Al-Terra’s culture of charitable giving connects on a personal level.
By Kelly Persaud
Each year the team at Al-Terra and EDA appoint one or two staff members to lead our employee charity drive. After working with Al-Terra for 2 years, I was chosen as a co-leader for the 2019 campaign, alongside Dominic Dion.
Typically, the charity co-leaders will send an email to the entire team, suggesting a list of organizations and providing a case for support. Based on this shortlist, each team member is given a vote. The charity that receives the most votes is selected as our Charity of Choice for the year.
I was personally surprised, and deeply touched when the senior leadership team opted to forego the voting process. They decided that the Rett Syndrome Society would be Al-Terra’s 2019 Charity of Choice. This was an extremely heartwarming gesture by Al-Terra, as I have an 11 year old daughter, Lennox, who lives with Rett Syndrome.
There is a very good chance that you have not heard of Rett Syndrome. It is a rare genetic neurological and developmental disorder that affects the way the brain develops, causing a progressive inability to use the muscles responsible for eye and body movements, as well as speech. For some reason, it occurs almost exclusively in girls.
Together with Dominic, I eagerly took on my duties as a charity co-leader and began planning events to help raise funds for a cause that is near and dear to our family.
One of the biggest and most successful events was dubbed Pi(e) Day. It was held on March 14th – a date that celebrates that famous mathematical constant, pi (pi =3.14… get it?).
Employees were encouraged to “pie” their colleagues. Money was raised by purchasing pies, by paying for immunity from being pied, by learning who donated to pie you, through collaborative pie-ing, and a whole bunch of on-the-fly “rules.” The Pi(e) Day event alone raised over $13,000!! Considering Al-Terra and EDA have just under 50 staff members between us, this was unbelievable to me, and still is!!
Additional events included an NHL loser pool, the Minute-to-Win-it Olympiads, and other small fundraisers around the office. Staff also participated in the RSSA Ride Or Stride fundraiser walk and the Rett Syndrome Charity Hockey Tournament.
In total, our team members raised just over $19,000 for the Rett Syndrome. Al-Terra generously matched this amount with a $19,000 corporate donation – resulting in an overall contribution of nearly $40,000.
Since the Rett Syndrome Society of Alberta is currently in the process of applying for official charitable status, the majority of funds raised were directed to the https://www.rett.ca/news/al-terra-engineering-charity-drive-raises-over-30000-for-the-hope-fund/, which is directing money towards research for a cure.
I have never been a part of such a supportive group of people or an organization where yearly charity drives are a part of the culture. It’s just what they do. Even when economic conditions are less than ideal, Al-Terra finds a way to make it happen. It’s unreal to be a part of.
From our family, and from all of the other families living with Rett Syndrome, I’d like to thank the teams at Al-Terra, EDA and ORSA for all of our efforts. With your help, it is my hope that one day our loved ones will be fully able to express themselves the way they want.
Kelly Persaud is a member of the Al-Terra Engineering team and works in our Municipal Engineering division. His daughter Lennox is an inspiration to us all.
To learn more, or to make a donation, visit the Ontario Rett Syndrome Association website