This week, 35 graduating high-school students in B.C. received $2,500 each from Rogers Communications to attend postsecondary institutions.
These Ted Rogers Scholarships are renewable for up to three more years, which means if the students remain enrolled, they can collect up to $10,000 each.
"One of the premises behind the scholarship awards was to make sure that we’re providing it to people who need it the most," Rick Sellers, B.C. regional president of Rogers, told the Straight by phone.
The recipients came from 15 different B.C. towns and cities and were nominated by 18 different community organizations, including the YMCA, Indspire, and Pflag.
"Three-quarters of the recipients for this year, nationally, are self-identified members in equity-seeking groups, which include Black, Indigenous, people of colour, LGBTQ, et cetera," Sellers said.
He noted that over the past five years in B.C., his company has provided 300 Ted Rogers scholarships worth more than $750,000. Rogers employees' children are also eligible to receive them.
Sellers is also his company's "executive sponsor" for Indigenous peoples across the country.
In this capacity, his goals include making sure that Indigenous employees feel welcome and loved within the organization, as well as fostering and promoting employment through community outreach.
He noted that virtual customer solution centre in Kelowna, which opened last year, just over 17 percent of the employees are Indigenous.
"So from our standpoint, it's not just a matter of hitting a mark or having a certain percentage of employees from different equity-seeking groups, but to actually do something to recruit, develop, promote, and at the same time give back to these communities we live and work and play in," Sellers said.
In 2020, Rogers Communications Inc. reported $1.59-billion in net income on revenues of $13.9 billion.
This level of profitability occurred despite a 23 percent drop in media revenue in the fourth quarter due in part to the delayed start of the NHL and NBA seasons. In addition, wireless service revenue fell by eight percent.
According to the company, this was "mainly a result of lower roaming revenue due to global travel restrictions during COVID-19, and lower overage revenue, primarily as a result of the continued adoption of our Rogers Infinite™ unlimited data plans".