It is a tremendous privilege and pleasure to celebrate and recognize the organizations and individuals who went above and beyond to support our community and partner agencies during one of the most challenging years in recent memory.
Last year, more than 14,500 volunteers stood up to help Calgary and the surrounding area, giving over 694,000 hours to create more resilient communities. That’s nearly 80 years of time given to helping others! In any year, that would be a remarkable achievement, but considering so many of us were working from home, juggling an ever-changing routine and lifestyle, the efforts of United Way volunteers are nothing but extraordinary.
We’re celebrating the people and organizations who are standing with us and making a difference through their generosity and passion for our community.
Our annual Community Impact Awards recognize those who made significant contributions to creating an equitable, diverse and inclusive Calgary in 2021.
The event was filled with hope and laughter (and fire!), creating the perfect backdrop for engaging with like-minded people who are passionate about social change. It served as a refreshing reminder that when you stand with United Way, you are in good company.
2021 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 were awarded $2000 to invest in furthering their education and philanthropic endeavours.
Recipients: Alice Lam and Jordan Guildford
Jordan Guilford is the founder and CEO of Gems for Gems, which serves domestic abuse survivors and aims to end the cycle of abuse for women and their children. Jordan has recently started an initiative called Hope’s Cradle, which provides a safe surrender location for infants, ensuring their survival. The first cradle has been installed at a Strathmore fire station. We’re also proud to call Jordan a United Way ambassador – in fact, she is the chair of our ambassador program.
In March 2020, Alice Lam started an initiative to sew 1,500 facemasks for non-profit employees and clients when non-profits had difficulty locating personal protective equipment. She engaged more than 100 volunteers to sew and donate fabric and distributed the face masks to more than 65 agencies in Calgary. Alice also started the Calgary Community Fridge, raising over $50,000 to help provide food directly to individuals over the last couple of years. These are just two of the remarkable community initiatives started by Alice in the last couple of years.
Honouring an organization for their exceptional contribution to United Way and our community, the President’s award recipient is recognized for their inspiring efforts in supporting our city.
Recipient: Shell Canada Limited
Shell Canada ran an exceptional workplace campaign, where both employees and retirees raised an outstanding $4.43M for communities across Calgary. In 2021, they engaged over 550 donors and more than 1,300 workers in various engagement events. Shell teamed with LNG Canada to organize a holiday-themed toy collection drive supporting the Women’s Centre Calgary. Employees came together and donated several large boxes of new toys for families that needed them most. Through their outstanding campaign achievement, Shell employees helped support over 2,000 people with financial stability and employment training and over 1,800 individuals to access basic needs support, including food and shelter.
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 over 250 employees and candidates under 250 employees.
Recipient (Over 250): Nutrien Ltd.
Nutrien Ltd. ran an innovative employee giving campaign, where they engaged around 200 employees and raised over $386,000. In 2021, Nutrien employees volunteered their time with the Social Impact Lab’s 2021 Disrupt-ATHON. The initiative encouraged collaboration among non-profits and businesses to help deliver new ideas that address opportunities for children growing up in poverty to develop critical life skills.
Recipient (Under 250): Surge Energy Inc.
For the 11th year running, Surge Energy Inc. employees held a one-day campaign called the “Turkey Bowl” in support of United Way. This year, they started with a kickoff in the morning and filled the day with a silent auction, a 50/50 raffle and donation prize draws. They raised over $21,300 for the community, equal to providing 600 hours of safety planning for children who have witnessed or experienced domestic violence.
Power of One:
Power of One recognizes a United Way volunteer who has exceeded expectations in creating greater awareness of United Way through their involvement and initiative in their workplace campaign.
Recipient: Anna Clarkson of Scotiabank
Anna has been a passionate supporter of United Way for over 20 years. During this time, Anna has chaired Scotiabank’s workplace campaign committee. Each year, she recruits Ambassadors from each branch to encourage participation from their respective teams. Anna coordinates a detailed campaign presentation and Q&A session so that Ambassadors feel confident in speaking about United Way to their colleagues. We are excited to recognize Anna’s commitment and leadership in Scotiabank’s workplace campaign and her long-time support for our mission.
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 the number of donors. Candidates also demonstrated outstanding management support. We have selected two outstanding 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
Canadian Natural engaged 490 donors through their 2021 workplace campaign, with additional staff involved through special events and various engagement activities. As a result, Canadian Natural raised over $1.58M, representing a $10,000 increase in employee donations and a $30,000 increase in special event dollars over their 2020 campaign achievement. Canadian Natural also organized a successful school supplies drive supporting All In For Youth schools and youth-serving programs such as the Diamond Willow Youth Lodge. Their commitment has the power to support over 680 individuals in accessing basic needs support, including food and shelter, and over 740 youth in successfully transitioning to adulthood.
Recipient (Under 250): Ridgeback Resources Inc.
Ridgeback Resources Inc. runs a fun and engaging workplace campaign with strong employee engagement and executive support. In 2021, Ridgeback increased employee donations by over 50% and their corporate gift by over 62%. They also raised over $158,000 during their 2021 campaign, which will help 300 individuals connect and build strong communities and support 75 youth to transition to adulthood successfully.
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. Recipients have transitioned to offering meaningful opportunities to staff virtually and in person.
Keyera engaged 169 donors during their workplace campaign and contributed 30 volunteer hours supporting United Way’s funded agencies. Keyera staff created “cheer mail” care packages for socially isolated seniors and a collection drive for personal hygiene items. They raised $578,000 during their 2021 campaign, which can help empower 154 children and youth to hit developmental milestones and succeed and ensure 450 individuals connect to necessary supports.
We sincerely thank the thousands of people and the nearly 700 workplaces that hosted a campaign to support the work United Way is doing in our community. As we slowly emerge from the pandemic, mental health and basic needs support are critical for so many. If you or your organization have a desire to help build a better tomorrow, we want to hear from you. Because when we are United, we make the biggest difference.