcare Amidst the Pandemic
The pandemic has drawn attention to the important work that our healthcare professionals do in the face of unprecedented adversity. Since our donation to the Surrey Memorial Hospital in 2018, Safe has continued to support families with loved ones in hospice by contributing to organizations like the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of Canada as well as the Ronald McDonald House Adopt-a-Room Program at Surrey Memorial. This year, we were thrilled to be able to continue our support of these organizations in their efforts to provide resources and facilities to families with children in hospice.
Safe Software’s donation to the Surrey Memorial Hospital helped to build this children outpatient centre!
Access to Technology and Education
As a growing software company in BC’s thriving technology industry, we’ve made a commitment to empower our female leaders of tomorrow. Two initiatives that we have stood by over the last several years are the Science World Girls and Steam Program and SFU Technovation.
Science World Girls and Steam Program
The Science World Girls and STEAM Program provides a space for self-identifying girls aged 11 to 16 to learn more about a variety of scientific topics and careers in science and technology at no cost. Jam-packed with workshops, hands-on activities, panel discussions, and an interactive industry showcase, our staff have regularly had the chance to volunteer for this event. In the upcoming 2022 event, a few of our Safers will be sharing their expertise with girls across Canada in the Mentorship Cafe!
The SFU Technovation Challenge is a global tech entrepreneurship competition for young women. Through this challenge, young women will gain skills and mentorship by building a mobile app to address problems in the community. We’ve really enjoyed dedicating the time to offer technical feedback on mobile app ideas and encouraging further exploration of careers in development and technology until the challenge’s final year in 2020. We also offer internships for students to grow.
Safe Software co-founders Dale Lutz and Don Murray with participants from the SFU Technovation Challenge
Supporting Those Who are Underserved in our Community
2021 was a year filled with self-reflection and learning about the privileges that each of us and Safe Software have day-to-day. We recognize that there are inequities that exist. This is true in the availability of resources to members of underserved and underrepresented groups in our community. As a first step to support these communities, in tandem with our recently created Diversity and Inclusion Committee, we have identified several organizations to focus our efforts and resources for this calendar year.
Supporting Indigenous Communities
After learning about the 1,300+ mass graves discovered on the grounds of former residential schools across Canada, we’ve continued our commitment towards supporting Indigenous communities. With the D&I Committee leading our internal initiatives, we were able to match every dollar donated by employees to:
- The Indian Residential School Survivors Society, an organization that supports Residential School Survivors, their families, and those dealing with Intergenerational trauma by providing essential services.
- The Legacy of Hope Foundation, which provides education to raise awareness about the history and intergenerational impacts of the Residential School System
- Reconciliation Canada, an organization that brings awareness and dialogue on reconciliation amongst Indigenous peoples and Canadians.
Brian Nadjiwon Memorial Scholarship
Safe is always looking for ways to provide continued learning opportunities for underserved youth. We believe they deserve to have the resources to pursue their post-secondary educational dreams. This year, we began our pledge to support the Brian Nadjiwon Memorial Scholarship, in memoriam of Brian Nadjiwon who was an IT and Geography student at Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU) and also a member of the Chippewas of Nawash Unceded First Nation. This scholarship provides financial support for students who self-identify as Indigenous and are enrolled in a geoscience program at a BC post-secondary institution.
Diversity: Diversifying to Support More
As we wrap up the year, we aim to continue supporting charities that have held close to us for many years. It is more than just CSR. At the same time, we are looking to continue diversifying our outreach. We are constantly searching for new opportunities to support our community. What charities or organizations do you want to see Safe support next year? Let us know in the comments!