Community Partner Challenges
We asked our organizations in the Calgary community to engage our students in finding solutions to challenges they are currently facing. This page outlines the challenges our students will be helping address in our Global Community Challenge YYC.
Click the button below to learn more about our challenge.
Alberta Tomorrow Foundation
Our Mission: To deliver a platform that empowers youth to design and sustain a future for our shared ecosystem.
Our Vision: An informed society actively fostering sustainable futures.
Our first challenge is: how do we track program impact. As our program is online and educational in nature, it is difficult to track the impact our program has other than looking at number of users, number of website visits, etc. Often education does not result in immediate change in behaviours, but the impact of the program could be realized years later in the form of career choices, consumer choices, or impacts on parents or families. For example, we teach about the effects of climate change but we can't actually track GHG emissions from individual participants.
Our second challenge is how do we expand our program, throughout Canada and internationally, with limited resources and Covid restrictions to travel. We would like to become more self sustainable, rather than depending on year to year grants, perhaps moving towards a social enterprise model. This requires initial funding and relationships with organizations across Canada and the world to agree to pay for the program and/or site licenses.
Mission: Alinea is an international development consultancy providing technical and management expertise that helps people improve their lives. Our mission is to deliver lasting change through partnership, participatory methodologies, localization and results-based project design, with a commitment to inclusive governance, gender equality and environmental sustainability.
Vision: Sustainable economic, social and environmental development around the world.
Our challenge is fostering leadership in governance projects internationally. For the Global Community Challenge YYC, we want to address this challenge as it relates to our project 'Support for Ukraine’s Reforms for Governance' (SURGe). Alinea improves the quality of life of Ukraine’s citizens, particularly women and girls, through inclusive, citizen-centred and gender responsive public sector reforms. This project builds on Alinea’s Expert Deployment for Governance and Economic Growth project and works with the Government of Ukraine to deploy Canadian and local experts to support reform efforts in priority areas.
Some questions informing this challenge include: How can Alinea improve its leadership competency model to support managers in achieving project goals? What is the approach that the SURGe project uses to foster visionary leadership? How effectively does it do this with its project management team and with its stakeholders in the Ukrainian government? How can Alinea corporately refine and apply its corporate management and leadership competencies to strengthen impact, nurture champions and ensure post-project sustainability? Is there a way to consider the Sustainable Development Goals in the development of these leadership competencies?
Alliance Française of Calgary
Our mission: The Alliance Française of Calgary engages Calgarians in the enjoyment of high quality French classes, and in the discovery of francophone cultural experiences, accessible to all. Our Vision The Alliance Française of Calgary is recognized as Calgary’s preferred French language and cultural hub where all can access exceptional language instruction and participate in vibrant francophone activities that enrich our community and local landscape.
The Alliance Française of Calgary is a non-profit organization in Calgary which is recognized for the excellence of its French classes! The organization is also a cultural center with weekly free activities for anyone to practice French and a center for official certifications of French (TEF / DELF). We are also a French library with more than 8,000 resources that can be used by our members.
Challenge: Unfortunately, we have some difficulty getting our library identified as a place with many French resources for the community. Only 335 people used our library in the year 2020 (1/3 of them being our students) and it seems to us that we are not able to reach out to potential users.
Association for German Education in Calgary
AGEC aims to bring the German Culture and Language to all interested parties creating a vibrant community. Our Vision - A thriving German culture in Calgary. Our Mission - Promote, support, and celebrate German culture and language through community engagement.
We have been bringing events and movies, as well as other supports to the community for over 10 years. The events have been mainly aimed at those under 10, with movies for kids, families and those in the sandwich generation and older demographics. What we would like to set as the challenge, as it is this for our group, is to develop marketing strategies and approaches to better engage youth, university students and early career adults.
What are potential areas of interest which can be explored in either live event formats or movies, book readings etc.? What is the best methodology to use in formating the approach? What are potential interest categories for launching this new area?
With the current casino situation and continued rumored changes to the distribution of casino funds in the air, the raising of funds from another source is of great interest to our group as well. We do - in times when we have been allowed to meet - hold book sales which also include the sale of refreshments, that have brought in funds. As well, the movies which we've shown have had a refreshment stand and donation box. However, the sum total of this venture doesn't cover the movie license in most cases, and with the Library reconsidering its community partnering, there may be some increased expense from this avenue as well. In the recent past, the membership cost was eliminated, as this seemed to pose a hurdle for the involvement of quite a few families and individuals.
How to approach the fundraising without reinstituting a membership fee. It's got to be something that would help cover the costs of the events without making the events prohibitive to attend.
Calgary Climate Hub
Vision: Calgary is a leader on climate action.
Mission: We educate and empower Calgarians to become active climate citizens. We are part of the Climate Reality Project Canada's national network of climate hubs.
CRP was started by Al Gore to get citizens engaged in climate action. We have three main activities: 1. We host Community Climate Conversations in neighbourhoods throughout the city to get people talking about climate. Follow up conversations result in small groups taking on local climate-related projects. 2. We host monthly webinars called "A Climate of Change" to examine the impacts of the pandemic on climate action, and 3. We run campaigns to influence climate action at the municipal level, including advocating for transit, limiting sprawl, and funding climate policy. Municipalities hold the keys to taking action because municipal governments make decisions about land use, transportation and waste.
Our city will be having a municipal election in October. As a non-partisan organization, we cannot support specific candidates, but we want to make sure that candidates who do get elected will make climate change a top priority. Our challenge is to develop a non-partisan campaign strategy for making climate change a top election issue.
Calgary German Language School Society
We want to continue bringing education, second language learning and being an active contributor to the diverse community of Calgary, Alberta and Canada. This happens with a dedicated teaching staff and administrative team, volunteer parent board and a Calgary community that walks with us every step of the way. Being part of a diverse group of learners of all ages, utilizing rental space in communities, and commitments from our stake holders has impacted learners and families for over 65 years. We provide outstanding German language education to students of all ages and ability levels in Calgary, Alberta. Founded in 1956, the school was once known as the Language School of the German Canadian Club of Calgary. Thousands of students have gone through the program, receiving credits in Alberta high school credit German courses (German 10, 20, and 30), achieving official recognition of German language proficiency with the Common European Framework of References for Languages, and going on to be certified with the German Sprachdiplom I and II. The school offers programming from pre-school to Grade 12, along with adult courses from beginner to advanced levels. The school is registered with SAHLA and Alberta Education as a private Heritage Language School. It is also registered in Alberta as a not-for-profit Society that is managed by a volunteer Board of Directors. Parent involvement and support is vital to the school’s direction and success, as it is parents who fill most of the positions on our Board. The Calgary German Language School Society offers the only German program, in Southern Alberta, to provide CEFRL and Sprachdiplom certifications, in addition to high school credit courses in German 10, 20, and 30. In addition to being taught the German language, students also learn about Germanic culture. It is because of the value that our community has placed on education, culture and heritage that CGLSS continues to be a dynamic contributor to the lives of our learners and partners.
Increasing enrolment for a private language school. How does a private language school effectively and efficiently reach out to a diverse community in the best way? Are there more effective tools besides a website? For example, where do high school students search for information if they want language credits, versus a parent looking for a language program for their child? How does a not for profit use limited financial resources in the most budget-friendly and effective way when trying to raise the profile of the program?
Keeping staff and students engaged when moving classes from in-person learning to online learning. How many online resources become too many? During the COVID 19 pandemic how is a small private language school not only engage staff and students in an online virtual environment, but increase enrollment, maintain retention, and ensure student learning? At what point is online learning too much and how do you ensure ongoing engagement for each successive class?
Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan
Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan (CW4WAfghan) is a federally registered non-profit organization that has been committed to the education of girls and women in Afghanistan since 1998. We believe that the best prospect for building sustainable peace and human development is through quality, gender equitable education that will empower women and girls as change makers. In Afghanistan we educate, engage and work in solidarity with people of both genders to overcome barriers to girls’ education and to ending the oppression of women. We work in three program areas in Afghanistan 1) investing in basic education; 2) community literacy; technology for education. CW4WAfghan engages Canadians as global citizens to raise awareness and, in partnership with Afghan women, work towards improving conditions of human rights, ending women’s oppression, and providing opportunities for Afghan women to live their lives with dignity, certainty and purpose.
CW4WAfghan engages in a program of advocacy efforts, mobilizing Canadians to promote the calls of the Afghan people for a ceasefire and the protection of women's rights in their current peace process. While the global pandemic has created challenges in terms of how we carry out our engagement work, we also see the shift to greater online engagement as an opportunity to reach new groups of potential supporters. We're looking for a team of students who can research and develop a social media strategy that will help us reach Canadian youth under 30, who are passionate about human rights and gender equality, and convert them into active supporters of our advocacy work towards gender inclusive peacebuilding.
CW4WAfghan works with local craftswomen in Afghanistan who supply us with fairly traded items including jewelry and pashmina scarves, which we sell to supporters in Canada as a form of social enterprise that funds artisans and our own programs. We are looking to make these artisan crafts available online and would benefit from support in the development of an online platform to showcase and sell these items and a marketing strategy that will ensure this venture succeeds.
Carbon Upcycling Technologies
Carbon Upcycling Technologies was founded to find ways to use the waste of today to build a better tomorrow. Over the last 6 years, we have developed a carbon utilization technology that creates versatile, high-performing, nanoparticle solutions using CO2 (carbon dioxide) and readily-available power feedstocks.
The United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals are pushing us every day to focus on making the earth a better and safer place for all. As a company, we tackle challenges like climate change, sustainable building and responsible consumption and production head-on. We are currently looking for a strategic way to engage with consumer-facing brands to incorporate carbon-derived materials into their products. There are some companies that lead climate action in material choice, having products that are low-carbon or carbon-neutral, while others fall behind. It is understood that making adjustments to raw materials in a supply/production chain is a large decision that is tied to financial, logistic, and marketing aspects of a company. So, how can we best engage with these companies to bridge this gap?
End of the Rainbow Foundation
Our mission is to improve socio-economic conditions for people of diverse sexual orientations and gender identities or expressions (SOGIE) by providing innovative education, support programs, and research. Our vision is to fully welcome and nurture SOGIE people into Canadian life so that they become contributing members of our society. We provide both one-on-one as well as group peer support to a diverse range of SOGIE individuals, helping to build community as well as connecting people to the services that will help them build safer and more secure lives here in Calgary.
Over the past year, we have had to transition most of our services into an online model. While this has allowed us to reach some people we may not have, it has also presented us with a number of challenges. Some of the barriers have included safe access to technology, economic barriers, physical barriers and mental health barriers. As a result we have seen our attendance drop in half, with the impact largely seen on community building and the relationships that would form during conversations after the structured portions of our peer programs.
Challenge #1 is to Create a programming strategy for virtual community engagement and relationship building with existing and new clients.
We are hoping to build tools that help foster community in a virtual environment, that are mindful of the challenges our clients' experience. As restrictions lift, it is our hope that some of these tools could also be adapted into a hybrid model encompassing both virtual and in-person components.
Challenge 2 is to develop a hybrid model for virtual and in-person programming in line with ongoing COVID-19 restrictions
European Cultural Society of Calgary
The European Cultural Society of Calgary (ECSC) presents contemporary European culture to Calgary, recognizing a changed and united Europe, especially since the formation of the European Union in 1993. Established in 2012, the ECSC first carried out its mandate by organizing Calgary’s first and only European Film Festival with contemporary film screenings from five European nations. Over the last nine years, ECSC has grown steadily year after year until so that its eighth edition in 2019 found it expanded from a duration of a single weekend to nine days and from an attendance of 500 to 2,500 movie lovers. The ninth edition took place from November 7 to 15, 2020 with twenty Organizations representing twenty European Communities as participants. Most recently in early 2019, the ECSC solidified a partnership with European Union Film Festival Delegation in Toronto, Vancouver, and Ottawa to host an EU Film Series with free monthly contemporary European film screenings at the new Central Library beginning on July 16, 2019. Also in 2019, the ECSC has join forces with their CEFF partner since 2105, the Cultural Department at the Embassy of Spain in Ottawa - Spain Arts & Cultures - to establish the first edition of the Calgary Spanish Film Festival. Finally, the ECSC was well on its way to set up a European Folk Dance Festival for September 2020, though this event had to be postponed due to the restrictions on such activities during the COVID19 pandemic. Combined, these activities demonstrate ECSC’s values of contemporary European multiculturalism, unique expression and contribution by all, and strong community both across the Atlantic and in its microcosmic form in Calgary. Inclusive and collaborative, the ECSC fosters strong community partnerships with local and national organizations through its unique approach to programming by which the European community in Calgary is an active participant in the final selection of artistic and cultural exhibitions hosted by the ECSC. Local European organizations make film selections, propose related activities, and provide cultural content and materials. Reversing the practice and process of a closed programming team, the ECSC unites and builds relationships among European communities by strengthening the development and leadership capacity of local community organizations and by providing a large cultural platform for their European country of origin, allowing them to showcase their culture to each other and to the Calgarian public at large.
The other criteria ECSC is very carefully looking at year over year is the average attendance per movie, which denotes the width of the outreach ECSC manages, within Calgarians with European heritage and the general movie lover public. From an average of 70 people per movie in the first edition, CEFF has grown slowly but steadily at one of 107 as of 2019. (With the 2020 edition being an online-only event, the numbers of viewers will not be added to the general stats) The ECSC has learned to expects a goal from a 10% increase year over year, showing a growing interest in the Festival from the Calgary arts and culture scene. The attendance numbers are a direct reflection of CEFF’s outreach to Calgarians. This is composed on the one side of promotion within each European Community which is done by the cultural Association representing it, and on the other by the paid advertisement at the city level done by ECSC through social media campaigns, radio ads, online and printed channels publicity, bridge banners, etc.; the latter being targeted at the general movie-loving Calgarians, disregarding their heritage.
Challenge: CEFF is unique in that the festival is community-based and films are selected by each participating European community in Calgary. This is one of the Festival's strengths. But at the same time, it is also a challenge as these communities are where most of the audience is coming from. Over the years we have been able to expand our audience reach but there is ample room for improvement. We would like to hear other ideas about how we could expand our audience beyond the European heritage communities in Calgary.
Immigrant Services Calgary
Since 1977, Immigrant Services Calgary has been providing a wide range of settlement services to immigrants and refugees looking to begin a new chapter of their lives in Canada. We employ a client-focused, integrated approach when working with individuals and their families to help them settle in Calgary. Our aim is to reach newcomers in a timely and responsive manner to facilitate a smooth transition, proper settlement and successful integration into the Calgary community. We work collaboratively to ensure our clients have access to programs and services that can help them overcome the challenges that come with immigrating to a new country, thus setting them up to succeed in their new life in Canada. Our Vision: Unleashing the economic, social & civic potential of clients. Our Mission: Connecting newcomers to the right service at the right agency every time. Our Values: We are forward thinking, adaptable & optimistic. We value accountability, collaboration & impactfulness. We act with integrity and treat people with respect.
Immigrants arriving in Calgary face several barriers to integration. Many struggle in silence, unaware that resources exist to assist them with financial constraints or the rebuilding of employment connections. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) announced the Government of Canada’s Immigration Levels Plan for 2021-2023. Canada aims to welcome 401,000 new permanent residents in 2021, 411,000 in 2022, and 421,000 in 2023. This challenge is made more complicated due to a lack of coordination between agencies during client intake, assessments, and referrals. Challenge: How are we going to unleash the economic, social, and civic potential of the record newcomers that will be arriving to Canada in the next 3 years (60% of them economic)?
Kleos Microfinance Group Ltd.
Sustainable Development through Empowerment and Access Kleos works to support women in developing countries escape the cycle of poverty by promoting entrepreneurial activities through micro-lending, training, savings and scholarship programming. Kleos' satellite office in Gulu, Uganda has been operating for seven years and has supported more than 1500 individuals start and grow their micro-enterprises to better support themselves, their families and their communities.
Kleos is structured for local support of projects in developing countries, which allows individual projects to reach sustainability and self-sufficiency. Kleos is currently challenged with growing its support base here in Canada. An effective support base in Canada provides multiple benefits for Kleos including; the sharing of the impact of Kleos' work, increased publicity of Kleos activities, an increased donor pool, and new partnership opportunities. As a small, volunteer run organization, Kleos is limited in its reach, which limits both the impact and the sustainability of the organization.
Light Up The World
Light Up The World (LUTW) is a Canadian registered charity dedicated to the idea that access to energy changes lives. 789M people still live without access to Electricity We work in remote off-grid communities that lack the basic technologies that many of us take for granted. By providing these communities with solar photovoltaic systems, we help them transition away from using polluting fuel-based lighting and costly single-use batteries. The result is transformational. With a focus on training local technicians and developing the capacity of local service providers, LUTW fosters long-term partnerships so that communities are empowered to move towards a more sustainable future.
The global pandemic has caused LUTW to suspend all projects that were scheduled to be completed to electrify schools, health clinics and public buildings in the developing countries that we support. These projects were completed with the help of our corporate partners and represented a big part of the organization's revenue to maintain all areas of organizations, some of which remain operating and impacting the lives of our beneficiaries. We have moved quickly in finding ways to complement our development of funds to keep our local staff to continue their meaningful work. We have been able to keep operating thanks to the overwhelming kind support of our fan base and alumni, but unfortunately, we are not projecting this to be enough to stay afloat in the case our projects cannot be resumed. What we would like to do is to communicate our work and expand our network of supporters.
Develop a digital gift to thank our current loyal fan base and to capture more people that could be inspired by our work and values. Ideas for this could be like a short e-course such as digitizing our solar energy 101 course, and we are open to your ideas.
One part of our work is offering microfinance so families can acquire solar systems and transition from single-use batteries and candles. Because of the economic impact of Covid-19, some families are unable to complete their payments. This makes us unable to acquire more systems to serve other families. For the second challenge, we would like to launch a fundraising campaign, to help the families that cannot complete their payments to continue completing their payments.
Loft 112 is a creative hive where ideas are given space to develop, a place where established and emerging writers, readers, artists, and poets are supported, a place where unheard voices are given a platform and a place of collaboration.
Our small space is warm, welcoming, and highly collaborative and it is diverse. Our mandate has guided us to be open to all and to make all feel valued and welcome. But is it enough? We know we need to continually evolve and do better. Our efforts of late to reach more communities through the cold call email, the researched hashtag, the direct conversation with those we know have been unsuccessful and felt stilted.
What feels right is creating a collaborative/call & response writing/art project that travels from Loft 112 and goes 'into' communities and invites and celebrates those communities we want to know better through their stories. What could this look like? What could the campaign look like? Where would this project lead to in the end? This could be a city project or a global project.
Pakistan Canada Association
Pakistan Canada Association (PCA) Calgary, formed in 1967 and officially registered in 1975, is a non-profit organization representing Canadians of Pakistani origin residing in Calgary and its surrounding areas. The main objectives of PCA are: Promote understanding, harmony, tolerance, and good relations between Canadians of Pakistani heritage and the community at large. Encourage participation in social, cultural, and educational functions/programs not only within the Pakistani community but Canadian society as a whole.
Background: In Calgary, during the Covid pandemic era we, as a community organization, have noticed an alarming trend in youth behavior such as a sudden rise in speeding incidents resulting in many deaths, their involvement in drugs, gang-related activities, addiction, etc.
It is critical that we, as a community, develop concrete and positive steps for such awareness to prevent further life-threatening incidents in youth. The first team is requested to take upon this challenge and develop a guideline on how to effectively bring this awareness amongst the youth.
We feel that there is a disconnect between the social realities of youth and their parents. Children have a different outlook and most of us are not able to adequately connect to them, and/or listen to their issues, and co-construct solutions. So, we would like one of the teams to suggest and recommend a suitable channel of communication to effectively interact with our youth (e.g., through religious and community leaders and/or through their educational institutions or through any other means).
People for Progress
Our Mission: Our mission is to empower individuals and communities in need to achieve sustainability through education, leadership and partnership.
One of the most important challenges AQQA that we face at People for Progress Foundation (PFPF) is the connection between the why - this means whether it's in Kenya, Tanzania, or Canada (Calgary) is how to keep volunteers not only interested in the vision of the organization but include the greater purpose, of empowerment of what we do through our organization. We are looking for the WHY and connecting with others to continue to build relationships, network, support and empower those we work with and serve. We feel this is a great opportunity to have another perspective and brainstorming on how, when, where to expand and continue our success in empowerment through education and sustainability.
City of Calgary
Calgary is one of the most liveable cities on the planet. We're the third largest municipality in Canada, serving 1.2 million people. Calgarians are, on average: young (average age of 36), diverse (28% visible minorities), and growing — we have thousands of new people arriving annually from across Canada and the world.
We're building Calgary's future by making smart changes today.
The Green Line LRT is the largest infrastructure project in Calgary's history. With $4.9 billion in unprecedented investments from the Government of Canada, Government of Alberta and City of Calgary, the Green Line Light Rail Transit will play a key role in shaping our city's future. This critical piece of our transit network will connect more communities to downtown, other LRT lines and our expansive bus rapid transit network, with ridership projected at 60,000 trips per day.
In this very challenging economic environment and with a concerted focus on economic diversification in Calgary and across Alberta, there is a need to make balanced investment choices. How can the City of Calgary best strategically position the proposed Green Line as an essential economic driver for Calgary’s future? Looking at transit systems around the world, how does their impact compare to the current and proposed Calgary Transit system? What is the importance of public transit in building a world class city?
We are seeking your assistance in providing a stakeholder outreach plan that will identify new opportunities to connect Green Line with Calgary’s economic future.
To learn more about the City of Calgary visit their website.
For more information on the Green Line: https://www.calgary.ca/transportation/green-line.html