$1 Million invested into community organizations and nonprofits near Wharf Mine
Not every conversation results in a million-dollar community investment, but for Bill Shand, Wharf’s Mine General Manager and I, the journey started about two years ago, when Shand and I started working on long-term planning. We wanted to create a sustainable legacy for Lead that the employees of Goldcorp and Wharf could be proud of.
Although recent investment has extended the Wharf mine’s life by ten years or more, post-mine planning is an ongoing activity at Wharf Mine and every Goldcorp operation. Our concern went beyond environmental reclamation. We were very aware of the negative socio-economic legacies left by some historical mines, and were determined that Goldcorp would do better.
The largest single contribution ever made to the South Dakota Community Foundation
After discussions with the First Interstate Lead-Deadwood Community Foundation, we devised a million-dollar Sustainable Prosperity Fund, intended to benefit non-profit and charitable organizations in Lead and the surrounding area in perpetuity. A few days ago, I had the privilege of making the announcement to a small gathering of business and community leaders in Lead, South Dakota.
I started off by saying that it was like coming to a surprise party knowing the surprise. Most of the individuals in the room had been involved in conversations and meetings that helped formulate our long term sustainable prosperity legacy, but nobody knew the amount that was being considered.
The endowment is the biggest single community investment the Wharf operation has made to date and the largest that the local community foundation has ever received. It is our goal to put $1 million into the fund today and let the fund grow and make periodic contributions as long as Goldcorp’s Wharf property has an economic presence in the area. Before the mine closes, we hope to see the fund increase to $2 million.
These community organizations will use the fund to support community members in the post-mine period. Distributions will be in support of these core funding priorities: Charitable, Educational, Health, Community Development, and Arts and Cultural organizations and activities. The advisory committee will be made up of three Wharf employees and two community leaders. Says Shand, "We are really excited... This answers our question of 'how do we leave a legacy in this community, and what do we want it to be?'"
Supporting local communities first
We feel that Lead is our hometown and they probably endure the most effects of the mining from Wharf. The establishment of the Goldcorp-Wharf Sustainable Prosperity Fund gives us a chance to continue giving back to those organizations doing good things in our community. Says Bob Sutton President of the South Dakota Community Foundation, "This is transformational for a community like Lead. Not only will this fund make a difference today, but it will continue to serve the ever-changing needs of Lead residents for future generations."
I hope that this will encourage other businesses to think about how they will be remembered in the communities where they work.
Ron Everett Administration Manager, Wharf Mine