Mining4Life has raised over $11 million for charity

This annual charity challenge is a fun and important fundraising event and a chance for the industry to give back

by Karen Kornelsen

The Mining4Life Charity Challenge has once again shown the true colours of the Canadian and international mining community with the fourth annual event, which took place in March. Mining4Life has officially raised more than $11 million for charity in the past four years; this is a huge testament to the giving and caring nature of an industry that operates worldwide.

The event is held at the end of the annual Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) convention in Toronto, Ontario. It brings together CEOs and senior executives from world-class mining organizations. Between 60 and 80 companies are represented, ranging from mining companies to banks and law, engineering and accounting firms.

Highlighting an essential focus

Today, successful mining companies must demonstrate a commitment to the development and social well-being of the communities in which they do business. Mining4Life supports this objective by raising much-needed funds for worthwhile organizations that contribute to the health and well-being of children and adults around the globe.

The Mining4Life Charity Challenge is a night of fun with a serious aspect—with industry representatives coming together to play Texas Hold’em poker while raising funds to support some incredible organizations.

Bringing awareness of the positives

Aaron Regent, co-chair and one of the founders of the event, said the idea for creating the charity challenge came from an issue that the whole mining industry deals with—and that's their reputation both domestically and internationally.

"It continues to be a challenge as it relates to our activities around the world," he said. "It's very frustrating to us as an industry because we see first-hand the positives and benefits that mining brings to not only countries but communities around the world. We are developing jobs, developing infrastructure, paying taxes and providing schools. We are very proud of what our industry does in improving the lives of literally hundreds of thousands of people around the world."

Targeted contributions

The charities that Mining4Life raises funds for are the SickKids Foundation in Toronto, SickKids International (global) and the BC Children’s Hospital Foundation.
For the SickKids Foundation, a portion of the funds raised in 2012 were allocated to the new Research and Learning Tower that is slated for completion in 2013. The tower will house the SickKids Research Institute, one of North America’s largest and most productive hospital-based research centres, with almost 2,000 staff working on more than 2,000 funded research projects and 2,400 clinical trials in children’s health.

In regards to SickKids International, the organization engages in global opportunities to enhance child health and build system capacity. The funds from Mining4Life have allowed SickKids’ knowledgeable and experienced health-care professionals to work with partners around the world to strengthen local health systems serving vulnerable communities in low- and middle-income countries.

Then there's the BC Children's Hospital Foundation, which is the only full-service pediatric acute-care hospital in British Columbia. BC Children’s Hospital serves the one million children living in B.C. and Yukon. Part of the funds raised through Mining4Life will support the BC Children’s Hospital Foundation’s Campaign for B.C. Children—a $200-million initiative supporting the construction of a new BC Children’s Hospital and the expansion of Child Health BC, a program aimed at improving access to pediatric care throughout the province.

A personal perspective

Regent was a board member for the SickKids Foundation for nine years.

"It's just such a great organization and hospital, just like BC Children's," said Regent. "When I was on the board, every time you walk into the hospital and you meet the people that work there—the doctors—and they tell you what they're doing, you're incredibly humbled and awe-inspired by their work. It's very motivating in wanting to help raise funds to support them and the clinical research and work they're doing. It's a terrific organization."

Building on a good thing

Ninety per cent of the proceeds of the Mining4Life Charity Challenge go to these charities. Regent said it's one of the most efficient fundraisers out there and to hold it at the end of the PDAC convention is good timing, as a huge part of the mining world has already come together.

"We're very proud of this event," said Regent. "But it's not only the money we raise that's having a real impact, but it's become a go-to event for the mining industry as well. Wherever you have an industry come together and have discussions, good things come out of it. We're really pleased with the way things have unfolded."

To have raised over $11 million in the last four years is no small feat. And when you think of how mining companies are giving back to their communities every day of the year, it makes you realize the even bigger scope of the industry's contributions.

"We are trying to show communities from around the world what the mining industry does and its generosity," said Regent. "This event is just a small component though, as every mining company has their own programs which can be quite extensive and broad. But all play on the same theme—supporting communities where there are mining operations. So this event is just an extension of that: a way for us to highlight the positives, the generosity and the spirit the mining industry has."

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