Group photo: ARC’s 2023 United Way Campaign committee join Karen Young, United Way of Calgary and Area President and Chief Executive Officer at ARC’s 2023 Campaign Kick-off.

Since their inception in 1996, ARC Resources Ltd. has been involved with United Way of Calgary and Area – it’s a partnership that continues to grow and gets the whole company involved in their annual campaign and days of caring. This year, in addition to their annual campaign, ARC announced a $1.5 million investment as a founding sponsor of Planet Youth Calgary through United Way.

Seeing the impact of their investment and understanding more about United Way has led many of ARC’s employees to get more involved. We sat down with ARC’s Senior Vice President and Chief Development Officer, Lara Conrad and one of ARC’s United Way campaign committee members, Andrea Watters to learn more about their connections to United Way.

Q: Why have you chosen to get involved with United Way?

LC: When I think about ARC’s purpose of producing energy to create a better world, it can seem a little daunting or overwhelming on an individual level. For me, what United Way delivers is an opportunity to contribute, each in our own way, towards a collective good. I’ve been volunteering with United Way for the past 7 years, and last year had the opportunity to participate as United Way of Calgary and Area Campaign Co-chair. Through these volunteer roles, I’ve seen firsthand the benefits of the collaborative work between United Way’s donors, corporations, and partner agencies, which together, have positively impacted so many Calgarians. United Way’s long-term, strategic approach inspires my confidence that, together, we can make meaningful change in our community.

AW: As a born and raised Calgarian, I have seen many changes in this city, none that became more apparent than the transformation that occurred over COVID. It wasn’t until a conversation I had with a neighbour who worked at the Distress Centre that I fully understood the overwhelming number of calls they received each day from individuals whose livelihood collapsed during the pandemic. My worst day at work paled in comparison and I became painfully aware of my privilege. Isolated at home, I had plenty of time to think about how fortunate I am and how I could make a difference. I knew I wanted to get more involved – and that I wanted others to want to get involved. United Way was the perfect way for me to get educated and engaged in pursuit of helping my community.

United Way of Calgary and Area President and Chief Executive Officer, Karen Young and Lara Conrad, ARC’s Senior Vice President and Chief Development Officer.

United Way of Calgary and Area President and Chief Executive Officer, Karen Young and Lara Conrad, ARC’s Senior Vice President and Chief Development Officer.

Q: What has been the most rewarding part about being involved with United Way and its programs?

LC: Volunteering with United Way has had a profound impact on me. There has been a significant increase in the need for services in Calgary, and with this increase it further emphasizes the need for taking a holistic approach to addressing social issues. Hearing from individuals who have accessed resources through United Way and partner agencies, and being able to attach these stories to the funds raised during ARC’s annual campaign, provides me with a stronger purpose and connection to the team here at ARC and to the Calgary community. Each year during our company campaign, I watch our employees get together to give back in so many unique and creative ways. That’s the power of United Way – it draws on individual strengths, brings people together and offers many different avenues to make a meaningful contribution.

AW: Watching our campaign come together and experiencing the energy as it develops is a highlight for me. It’s a platform for a group of like-minded individuals to come together around a common objective and make a significant difference. The cumulative effects of all the small actions; volunteering, education, donations, etc., is astounding to watch. It’s so easy to be apathetic – United Way is a way to shake you out of that apathy and re-engage yourself on the complex social issues in our communities. It seems like such a small thing but done right with an ethical foundation, it can have transformational change in elevating, educating and building lasting relationships.

Andrea Watters, Senior Advisor, Market Development and ARC United Way Campaign committee member.

Andrea Watters, Senior Advisor, Market Development and ARC United Way Campaign committee member.

Q: Why is ARC’s support of Planet Youth important to you?

LC: Planet Youth is about getting to the source of the issues facing our youth and setting them up for long-term success. We know that many of the issues youth face are interconnected and that it will take a collaborative and holistic approach to address them in an effective manner. By utilizing this innovative and proven approach, you can see the tremendous commitment United Way is making to improving the lives of our future generations and it makes me proud that we’re providing our support to make this a reality.

AW: Growing up, I was fortunate to have strong role models who instilled in me the belief that my dreams were attainable if I was willing to work for them. This idealized belief seemed realistic to me because I was provided with every opportunity and the necessary financial resources to help me succeed. Through the work my mom did with troubled youth, I witnessed firsthand the developmental struggles, social issues and family dysfunctions that surrounded her patients’ lives, which were amplified without a strong foundation and community of support. ARC’s involvement with Planet Youth is important to me because of its a ground-up model focused on prevention.