For more than 50 years, offices across the PCL family of companies have partnered with United Way to host workplace campaigns supporting the communities where we live, work and play.

As the COVID-19 pandemic plunged communities into crisis, our annual giving campaigns became more essential than ever. Many workplaces have been unable to participate in their usual philanthropic activities. Yet even a global pandemic couldn’t stop PCL from coming together – safely, of course – to support the community.

“While this past year tested us in more ways than we could have imagined, we knew our community needed us more than ever,” said Marc Pascoli, PCL Toronto’s vice president and district manager and 2020 United Way campaign chair. “As an employee-owned company that’s passionate about our community, it was important for us to step up to the challenge of running a virtual campaign.”

The result? For its first-ever virtual campaign, PCL Toronto raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for United Way and even won a leadership award, the 2020 Leading the Way Award, from United Way Halton & Hamilton. 

Typically, workplace campaigns are opportunities for in-person events, speakers and celebrations. Despite the limitations of the pandemic, and a workforce divided between remote and in-person essential work, it was crucial to integrate opportunities to engage and bring employees together.

With a focus on creating an interactive space where employees could share stories and engage virtually with their peers, PCL Toronto’s employee-led United Way committee developed accessible fundraising events. 

Beginning with a ceremonial virtual kickoff, the committee organized social media-like activities and contests to spread awareness about the campaign. For the Whose Desk challenge, PCLers tried to match photos of office desks with their respective owners, while Trivial Pursuit PCL Edition had participants answering trivia questions about PCL and United Way. In addition to employee pledges and virtual fundraising events, the committee sent mason jars for donation collections to all project sites throughout the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area. Following COVID-19 health and safety measures, teams collected 250 pounds of change worth over $2,200.

The three-week campaign was a hit – with people throughout the office, from students to executives, participating in the events, with the challenges receiving more than 200 entries. To top it off, for every fundraising milestone we reached, a senior manager humbly volunteered to perform a surprise challenge that was filmed and shared with all employees.  

In total, PCL Toronto’s virtual campaign saw employees collectively donate more than $162,000 of their own funds to United Way and other charities important to them. Combined with special events and PCL’s corporate donation, PCL Toronto’s 2020 United Way campaign raised over $328,000. 

In recognition of our leadership and commitment to community giving, United Way Halton & Hamilton presented PCL Toronto with a 2020 Leading the Way Award in a virtual campaign celebration held March 31, 2021.

“We couldn’t do this without all of our committed and tireless supporters who have ignited workplace and community campaigns and dug deep to make individual contributions in a time of uncertainty,” said Brad Park, president and CEO of UWHH. “It’s because of incredible corporate citizens like PCL Construction that United Way is able to help those who need it most.”

The Leading the Way Award is presented to United Way partners that emphasize leadership giving, setting the tone for an inspired workplace campaign. PCL Toronto was one of nine workplaces to receive a Leading the Way Award in honor of its dedication to changing people’s lives.

“As construction leaders and active community members, our 2020 campaign is a testament to PCL’s resilience and commitment to giving back to our communities,” said Marc Pascoli. “Initiatives like United Way motivate us to build healthy and strong communities, together.”