The community we live in impacts the kind of opportunities we have in life. Living in neighbourhoods with high levels of poverty can negatively impact life expectancy, physical and mental health, early childhood development, and overall quality of life.

In Calgary, poverty is clustered in certain neighbourhoods of our city where up to 1 in 3 residents are struggling with low-income. This is significantly higher than the citywide average of 1 in 10. And that’s not all—40% of lower income Calgarians report being lonely, more than double the percentage of higher income Calgarians. Many of these people simply do not know what supports and services are available, or how to access them. In fact, only 60 per cent of Calgarians feel they know their neighbours well enough to seek help.

This is why United Way partnered with The City of Calgary and Rotary Clubs of Calgary to develop Community Hubs in five Calgary neighbourhoods, and works with numerous organizations and programs to ensure all the supports and services needed are provided. For example, the Community Mobile Market, a partnership between The City of Calgary and Leftovers Foundation, sells fruits, vegetables and other grocery items below market price, in support of Village Square’s food scarcity program.

Community Hubs works with community to build community. Because one individual, organization, or program cannot solve this complex issue alone.

All Hubs have four key features:

  1. Welcoming and inclusive gathering places
  2. Engaging residents in the design and activation
  3. Provide access to supports and services
  4. Platforms to spark community economic development

How is the Community Hubs Initiative helping people?

Since the initiative launched in 2017, it has engaged more than 53,000 individuals. The Hubs exist in five neighbourhoods across Calgary, each tailored to meet unique community needs. Below is a snapshot of the variety of programs, activities, and services residents can access through their local Hubs:

Hub site: Bowness Community Association
Neighbourhoods served: Bowness, Greenwood Village, and Montgomery

  • Indoor playground
  • Basic needs funds
  • Community events

Contact:
Tamara Baldwin,
City of Calgary Community Social Worker
T: 403-476-7232

Hub site: Bob Bahan Aquatic and Fitness Centre and The Alex Community Food Centre
Neighbourhoods served: Albert Park, Dover, Radisson Heights, Southview, Forest Lawn, Erin Woods, Forest Heights, and Penbrooke

  • Food and well-being programs
  • Recreation
  • Accessible space for community groups
  • Skill building and credentialing

Contact:
Tara Selinger
City of Calgary Community Social Worker
T: 403-660-1778

Hub site: 1000 Voices at the Genesis Center
Neighbourhoods served: Taradale, Saddleridge, Martindale, Castleridge, Falconridge, Coral Springs, Savannah, Cityscape, Skyview Ranch, Redstone, and Cornerstone

  • Newcomer programs
  • Language programs
  • Computer literacy programs
  • Free tax clinics
  • Free and accessible space for community groups
  • Library access
  • Recreation and sports programs

Contact:
Kiima Bailey,
City of Calgary Community Social Worker
T: 403-476-7152

Hub site: Sunalta Community Association
Neighbourhoods served: Sunalta

  • Toy lending library
  • Community activities and programs
  • Community gardens
  • Food security initiatives and opportunities

Contact:
Silvia Ross,
City of Calgary Community Social Worker
T: 403-221-3831

Hub site: Village Square Leisure Centre
Neighbourhoods served: Whitehorn, Temple, Rundle, and Pineridge

  • Food security initiatives and opportunities
  • Free tax clinics and matched savings programs
  • Access to low income transit passes
  • Library access
  • Recreation programs

Contact:
Jenna Pothier,
City of Calgary Community Social Worker
T: 403-826-2380

Community Hubs Supporters

We would like to thank all of the generous individuals who have supported the Community Hubs initiative. Special thanks to philanthropists Mike and Sue Rose for their early investment in the project.

The following individual donors have given $100,000 or more to the initiative:

Jim Dinning & Evelyn Main
Kanovsky Family Foundation
Barry & Val Munro & Family
Mike and Sue Rose
Bill and Sharon Siebens

Special thanks to our Innovator’s Circle members, who have given $350,000–$500,000 to the initiative:

ENMAX Corporation
Pembina Pipeline Corporation
Shell Canada Limited

Thank you to our corporate partners, who have given $50,000 or more:

Repsol

See how Community Hubs change lives

The North of McKnight Domestic Violence Prevention Collaborative has come together to understand the issue and create solutions and provide support for those escaping violence.

Read their story

Timeline of the Community Hubs Initiative

  • United Way and The City of Calgary (The City) begin working together on a joint neighbourhood building strategy
  • Genesis Centre opens in Calgary’s North of McKnight communities
  • United Way invests in 1000 Voices, a Community Hub within the Centre; this investment serves as a prototype for the Community Hubs Initiative
  • Enough for All—Calgary’s community-driven poverty reduction strategy—is released, which recommends Community Hubs as a key approach
  • Philanthropists Mike and Sue Rose provide an initial investment to seed the Community Hubs Initiative through a five-year commitment
  • Project Manager hired
  • Project design, site selection, and community engagement begins
  • Initial investment into Village Square Hub site
  • The Rotary Club of Calgary’s general membership voted overwhelmingly to join the initiative through a multi-year commitment of $2 million
  • Memorandum of understanding signed between founding partners: The City, Rotary Clubs of Calgary, and United Way, to prototype and activate Community Hubs across priority locations in Calgary between 2017–2022
  • Public launch of the Community Hubs Initiative
  • Innovators Circle members ENMAX Corporation, Pembina Pipeline Corporation and Shell Canada Limited join Community Hubs for three-year terms
  • Project implementation underway
  • Evaluation framework and marketing and communications plan activated
  • Community Hubs sites in Greater Forest Lawn selected

Reports & Publications

Guest blog on Local Laundry: “What matters is that you belong—we all do.”

Learn more about the issues Community Hubs address

Social Isolation

Domestic Violence

Basic Needs

Financial Stability

Take action

Do you want to start a Community Hub? See Vibrant Communities Calgary’s Community Hubs by Design Toolkit

Contact

For more information on the Community Hubs Initiative or to explore partnership opportunities, please contact:

Heather Innes
Project Manager,
Community Hubs Initiative,
United Way of Calgary and Area
Email: heather.innes@calgaryunitedway.org

Jesse VickeryCommunity Hubs