Building diverse relationships of support
KPMG’s interests in Toronto’s communities are as varied and unique as its people. Fortunately for the city, KPMG takes pride in encouraging employees to become active in issues and causes they care about and to leverage their experience, skills and personal interests to work with others, lead change and have a positive impact. “We help our people pursue their individual passions in the community,” confirms Bill Thomas, Chief Executive Officer & Senior Partner of KPMG’s Americas Region. “KPMG is an organization that believes in involvement and works with our employees to support them in those efforts.”
Partnership with United Way offers opportunities for engagement of all kinds. Some members of the KPMG workforce connect directly with a need by visiting and volunteering at a funded agency or spearheading a specific community-focused initiative. Others provide professional counsel through United Way secondments or board memberships. In every case, KPMG employees make a difference, building new, productive relationships that help others, while furthering their personal and professional growth.
“Our people feel that their opportunities to build active, supportive relationships in the community are embodied by what United Way is achieving in this city,” says Bill Thomas. “When you marry up the diversity of their passions with the various causes that the United Way is involved with, that’s a home run for our team.”
KPMG also runs an employee campaign for United Way that exemplifies fundraising best practices. They do this, in part, by employing a grassroots approach, enabling people to choose strategies best suited to their team spirit and culture. As the executive sponsor for KPMG’s GenNext, a group of young professionals who act as ambassadors for United Way, Laura Croucher, Partner, KPMG Canada, knows the kind of contribution a made-to-order approach can make. “These young professionals have so much energy and excitement, so many ideas to support the community,” she says. “They model creative commitment and show how youth—our future leaders—are really into philanthropy and getting involved.”
KPMG‘s significant investment in United Way, explains Beth Wilson, Toronto Managing Partner, is founded on respect and trust. “United Way is an organization steeped in the rigour of research and expertise. Consequently, we know that our employees’ support for the campaign is going to have the right kind of impact addressing underlying social issues.”
KPMG’s impressive dedication is also realized in their vital role furthering the research that is so integral to United Way’s work. Currently, KPMG is a key partner in a study on the rise of temporary and contract work that sometimes leads to unstable incomes and social challenges. Says Laura Croucher, “United Way had the academic piece but needed the voice of the employer. KPMG saw an opportunity to provide expertise and include employers in the process as we together look to develop solutions. This important project is just another way that KPMG is able to partner with United Way and support our community.”
“United Way is a great way to get closer to the community and to develop leadership skills,” says Kristy Carscallen, Chief Human Resources Officer. As co-chair of the employee campaign (together with Silvia Montefiore, Partner, and Preeti Varma, Senior Accountant, Technology, Media & Telecommunications) she’s seen firsthand the opportunities that the relationship affords. “It provides all kinds of on-the-job learning, resulting in better presence, presentation and management skills, which are all transferable to the work we do.”