Landrex receives prestigious volunteer award

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Developer's 25-year relationship with not-for-profit recognized

A prominent St. Albert land developer has been recognized for its contribution to the community.

Landrex received the business leader Canada’s Volunteer Award for the prairies region at a ceremony in Ottawa last Thursday, June 9.

The company was nominated by, and recognized for their contribution to, the Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Edmonton, with whom they share a 25-year relationship.

“They’ve been our big brothers for a long time,” said Liz O’Neill, executive director of Big Brothers and Big Sisters. “When we saw this opportunity we thought it was a perfect way to recognize them.”

Landrex helped the local not-for-profit develop its very first Dream Street – a novel concept in the 1990s – shortly after the Boys and Girls Clubs and Big Brothers and Sisters merged. The fourth annual Dream Home Lottery hadn’t raised the money hoped for, so another lottery was being planned for the same year.

The only problem was: there was no land available in St. Albert. That is until O’Neill, a St. Albert resident, noticed a little sign in the snow that read For Lots Call Landrex.

“They immediately invited us to a meeting and they’ve been in our lives ever since,” said O’Neill.

As the eldest of five children and the father of seven, CEO and owner Larry Andrews saw a worthwhile cause and has since helped raise millions of dollars to create safe spaces and provide clothing, meals and positive relationships for thousands of youth.

From day one, O’Neill knew she had found a great partnership. From top to bottom, the entire staff embraced the cause.

“It was really an award that we won because of the work our employees do,” said Ryan Andrews, Landrex business development lead. “It’s also the consistency factor. We’ve never waivered in our support, even when we have a tough year, we’ve supported them.”

Unlike big national corporations, there is no budget line that gets passed down from head office, employees put in time and effort because they believe “the best place to invest is in children with limited opportunities,” he said.

In 2001, Landrex began sponsoring the Big Brothers Big Sisters golf tournament, cancelling its annual corporate thank you lobster dinner to concentrate on the charitable event.

“They care deeply about the children in our organization,” said O’Neill.

Landrex was also recognized for its support of children’s hockey, lacrosse, basketball and other sports in St. Albert, as well as its contribution to further education and research at the University of Alberta, where the Landrex Distinguished Professorship has contributed to the preservation and revitalization of Canada’s indigenous languages and history.

Through the five-year position, which grants an annual research fund of $50,000 to a senior faculty member focused on community issues, Prof. Sally Rice developed a community linguist certificate program at the Canadian Indigenous and Literacy Development Institute, and Prof. Jack Ives has been able to recover information about First Nations in Western Canada dating back to the Ice Age.

St. Albert Chamber of Commerce and former University of Alberta president Indira Samarasekera jointly nominated Landrex with Big Brothers and Big Sisters.

This is the first time a St. Albert business has been recognized by the Canada’s Volunteer Award (formerly the Prime Minister’s Volunteer Award). In its inaugural year of 2012, Lo-Se-Ca received the Social Innovator award, presented to not-for-profits, for the prairies region.

“It’s amazing to be honoured and we are humbled,” said Andrews.

Regional award winners could identify a not-for-profit organization to receive a $5,000 grant. Landrex named Big Brothers Big Sisters of Edmonton.

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Michelle Ferguson