Devon has been a part of the Northern Alberta landscape for nearly a decade. The leading independent energy company launched its first commercial steam assisted gravity drainage (SAGD) operations at the southern end of Wood Buffalo in 2007.

Jackfish, which is named for the Cree translation of two local lakes, has expanded twice since then and earlier this year, the three plants collectively marked an important milestone.

“Our Jackfish complex reached 100 million barrels of cumulative production in Q1 of 2015,” says Craig Buchanan, Devon Canada vice-president of production. “In a relatively short time frame, the Devon team has transformed Jackfish into a world-class asset.”

Devon Canada isn’t just developing its facilities.  The company is committed to investing in charitable initiatives that help people, organizations and communities grow and succeed.

“Devon’s culture is rooted in being a good neighbor and doing the right thing,” says Public Affairs Supervisor, Mike Simpson.  “We want to create supportive environments that nurture success and bring out the best in each of us.”

Six years ago, Devon established three unique grant programs that have helped distribute over $620,000 to schools and organizations across western Canada.

“This is about investing in the regions where we live and work,” says Simpson.  “Whether it is building organizational capacity, inspiring bright young minds or supporting a safe and healthy community, Devon is eager to contribute.”

Every year, beginning in mid January, community and not-for-profit organizations have the opportunity to apply for Devon’s Investing in People (IPP) grant. Ten deserving groups are then selected, each receiving up to $5000 for innovative projects and activities that facilitate organizational capacity building.

“We realize that not-for-profit funding is traditionally stretched between bricks and mortar and program delivery,” explains Simpson.  “Through IPP, we can help support professional development, leadership training and staff appreciation initiatives.  These are the very things that can boost retention and further develop skills.”

In 2015, three of Devon’s IPP awards were allocated to organizations in Northern Alberta.  Bonnyville Health Centre received funding to run Calm Mind and Mindfulness Training workshops for employees, Lloydminster Social Action Coalition Society offered four separate training opportunities for its staff, and Lac La Biche Victim Services, an agency that works alongside the RCMP to support victims of tragedy and crime, used its grant for volunteer training and team jackets.

“When volunteers and employees are well taken care of, it translates into their work,” adds Simpson. “These roles are making a huge difference in our communities so it just makes sense to offer our support.”

Devon also recognizes the value of encouraging budding innovators and contributing to community well-being. The company’s Science Giants grants are offered every spring to schools looking to boost their programming while the Safe and Healthy Communities funding cycle begins in September and supports opportunities to promote safe and healthy lifestyles for individuals, youth and families.

In the last two years, H.E. Bourgoin Middle School in Bonnyville has received grants in both categories.

“This year, Science Giants funding facilitated the purchase a 3D printer and related supplies to improve the school’s math and science curriculum,” says Simpson. “And in 2014, our Safe and Healthy Communities grant helped to expand their in-house Brain Food for Life initiative which offers a handful of strategies to ensure students are adequately fed and equipped to learn.”

By investing in its operating and community communities, Devon is having a positive impact and the company has no intention of changing its priorities.

“We know that there is, and always be a need,” says Simpson.  “Especially this year and probably well into 2016, with commodity Simpsons being what they are and with budgets being trimmed across the board, it is great that we can continue to contribute.”

As a member of the Oil Sands Community Alliance (OSCA), Devon is committed to innovative solutions that help to build thriving communities. Together, OSCA members are ensuring continued regional prosperity and community well-being.