There’s no doubt that small businesses form the backbone of most communities. In fact, of the 1.23 million employer businesses operating in Canada at the beginning of 2020, 97.9 percent of those were classified as small businesses. These are the companies that not only employ people, but they also contribute to the fabric of the community through their donations and sponsorships.
They may not always get the recognition they deserve for being such important community partners, but that’s rarely the reason behind the generosity of owners and staff. For a company like Carleton Refrigeration, Heating and Air Conditioning, for example, corporate social responsibility initiatives in and around the Ottawa Valley area are fuelled by a genuine desire to contribute while making a difference in the lives of local people and families.
“The community has been very good to our company in supporting a local business,” said Tracy Burgess, Service Manager at Carleton Refrigeration. “As a result, we want to give back to a community that supports us.”
Established in 1973, Carleton Refrigeration has over the years been a strong advocate for multiple community causes including February’s annual Hearth Month. This year Carleton partnered with the Ottawa Heart Institute on a matching gift program that generated over $15,000 for the cause.
“This year their campaign slogan was The Gift of Time, referring to the time people get to spend with their families and grandchildren as a result of being saved,” said Burgess. “The institute helps a lot of people in the area, and we think that’s a great cause to contribute to.”
The Food Bank is another one of the community organizations supported by the team at Carleton Refrigeration. Besides the many hours of volunteer time contributed by staff members, Carleton Refrigeration also offers a vehicle to help transport donations collected at grocery stores. The donations are not only helpful to the Food Bank and its clientele, but they’re also a source of great pride for Carleton’s staff.
“Our employees are constantly talking about the fact that we’re a family business and we’re a team,” said Burgess. “Whenever they see these types of contributions and people in the community mention to them that they see the work they’re doing, it makes them extremely proud to be a part of it.”
With COVID-19 restrictions limiting public interactions, many charitable causes are having difficultly delivering on their mandates. The ongoing support of local small businesses like Carleton Refrigeration continues to be an important thread in the community fabric.