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:

Welcoming and inclusive gathering places

Engaging residents in the design and activation

Provide access to supports and services

Platforms to spark community economic development

How is the Community Hubs Initiative helping people?

Since the initiative launched in 2017, it has engaged over 120,000 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:

Shouldice Community Mural

For the last few months, residents in the communities of Montgomery, Greenwood Village and Bowness have been coming together to create a mural at the Shouldice Arena of the Shouldice Athletic Park that reflects community and neighbours’ stories. This project has been supported by LINKages, the Montgomery Community Association, Bowness Community Association, The City of Calgary, an artist team (Tiffany Lynn Cuffley, Andrea Kimberley, Allan B. Rosales, and Dean Stanton), and United Way of Calgary and Area through the Community Hubs Initiative.

Shouldice Mural, work in progress.

LINKages brought together youth and seniors to brainstorm and ideate an artistic concept. These connections have been immortalized a the mural that includes two main areas. One is a digital wrap symbolizing a modern touch from youth and the other area is a painted section that symbolizes the beauty and wisdom of seniors. This project could not have been possible without the incredible dedication from the Montgomery Community Association, the experience and community connections of The City of Calgary Community Social Work team and Recreation, support from United Way, and most importantly, residents who have been engaged and volunteered their time, stories and talents, the brilliant team of artists that have brought this mural to life in the midst of a challenging and uncertain time.

Shouldice Mural, work in progress.

Community members were engaged in several ways including social media posts/teasers/contests, virtual storytelling sessions, intergenerational interviewing, a post-card campaign, door knocking, pop-up interviews, as well as community association and local business consultations. Through these efforts, many stories, perspectives, and insights were gathered, which shaped “The Story of My Life” for the mural. This project is entirely resident led, with the mural design reflecting all the stories and artwork of community. Even the colour palette was chosen by youth in the community! Some highlights include a representation of the Bow River running central through the mural, community members interacting, the Medicine Wheel, and historical photographs from the communities, honouring the rich history and strong community spirit in this area.

No one can tell the story of this mural and community better than volunteers themselves:

Shouldice Mural, work in progress.

“I loved meeting the artists, organizers and other volunteers. It was a great experience. The artists gave us lots of encouragement and we had the freedom to choose some of our colours on part of the mural.” – Mural volunteer

“I volunteered as both an interview participant and a mural painter because I really enjoyed the focus on community within the project. I also loved that it incorporated art and allowed me to challenge myself while getting more involved!” – Mural volunteer

“My favourite part of volunteering for this project was helping to paint the finishing touches. I loved seeing how what we had discussed in zoom sessions had translated onto the mural and being able to see the project through from start to finish.” – Mural volunteer

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

  • Indoor playground
  • Basic needs funds
  • Community events

Contact:
Laddie Miller
Hub Site Lead
E: lmiller@mybowness.com
T: 403 288 8300

Nicola Youle
City of Calgary Social Worker
E: nicola.youle@calgary.ca

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:
Natasha Brubaker
Hub Site Lead
E: nbrubaker@thealex.ca
T: 403 863 3953

Tara Selinger
City of Calgary Community Social Worker
E: tara.selinger@calgary.ca
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:
Rumnik Muker
Hub Site Lead
E: rmuker@aspenfamily.org
T: 403 471 1015

Kiima Bailey
City of Calgary Community Social Worker
E: kiima.bailey@calgary.ca
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:
Kelsey Prout
Hub Site Lead
E: kelsey@sunalta.net
T: 403 333 7175

Tamara Baldwin
City of Calgary Community Social Worker
E: tamara.baldwin@calgary.ca
T: 403 852 8703

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
E: jenna.pothier@calgary.ca
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.

Extraordinary thanks to our Legacy Circle member, who have given $1 Million and over to the initiative:

Shell Canada Limited

Special thanks to our Pillars of Philanthropy member, who have given $500,000 to $1 Million to the initiative:

Pembina Pipeline Corporation

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

ENMAX Corporation

Thank you to our Champion’s Circle, who have given $200,000 to $350,000 to the initiative:

Repsol
CIBC

Thank you to our Corporate Partner, who have given $50,000 to $200,000 to the initiative:

BMO Financial Group

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

The Ark Foundation
Jim Dinning & Evelyn Main
Bob Jones & Kristie Smith
Kanovsky Family Foundation
Eric & Christie Le Dain
Barry & Val Munro & Family
Mike & Sue Rose
Donald & Eleanor Seaman
Shaw Family Foundation
Bill & Sharon Siebens

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
  • All Community Hub sites are activated
  • Evaluation framework and marketing and communications plan activated
  • The first Community Hubs annual summit is held, celebrating our journey and achievements at the halfway point
  • Enough for All 2.0 recognizes that Community Hubs play a role in poverty reduction

Community Hubs continued to leverage established relationships with co-located and community partners and increased their connections with local organizations to support Calgarians during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Reports & Publications

*If experiencing issues viewing this report in full screen mode, please click here to view full screen.

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

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

TAKE ACTION

Contact

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

Wendy Mendes
Manager,
Community Hubs Initiative
United Way of Calgary and Area
Email: wendy.mendes@calgaryunitedway.org

Daniela Galindo
Liaison,
Community Hubs Initiative
United Way of Calgary and Area
Email: daniela.galindo@calgaryunitedway.org

Adam SlaterCommunity Hubs