The power of giving back

September is a special month in our city. It is a time to pause and think of those in need, a time to rally together to show our Calgary spirit, a time to tackle the inequalities holding our community back. And while this year it may once again look a little different than it did before COVID-19, it’s still an important time to celebrate, because September is United Way Month in Calgary.

Despite the fact that we are all still dealing with the impacts of COVID-19, we have some fun activities planned to safely celebrate United Way month this year. But before we get to those, we caught up with our 2021 Campaign Co-Chairs, Michael Crothers and Janet Soles, to ask them some questions around the importance of United Way Month in our city.


What does United Way Month mean to you—especially in this time of greater need due to the COVID-19 pandemic?

Janet: September is the core time for kicking off campaign activities, team building, and connecting with the community. The rigor with which United Way’s campaign team works is remarkable, and it is encouraging to see the continued commitment from thoughtful Calgarians year after year. The most exciting part of United Way Month for me is watching organizations and employees from various industries engage and address the needs that exist in Calgary today. It is incredibly inspiring to see Calgarians come together with United Way to support our neighbors and community members, especially at a time when the COVID-19 pandemic is still a very real part of our lives.

Michael: United Way Month surfaces a wide range of emotions for me: there is certainly an element of anticipation and excitement to see so many dedicated volunteers and thousands of Calgarians mobilizing to support our community. It makes me feel very grateful to see so many caring people. Mostly, though, the United Way kickoff helps me reflect on the vulnerable people and families in need across our city, instilling a deep commitment to help. Many Calgarians are still facing a lot of stress and uncertainty due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but it is reassuring to know that we are able to come together and support them.

Why is giving back to the community important for you personally?

Michael: “I feel that we all have a part to play in contributing to a healthy society and building the type of caring community where we want to live and grow. Extending compassion and kindness to each other connects us as people. Thriving communities are the result of those connections and engagement.”

Janet: “It has been a privilege to be a donor and a volunteer with United Way for many years. As a mom I’m motivated to participate with my family in giving back to the community where we have had the opportunity to live. It is meaningful to me that we as a family understand the challenges that people in our city are facing. United Way has provided me with the chance to learn and gain an appreciation for the compassionate work that takes place within our community, and I am happy to advocate for this phenomenal organization and the city I am proud to live in.”

What do you see as United Way’s importance in the community?

Janet: “United Way has been a leading organization and voice for decades highlighting the urgent needs that exist within our community. In 2020, United Way helped 430,377 individuals build better lives. I admire how the organization has addressed significant issues in our community, including poverty, mental health, intergenerational trauma, social isolation, and domestic violence. Through innovative approaches, United Way has been a leader in working on solutions to these complex social issues and effectively collaborating with community partners. United Way continues to have an amazing impact by supporting and tackling issues head-on.”

Michael: “United Way is a powerful force for good in Calgary, bringing the capacity and expertise to not only meet urgent needs today, but the resources to tackle the underlying causes of social issues. United Way is there when our families and neighbours need help and is part of what makes Calgary a wonderful place to live. It is this ability to understand needs across such a wide spectrum—be that education, poverty, domestic violence, mental health, and much more—and then step up to help meet those needs in a coordinated and effective way which makes United Way such an important part of Calgary.”

We are very grateful to have these two amazing community role models leading the charge with us this year to help create ripples of positive impact that swell to waves of change!

How you can take part in United Way Month


Kick off the celebration with us

Join us on Wednesday, September 8 and be united for good to safely kick off United Way Month through a free virtual celebration! Our president and CEO, Karen Young, will be joined by Dr. Tracey Brower, who will share insights on resilient communities, the surprising science behind happiness, and how we can create a positive future together. If you haven’t registered yet, don’t fret—we will be live-streaming this event on our website, and through LinkedIn!

Bust out your hide-and-seek skills

To help celebrate United Way Month, we have teamed up with PlayCity YYC to host two safe and fun-filled Hide & Seek events. The first event took place this past weekend, but it’s not too late to join in the fun for the weekend of September 18-19 and get reacquainted with our wonderful city. Visit our website for more information and to register.

Learn why doing local good and showing your local love is important to United Way Ambassadors

Our Ambassadors are passionate and influential people committed to strengthening Calgary and area—the place we live, work, and raise our families. Join us for an Instagram Live on Friday, September 17 as United Way Ambassadors Jordan Guildford and Cassandra McAuley chat about their stories and motivation for helping build a resilient and caring community where everyone thrives.

Show your local love by and brightening someone’s day (or your own!) with a plant

Research shows that plants can help improve your life, stimulate your senses, and nurture your mind. With this in mind, we are excited to partner with Plantsie, a local business with the goal of making the world a little brighter through house plants that make you feel better both mentally and physically. Together with Plantsie we have created two United Way plants with personality, affectionately named Lilo, which means “generous one,” and Ellis, which means “kind or benevolent.” Throughout September, Plantsie is donating $10 from the sale of each of these plants to United Way. So do local good and shop today to find the perfect plant for a friend or neighbour, a relative, or for yourself—while showing your local love and giving back to your community.


Make a difference in your community

Celebrate United Way Month by donating today. Each donation helps rebuild our community and create a future where no one is left behind.

Donate now