Saluting the organizations and individuals who are working to create better lives in Calgary and Area.

It was a privilege and an honour to spotlight the nearly 700 organizations, and tens of thousands of Calgarians who gave of their time, talent, and resources in support of United Way of Calgary and Area in 2023.

We came together to celebrate one of the most successful fundraising campaigns in United Way’s 84-year history, including the largest individual gift on record, $10 million from Sharon Siebens. The 2023 campaign raised $58.1 million – the second highest amount ever raised by United Way of Calgary and Area’s history.

The 2023 Community Impact Awards wouldn’t have been possible without the hard work and energy of our team at United Way, our outstanding host Connor Curran, our house band Brass Tactics, and this year’s sponsors: Imperial, McCarthy Tétrault, AltaLink, and geoLOGIC systems ltd.

The 2023 campaign saw a 10 per cent increase in volunteers involved in the campaign, demonstrating Calgary’s can-do spirit and the power of many to improve local lives. We could not have made the impact we did without the nearly 15,000 volunteers. Thank you for giving your time, talent, and energy in 2023.

  • Karen Young, announcing the 2023 campaign achievement, $58.1 million.

  • Imperial – President’s Award

  • Power of One – Justin Turc & Ashley Wilson, McCarthy Tétrault LLP

  • 2024 Campaign Co-Chairs, Susan O’Brien and Vivek Warrier

  • Members of the Board

  • Jason Ribeiro & Jackson McDonough – Culbert Family Award for Philanthropy

  • Emcee Connor Curran and Karen Young, President and CEO

Announcing our 2023 Community Impact Awards Recipients:

The Culbert Family Award for Philanthropy:
The Culbert Family Award for Philanthropy recognizes Calgarians shaping the future through their work in the community and charitable giving. Two deserving young community leaders are awarded $2,000 to invest in furthering their education and philanthropic endeavours.

Recipients: Jackson McDonough and Jason Ribero
Jackson McDonough created and launched Beacons of Hope, which supports at-risk youth in partnership with the Calgary Police Youth Foundation and YouthLink. The initiative aims to support local police and build trust and confidence in the community, culminating in a day-long festival at McMahon Stadium in May of 2023. The youth-focused event offered entertainment, games, displays from Calgary Police and food trucks. To date, Beacons of Hope has raised more than $150,000. Jackson is also active within United Way’s Gen Next program, creating a casual event that brought together 85 young professionals to learn more about giving with United Way and creating the future of philanthropy in Calgary.

Jason Ribero is the creator of Surge ASSIST, a collaboration between the Calgary Surge Professional Basketball Club and Kids Up Front Calgary. Together, they ensure that kids who love basketball but do not have the means to attend a game can experience professional basketball for free. Surge ASSIST raised $100,000 from corporations and donors in Calgary, allowing them to help 49 local charities and send nearly 1,000 deserving kids to basketball games. The initiative also distributed hundreds of souvenir t-shirts and removed transportation and food barriers to ensure everyone was able to take part.

President’s Award:
Honouring an organization for its exceptional contribution to United Way and our community, the President’s award recognizes the recipient for their inspiring efforts in supporting our city.

Recipient: Imperial
Imperial’s campaign is a beacon of community support, embodying a five-star initiative teeming with vibrant events, impactful Day of Caring® endeavours, and robust retiree engagement activities. Their annual golf tournament proved a standout, contributing an impressive additional $300,000 to the cause. The commitment to philanthropy extends to the highest levels of leadership, with CEO Brad Corson joining the Board of Directors for United Way of Calgary and Area.

The Award of Excellence:
This award recognizes candidates that have demonstrated outstanding and innovative campaigns with active leadership giving programs and a commitment to making Calgary a resilient and caring community where everyone thrives. There are two sub-categories: candidates with more than 250 employees and candidates with fewer than 250 employees.

Recipient (Over 250): Tourmaline
Tourmaline embarked on an innovative journey in 2023 by launching their inaugural @WORK campaign, marking a significant milestone in their partnership with Planet Youth Calgary. Their campaign ethos resonates with vitality and inclusivity, building a culture of giving and connection. From raffles to creative initiatives like calendar sales and rock and roll trivia, the campaign was lively, further enhanced by cross-divisional teamwork and a spirited scavenger hunt. Tourmaline’s unwavering dedication to making a difference epitomizes the essence of community and collaboration.

Recipient (Under 250): NuVista Energy
Transitioning to a spring campaign, NuVista Energy embarked on a creative trajectory, introducing their version of ‘Plinko,’ which has since become adopted by numerous workplaces. Demonstrating a commendable upward trajectory, NuVista witnessed a rise in overall donations and contributions from major- and leadership-level donors year over year. Their campaign thrived under strong management support, underscoring the organization’s commitment to philanthropy and community engagement. Their effort exemplifies a proactive stance in driving positive change and fostering a culture of giving.

Power of One:
Power of One recognizes volunteers who have exceeded expectations in creating greater awareness of United Way through their involvement and initiative in their workplace campaign.

Recipients: Justin Turc and Ashley Wilson – McCarthy Tétrault LLP
Justin Turc and Ashley Wilson epitomize the essence of volunteerism and dedication within the United Way of Calgary and Area community. As co-chairs for the McCarthy Tétrault LLP campaign, their remarkable leadership was pivotal in securing the coveted Award of Excellence at the 2022 Community Impact Awards. The pair was instrumental in empowering articling students to spearhead the campaign, nurturing an ethos of inclusivity and offering invaluable leadership opportunities. Their commitment to fostering a culture of engagement is evident in the remarkable achievement of over 90% staff participation. They actively participate in events throughout the year, including a memorable full luncheon kick-off for staff, reinforcing their status as ambassadors of the United Way mission.

Quantum Leap:
This award recognizes organizations and their employees who have achieved significant growth in the current year over the previous year, including an increase in both funds raised and number of donors. Candidates also demonstrated outstanding management support. We have selected two exceptional companies for the Quantum Leap Award – one in the over 250 employees category and a second in the under 250 employees category.

Recipient (Over 250): Canadian Natural
Celebrating remarkable growth and unwavering dedication, Canadian Natural elevated their funds raised from $2 million in 2022 to an impressive $2.8 million in 2023, reflecting their steadfast commitment to making a difference in the community. With a big increase in matching contributions, Canadian Natural’s campaign shines as a beacon of excellence, marked by a constellation of events, Days of Caring initiatives, and more. Their campaign serves as a testament to their commitment to driving positive change and fostering a culture of compassion.

Recipient (Under 250): Keywest Projects Ltd.
Keywest Projects saw their campaign achievement soar to new heights in 2023, witnessing an impressive increase of more than $75,000, propelled by generous contributions from their CEO and other leaders. Notably, the donor base experienced a slight expansion, reflecting the organization’s growing influence and reach. Keywest Projects distinguished themselves through robust engagement initiatives, including virtual mental health-focused activities and a speaking event featuring Keywest’s leadership on why they choose United Way. Their campaign was enriched by a diverse array of special events, fostering solidarity among employees. Keywest Projects’ outstanding achievements underscores their dedication to making a meaningful difference in the lives of others.

Spirit of Volunteerism, Education, and Engagement:
The Spirit of Volunteerism award recognizes organizations with remarkable creativity and passion in engaging employees during their United Way campaign.

Recipient: Enbridge
The Enbridge campaign was characterized by a wealth of creative initiatives and engagement. Hosting a diverse range of activities, including four virtual reality sessions, the spirited Community Games, and a Casino Night, Enbridge ensured meaningful involvement from their team. Their dedication to service shone through during five impactful Days of Caring, cementing their commitment to making a positive difference in the community. Enbridge’s campaign was marked by a series of innovative and enjoyable events, such as a highly successful golf tournament that generated over $190,000 in contributions. Their engagement with United Way remained unwavering, as evidenced by a heartfelt cheque presentation and the thoughtful inclusion of United Way representatives at events like the Grandstand Show during Stampede. Enbridge’s enthusiastic approach, coupled with their openness to innovation and continuous improvement, embodies the true spirit of giving back and making a lasting impact year after year.

If you or your organization shares our passion for creating positive change, we encourage you to join our mission. A United Way campaign can bring your team together to make our communities better for everyone. Our team would love to talk about the ways you can inspire, build, and engage with your team. Find out how you can collaborate with us to create a better tomorrow for everyone in 2024.

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