I have lived in Calgary for most of my life. This is where I grew up, went to school, and raised my beautiful daughter. This city of new beginnings, of hope and resilience, of unquestionable generosity and undeniable entrepreneurial spirit – this city we call home.
When the Bow and Elbow rivers overflowed their banks in June 2013, I watched in awe as Calgarians came together to help those impacted by the flood, no questions asked. I witnessed community members rallying around friends and neighbours, offering them a warm meal and a place to stay. Ankle deep in muddy waters, surrounded by debris and destroyed family heirlooms, complete strangers suddenly became friends. It served as a wonderful reminder that Calgary is a city that believes in itself.
That experience was a game-changer for me.
Today, as President and CEO of United Way of Calgary and Area, I have the opportunity to work alongside some of the most hard-working and inspiring individuals who are determined to build a great city for all. I couldn’t be prouder of my city, or the countless heroes who spend their days tirelessly working to ensure Calgarians overcome poverty, help kids succeed, and build strong communities.
This is one of the reasons why we are partnering with Local Laundry. We are always on the lookout for community partners who share our desire to make our city a better place to live. We are so excited about this new partnership; one that will see 10 per cent of profits from the Local Laundry Community Collection donated to United Way, and invested back into our community.
Because, the truth is, our community needs us. Here’s why - one in 10 Calgarians lives in poverty, one in every five youth does not complete high school on time, and one in every three Calgarians doesn’t feel like they belong in their community. Those are the facts and this is why we, as a community, have to come together to make a difference.
Last year, United Way partnered with 104 agencies on 178 programs to support more than 178,000 Calgarians. That’s a lot of moving parts, and a lot of work by thousands of dedicated individuals. All this work would have been impossible without the financial support of 34,000 Calgarians who donated to the United Way. While that number might seem high, in a city of 1.2 million people, it only amounts to less than 3 per cent of the population. To us at United Way, this means we have to work harder by getting more Calgarians to participate.
At the beginning of September, we launched our city-wide fundraising campaign. The theme of the campaign “I am Calgary. We are all Calgary.” is a reflection of this city and every single person living in it. Its primary purpose is to remind us that we are part of a city of over a million people, a community that can make a difference when we work together. It reminds us that whether you donate to United Way, access services provided by United Way or its partner agencies, or volunteer your time, you are Calgary.
We are inviting all Calgarians to participate in our campaign. Grab your favorite Local Laundry Community t-shirt and post a photo using our hashtag #weareallcalgary; take a selfie with our CTrain mirrored “I am Calgary” posters located on platforms throughout the city; or simply, help us spread the word that together…We are all Calgary.
Back to Kathleen here! Tune in next week to see what we have on the blog next! If you are someone you know would like to be a guest blogger on our blog drop us a line! Chat at chaaa next week Calgary - stay local!