Meet Marlie and Steve Burtt. Marlie and Steve met in Calgary and have both worked in the oil and gas industry for 35 years. They have fond memories of raising their two daughters in our city and volunteering has been a significant part of their work and personal lives. Fundraising events and opportunities to volunteer with local organizations kickstarted Marlie and Steve’s philanthropy. Their involvement with United Way has extended throughout their careers; Marlie was a United Way of Calgary and Area Board member for six years. She also spent another three years on United Way Canada’s Board of Directors as it went through some major transformational and digital changes.
When we asked what has inspired their involvement with United Way, Marlie and Steve both agreed: “The organization provides the best resources and on-the-ground research to create meaningful and measurable solutions to our local issues. It takes an everyday effort to improve the lives of people in Calgary and wider, but it is rewarding both for those who are helping and those receiving the support.”
Marlie remembers the initial pilot project for All In for Youth. One of the tested approaches to encouraging people to return to high school was a call program run by volunteers. As Marlie recalls: “It was pretty emotional. Many of the former students did not realize they could go back, or that anyone would care to support them to do so. In talking to them about what it would take to go back, we learned that for many it was as simple as helping them access a bus pass. We worked with The City of Calgary to advocate and amend the age limits for affordable transit passes for youth as well as those beyond 18 choosing to go back to school. There were so many successful elements of that program that are now being rolled out in schools across the province and Canada. Learning from that program has led to continuing opportunities in our social innovation work.”
Steve was involved in annual corporate United Way campaigns and found they helped employees feel like part of the community by giving back, organizing fun events, and volunteering. As Steve explains, “These campaigns were instrumental in sharing the importance of corporate social responsibility, even in the early years before this was a shareholder and Board-mandated approach to supporting the community. United Way of Calgary and Area continues to be on the leading edge of effective social change.”
The Burtts agree that their decision to establish their Family Fund was inspired by their love for Calgary and the people here: “We believe in this city’s big heart, resilience when times are tough, and the can-do attitude of the people.”
Their choice to work with United Way to achieve their local legacy was a decision made with both their heads and their hearts. Marlie shared, “We believe United Way, with its leading-edge research, collaboration with government, institutions, agencies, and other foundations, is best suited to meet our goals of making an impact to help Calgarians thrive and create lasting change that benefits the community.”
While Steve and Marlie will be spending much of their retirement in the Algarve in Portugal, the Burtt Family Fund will keep them tied to their Calgary roots as they work with their two adult daughters, who will help make decisions on their annual investments. This process will reflect the family’s values, interests, and vision for the future by helping Calgarians who are struggling, because just like you, the Burtt’s are passionate about building community and helping others.
Creating a family fund can be a catalyst for strengthening family bonds and cultivating a deeper sense of connection to your community, all while maximizing your impact and achieving your vision for a stronger Calgary. The opportunity to consolidate your giving and create a fund that suits your individual needs while remaining flexible is a great way to make a lasting difference.
Please contact our strategic giving lead, Hannah Asuchak, for more information.