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Calgary tech company instilling corporate social responsibility through intern program

Calgary tech company Arcurve believes in giving back to the community – so much so, they’re instilling it in the young people who intern with them.

The full-service tech company has been in Calgary for 15 years, delivering digital strategy and sustainment services. They’ve grown to 200 employees in Calgary, with hubs across Canada and in the US.

Along with that growth is an internship program that now boasts 20 participants, according to Dani Finch, marketing and communications coordinator for Arcurve.

That’s where they begin the corporate social responsibility exposure.

“Every year, our interns do a CSR project, Corporate Social Responsibility project, and that’s something completely unrelated to technology, or it can be completely unrelated to technology,” she said.

“It’s meant to instill that sense of community, a sense of giving back.”

Interns are to identify a cause or a charity and find a way to raise awareness or funds for that group.

Two of this year’s groups picked Calgary’s Inn from the Cold, a non-profit dedicated to assisting vulnerable families in need. One partnered with the Friday Sock Company to produce limited edition socks connected to both tech and housing. The other worked with Fratello coffee to sell beans.

A third group held a mini-golf tournament and raised money for Education Matters. That group outsold their event, with 130 in attendance.

“It’s not just about coming to work every day and doing technology work,” Finch said.

“It’s also about how we can kind of contribute and make it better for the people around us.”

Impact for Inn from the Cold

Jennifer English, manager of fund development for Inn from the Cold, said one of the interns had started volunteering with their organization. They brought up the idea of doing the project with the proceeds going to Inn from the Cold.

Inn from the Cold provides social services support and temporary emergency shelter for Calgary families in need. English said there are around 180 families experiencing homelessness on any given night in Calgary.

They’re one of the few agencies in Calgary that handle children in these situations, English said.

“When we talk about the impact, that’s kind of what we’re looking at supporting and helping, so those funds go towards that,” she said.

It’s part of a growing trend in their fundraising efforts, too. They do host their own fundraisers, but a growing number of groups are doing their own to help Inn from the Cold.

They’ve created a third-party fundraising portal that allows groups, like the interns from Arcurve, to help raise much-needed cash to help. English said they help by providing a package that includes marketing and communications materials to support.

“It’s got a lot of freedom in it. There’s a lot of ability to be creative.”

English said there’s a lot of competition for charity dollars out there. This is one way to support those groups wanting to give back.

Tech industry giving back as it grows           

Finch said Calgary’s tech industry is a hot place to be. It’s attracting people from all over Canada and the world.

She said they can follow in the footsteps of Calgary’s oil and gas companies who have, for decades, given back to the city’s charity community.

It starts when both the industry – and its employees – are young. She said the company’s founders believed strongly in corporate social responsibility when they first started out.

“When you are just starting out in an industry, it means that those are things that you’ll take with you as you climb the ladder and as you grow,” she said.

“We can kind of teach them this corporate social responsibility piece. That’s something that will continue to grow in Calgary and beyond.”

The intern groups term ends at the end of August, but the socks and coffee are still available.